Learn The Mantra Not My Problem
There is so much happening on a typical day of work. Your colleague disagrees with your opinion, the app you work on gets buggy, or a potential customer cancels a contract.
All these stressful events nourish your brain with anxiety and make disconnecting from work even harder. In reality, a majority of those events are just noise. It doesnt impact your long-term goals and should be ignored.
Identify a stressful event and give it a repercussion rate. If its not critical, consider saying, Not My Problem, and move on.
Get Regular Exercise Or Do Some Yoga
Regular exercise or even just taking a stroll through the park can help you to stay more focused on your present activities. Including yoga as part of your daily routine is another great way to live in the present, especially if it’s coupled with meditation and mindfulness exercises.
If you can’t make time for all full yoga class, just stopping what you are doing to take a couple of minutes for some basic poses can help you to get back into the moment.
What It Really Means
As your physical self moves throughout your day, does your emotional self keep up?
Do your thoughts accompany you from task to task, or does your mind drift and wander, making it challenging to pay attention to conversations or recall what you were just doing?
Your body can physically inhabit a space when your mind is elsewhere. This tuning out might happen more often when you feel bored, stressed, or otherwise preoccupied.
Being present simply means youre focused and engaged in the here and now, not distracted or mentally absent.
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Ask How They Are Feeling
I love how Sissy Goff names the fear and anxiety rising in us as the worry monster in her book Raising Worry-Free Girls: “What is the worry monster telling you? What are you most afraid of at this moment? How does your body feel your chest, tummy, shoulders, head?”
Our children will experience fear emotionally, but they will also experience it physically. The physical symptoms that can go along with social anxiety can be confusing to our little ones and our teens. When we come alongside our children, we help them gain awareness of their anxiety. When they become aware of the worry monster, we can work to slow down our breathing, remind ourselves that God is as near as our very breath, and we can slowly release the tension we are harboring. The Lord is faithful to meet us at this moment. These physical symptoms are indicators to make us aware, but they are not truths that hold us captive. We may feel helpless to fear and anxiety, but we can trust in the Lord to be our source of help.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart do not depend on your own understanding.Proverbs 3:5 NLT
Enjoy Being Where You Are
Think about how much time you spend waiting on something.
Whether its short-term waiting such as waiting for a bus or long-term waiting such as waiting on a promotion at work, people spend so much of their time looking forward to some future event.
At first glance, waiting may seem like an inevitable part of human existence. However, wouldnt it be great if you could remove waiting and all the time that it wastes from your life entirely?
According to Eckhart Tolle, waiting is a state of mind more than it is a situation that we find ourselves in, meaning that you can control it.
The next time you find yourself waiting for something, try not to think of yourself as waiting at all.
Consider a person who is waiting for a bus to arrive.
Now, if you were to ask this person what they were doing, most people would tell you that they were waiting for the bus.
But what if, instead, their response was that they were sitting on a bench enjoying the fresh air and watching the events around them unfold? When the bus arrives, theyll get on it and carry about their lives.
Until then, though, they are enjoying the present moment they find themselves in rather than spending the entire time staring at their watch.
Imagine what a more pleasant time this person is having than they would have if they had a waiting mindset.
A waiting mindset breeds impatience, and impatience breeds frustration.
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How To Live In The Moment: 35+ Tools To Be More Present
Youâve heard it said beforeâprobably many timesâthat itâs important to live in the present moment.
You also might have heard similar pieces of advice like:
- âDonât get caught up in thinking about the past or the futureâlive in the now!â
- âBe present in your own life.â
- âAll you have is this moment. Donât let it slip away.â
All of these sayings boil down to the same basic message: itâs vital to live in the present moment.
In our current twenty-first century lives, itâs not easy. Thereâs always something coming up that we need to prepare for or anticipate, and our lives are so well-documented that itâs never been easier to get lost in the past.
Given the fast pace and hectic schedules most of us keep, a base level of anxiety, stress, and unhappiness is the new norm. You may not even realize it, but this tendency to get sucked into the past and the future can leave you perpetually worn out and feeling out of touch with yourself.
The cure for this condition is what so many people have been saying all along: conscious awareness and a commitment to staying in the ânow.â Living in the present moment is the solution to a problem you may not have known you had.
You might be thinking that this all sounds great, but what does it actually mean to âlive in the present moment?â How could we be living in anything but the present? Read on to find out!
The Mind Is Not The Way
If I said Lets all stay in the present moment. Work as hard as you can. Now stay focused in the present moment! How long will that last? Probably 5 to 10 seconds. Then, the mind will drift away. So, staying in the present moment is not something you can do through effort. You cant tell the mind to do it. The minds not going to obey you because theres too much stimulation from all of these events, stresses, and impressions that are going to cause the mind to drift off into the past and future.
Certain emotions we call negative are associated only with the future or only with the past. If you worry about the future, youre anxious about the future. You fear for what might happen in the future.
But for the past you have regret you have guilt. These kinds of things come up: Oh I wish I hadnt done it that way. I should have done it this way. It can just sit there and trouble your mind too much.
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Remain Conscious Of Your Thoughts
Try to keep your thoughts positive and present-focused. If you find yourself going down a negative train of thought or worrying about the future, shift your focus back to positive thoughts about the here and now.
Focus your mind on your present situation, and take time each day to think about only whats going on right there in the moment.
This is especially important if you are in the middle of a moment that should be enjoyable.
If you are spending time with your friends and family, enjoying an afternoon outside, or doing any other pleasant activity, make an effort to keep your mind in the moment rather than thinking about whats ahead.
Strategy : Focus Words
I love focus words. They are straightforward, simple, neutral words that help us focus on what we want to have happen. Lets say Im working on a back handspring. My mind could go to thinking about all the bad things that could happen to thinking about the fear, to thinking about the pressure I might be feeling.
But instead Im going to come up with three words or less that help me stay focused on what Im doing. So my three words might be load, explode, and tight. So as Im standing there preparing for my back handspring, Im going to repeat to myself load, explode, tight, load, explode, tight. And Im going to say that to myself over and over a couple of times, maybe once or twice as I set up to do that skill. We could do this in any skill, any routine.
I always say one to no more than three words.
But focus words are things like strong, tight, smooth, power, attack, trust, breathe, focus, easy, zoom, spring, push. Neutral words no positive, no negative. Focusing on what you want to have happen in that moment.
Its a great way to bring yourself into the present moment for my figure skaters out there. You can have words for different jumps, right? If youre going into a double loop jump, you might be thinking, wait, check, push.
Theres no right or wrong. You get to come up with what words feel most helpful for you. And a good way to ask yourself this is what does my brain need to hear for me to successfully complete this skill?
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The Role Of Mindfulness
Staying present is easier said than done. There are many distractions in your life and things to keep your mind focused on anything but the present moment. In reality, worry is actually protective in some ways to help us anticipate dangerous situations. This is one reason why it can be so hard to shut worry off.
One of the best tools to practice staying present is mindfulness. Mindfulness is essentially an accepting, open, non-judgmental and curious focus on one’s emotional, cognitive and sensory experience in the present moment. Simply put, mindfulness is present moment self-awareness. You can practice mindful awareness of the present moment at any time, or cultivate a mindfulness meditation practice in which a specific time of your day is devoted toward practicing mindfulness meditation.
Focus On Your Senses To Stay Present
The antidote to being less anxious and connecting to now is to focus on your senses: touch, taste, sight, smell, hearing.
Toward that end, when you feel anxious, ask yourself these five questions to anchor yourself in the present.
- What do I see? Take a close look at the world around you. Youre here and not stuck in a time warp. Call what you see by name and describe it. Take a detailed mental snapshot. In my office, a client might say: I see you in your brown chair, the woodsy picture over your desk, and the ceiling fan.
- What do I hear? Tune in to sounds around you. Dont just settle for the first ones you notice, but strain to identify background noises such as distant voices, cars driving by, or the whir of an air-conditioner. If you dont hear any threat, relax and enjoy the moment.
- What do I smell? To ground yourself in the present, sniff the air or take a deep breath. Youll be surprised what lingers in it: perfume, auto exhaust, perspiration, cooking odors. Breathing deeply will also help you relax.
- What am I sensing through touch? Notice tactile sensations. Imagine being fastened to the present and to the earth. Your feet are firmly planted on the ground, youre sitting in a chair or lying on a bed. What textures do you feel? Are they smooth or rough, hot or cold, soft or hard?
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The Other Side Of The Story
Should we never be thinking about the past or the future? Is it sin?
Thats not the case thats a very one-sided and unbalanced approach. Plants and rocks are always in the present moment. A lizard is always in the present moment. If we make our brain as primitive as that of a lizard or a snake, were always going to be in the present moment, effortlessly. There would be no anxiety, no regret, no shame, nothing.
But is this the next step in human evolution what were working toward?
No. We need the ability to look at the past, to learn from it, otherwise well keep repeating it. We need the ability to look to the future and see whats the likely outcome if I continue doing the things that Im doing.
Ask yourself what you are walking toward. Have a goal, have a vision for yourself. Simply having a meaningful vision for our lives and for ourselves already helps us to live more purposefully, more meaningfully, to have less suffering.
So the ability to think about the past and to think about the future help us to learn from the past and to plan for the future.
These are essential abilities that we need to have, cultivate, and become better at. They are part of our mind. They are part of the abilities of our mind. The problem is not that we sometimes think of the past and the future. The problem is that we cant stop thinking about the past and the future even if its not useful, even if its causing pain for no good reason, even if we want tothats the problem.
How To Stay Present: Method 1
Now, how do we stay present? There are many ways.
The body is always present its the mind that can be in the past or in the future. So one way to be in the present is to make the body and the mind unite. If body and mind are one, then the mind is in the present because the body is in the present.
What does it mean to unite body and mind? It means that if youre walking, you are walking your body is walking, your mind is walking. Its not that your bodys walking and your mind is thinking something else. If youre eating, your body is eating and your mind is eatingit is engaged in the process so body and mind are one.
This is one of the ways to become present: focus on your body.
Another way is focusing on your breath. The breath is always here its not the past breath or the future breath. It is this breath right now, that you have the chance to pay attention to and to use as a door to the present moment.
THIS moment is the moment where 99% of human suffering does not exist. As for the 1% that does exist in the present moment if theres an action you need to take to fix something in your life, to set boundaries in a relationship, to stop going to certain places, to change your habitsthen you can do that.
If that is the case you should do that in the present moment, not thinking about the times you failed in the past, not worrying about the failures in the future and the things that the future holds because its uncertain.
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Practical Tips For Being More Mindful
Finding twenty minutes a day or more to sit down and meditate may seem close to impossible. The good news is that you do not have to cultivate an ongoing meditative practice in order to reap the rewards of being more mindful in your daily life.
The same mobile device that can rapidly take you out of the present moment can also serve as a reminder for you to return to the present moment. You can make your mobile phone your mindfulness machine by using it to set reminders that go off through the day that encourages you to stay in the moment.
When your reminder goes off, just stop whatever you are doing for thirty seconds or so and focus your awareness on the present moment. Check in with yourself and ask yourself about how you are feeling emotionally and physically, and what you are thinking about. Mindfulness is all about being accepting, non-critical and open, so be kind to yourself and curious about your experience.
You may notice during these times that your head is all wrapped up and worrying about the future. Use these moments as an opportunity to return to the present moment. Remind yourself that regardless of what happens in the future, you will be able to handle it. After all, you always have been able to handle whatever life has thrown at you. Just practicing this a few times a day should cause you to be more present overall, and you will likely notice a decrease in any chronic worrying.
Visualize Your Daily Goals
Visualizing your goals is an excellent method for not only making it more likely that you will follow through on your goals, it can also help you become more mindful on a regular basis.
When you have set your daily goals , take a few moments to visualize each one .
See yourself undertaking each goal and completing each goal today. Get as much detail as you can in your visualization, so it feels real and within your reach.
When you can see yourself checking that daily goal off your list, move on to the next goal and repeat until you have visualized all of your daily goals.
Practicing visualization of goal completion can not only help you improve your focus and mindfulness, it can also lower your stress, improve your performance, enhance your preparedness, and give you the extra energy or motivation you might need to accomplish everything on your list.
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