If you’re like me, we tend to get distracted from what’s actually happening in the here and now. We tend to become absorbed in a past we cannot change, or project ourselves into a future that may never happen. That’s just our EGO trying to take over and keep us living a subconscious life. However, when we choose to live consciously, we realize the gift of living in the present.
Our brain has an over developed thinking process, which is completely an amazing quality to have. But it can also be a distraction. Why? Just think about it. The only way we can bring up the past or the future is through our thoughts. That’s because the events have either come and gone or have not yet happened.
Yes, let that marinate for a moment.
Your Past is Just a Story
The past and future are always just thoughts, not truths, but thoughts that we’ve turned into a story that we tell ourselves over and over again. Yes! Thoughts, NOT truths. Why not truths? Because everything from the past is replayed in our head the way we perceived them. And the way we perceive things may not always be centered on the truth. For example, when people witness an accident – the same accident – and are asked to describe what happened, their version of events generally varies. That’s because each saw it from their own perspective. The same is true for every event in our own lives.
Pretty mind blowing no?
So, instead of allowing our EGO to continue to judge us and fill our heads with the same self defeating story – “I’m not rich enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, etc.” Why not stop all the negative chatter and instead choose to be grateful for who we are and all that we have in the here and now?
Trust me. I know how much easier it is to believe the negative stuff our EGO wants us to believe about ourselves. It’s what helps keep us stuck in the familiar vs. trying to figure out a new version of ourselves. I get it. Change, even for the better, is overwhelming and scary. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips to help.
Ways to Live in the Moment
Stop multitasking. Focus on one thing at a time. – Trust me – as a multitasker living and working in the digital world – I realize that’s easier said than done. But when I take time to truly connect to the what’s in front of me, things just seem to become clearer.
Take time to savor your food without distractions. – Try not to eat in front of your computer, while on your phone, while driving, etc. The saying, “We eat with our eyes,” is true. The brain needs time to connect with and savor what you’re eating to help let you know that you actually just ate something, and to help you determine when you’re full.
Give your undivided attention. – Whether it’s a colleague, family, a stranger, etc. practice “active listening.” This is where you not only listen to what the other person is saying, but you seek to understand them as well. To do this, you can’t allow yourself to be distracted by anything going on around you. Nor should you allow your mind to wonder to what you would do or say in a similar situation. Just be present.
Live in gratitude. – When we approach everyday being grateful for all that we have vs. what we don’t have, it’s so much easier to worry less about a past we want to change, or a future we’re not sure will ever be. To help, I generally start and end my day listing at least 5 things I’m grateful for. Try it and see what it does for you.
Breathe – Sounds simple. But If you can’t stop all the incessant noise swirling in your head, and meditation isn’t in your practice, it’s the next best thing to help you clear you head. All you have to do is take a deep breath and consciously listen to it as you inhale and exhale. See your chest rise and fall. Pay attention to the sensation. Continue to do this until you find that your mind has settled and you find yourself back in the here and now.
As you can see, living in the present is all about making conscious choices. It’s about letting go of the thoughts and stories that are no longer serving us, and replacing them with our current reality. Sure it takes work, but life is always sweeter on the other side.Try it out for yourself and let me know how it goes.
What thoughts or stories do you need to let go of to start living in the present?