Those of you that read ‘The Power of Now‘ or ‘A New Earth‘ by Eckhart Tolle, know that living in the present is a challenge for all people. If you haven’t heard about him, I can highly recommend his books. Although not easy to read, they contain a lot of valuable information.
We live in the past or future
You’ve driven to work and once you arrive it’s like you awake from a dream. You have absolutely no recollection of the trip itself. It seems you did the whole route on ‘automatic pilot’. Sounds familiar?
Most people constantly relive their past or worry about an imaginary future. On top of that, we mostly ruminate about negative past experiences. Can you see the problem with that? The past is something we can’t change. And the future always turns out different than we thought. So both almost always lead to disappointment.
Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with planning for the future. But only when you’ve intentionally planned to do this. I’ve written a great guide to goal setting, which you can read here.
Days and months go by where we mostly live inside our heads. Our lives are passing by without us even noticing it. Constantly thinking about the next thing we have to do. Or feeling bad because of something that happened in the past. It is impossible to experience ‘the present’ this way. You could say we’re distracted on a chronic basis. Something inside us tries to escape the present moment. And most of the time, we let that part of us win!
Living in the past
We let the past define who we are. Typically, these people are stuck. They feel like they can’t change and it makes them unhappy. And all that because we let the past influence who we are today. Every decision you make today influences who you’ll become tomorrow. Take your life back, starting now! We’ll discuss how you can achieve this a bit later on.
Living in the future
Instead of taking action to achieve our ‘dream future’, we’d rather passively dream about it. We constantly imagine this and that, but never create a plan to achieve it. And then we’re disappointed when we see nothing changes in our lives. We need to realize that every small step in the right direction is one step closer to realizing your future. One small step each day adds up to 365 steps each year!
Returning our attention to the present
There are different things you can do throughout the day to return to the present moment. At first, they don’t look like much. But it’s the same as taking steps to achieve your ideal future. Doing small things each day is more achievable and will get you where you want over time.
- Focusing on the breath
Make it a habit to focus on your breath throughout the day. Only do 3 breaths, but give them all your attention! Feel your belly expanding or the air flowing through your nostrils, whatever works best for you. You can do this every time you get lost in thought.
- Feel your body while you walk
Pick one body part and feel it with all your senses. I like to do this with the soles of my feet. When I’m walking, I first feel the impact on my heel and then follow as the pressure on my sole changes throughout the movement. Another nice one is to focus on your hands. As you swing your arms back and forth, you create airflow. If you focus, you can feel the air passing through your fingers with each swing of the arm.
- Experience your food with all the senses
For most of us, lunch break is the ideal time to check our social media. We stuff our mouths without actually tasting our food. Instead, try using all your senses on your food. You can smell the food you’re eating, look at the colors on your plate, taste the texture, or chew your food slowly.
- Do a short meditation
If you have a bit more time, a short meditation can do wonders! Sit comfortably and focus on your breath for a couple of seconds or minutes.
- Use physical activity as a cue
This could be different things. Each time you get out of the car, be aware of the movement from start to finish. Or each time you open the door, feel the pressure you exert with your arm. You can choose any physical cue you want. Pick one that feels best for you.
After reading this article, you’re armed with 5 easy goals to add to your daily to-do list. Start implementing them today. Start living in the present and enjoying your life!
Questions or remarks? Leave a comment or contact me!