You may have already heard about the many benefits of present moment thinking. When you live in the present, the many stressors of the mind do not bother you. You aren’t thinking about tomorrow or yesterday – just now, and this helps with a more peaceful life in the long run.
If you’ve ever tried to stay in the present for a long period of time, you may have noticed that your brain tends to wander. It continuously travels to your past and future. The key is learning how to keep it in one place – which is now.
It Takes Practice!
Even some of the most skilled present moment thinkers encounter times when they have difficulty concentrating. With practice, it becomes easier, but there will always be times here and there when you get distracted, so you need to continuously give yourself some grace as you learn.
When you first begin to think in the present moment, you may be tempted to feel impatient and frustrated. Frustration will only make things worse and is the opposite of what you’ve set out to accomplish. Instead, look at it as a good thing. If you’re frustrated, then you’re noticing when your mind starts to wander and you can return it back to the present. Just take a breath, and come on back. It’s okay, and it will improve if you don’t give up.
Starting With Meditation
Meditation is based on being in the present moment. Therefore, it’s an excellent practice to pick up in your life. Try to make time to do it at least one time every day. If possible, aim for twice a day – once in the morning and once mid day. Try to meditate around the same times as much as your schedule will allow for the best results.
You can look up traditional methods of meditation, or you can simply discover your own practice. It’s best to get yourself into a comfortable seated position and then begin following your breath. Take slow, deep breaths, one at a time, telling yourself you’re in no rush. Set a timer if it makes you more comfortable.
Meditating allows you to practice staying in the present moment during a time that you’re alone and avoiding distractions. You’ll be able to notice the times when your mind is really active versus the times when you’re calmer. Once you’ve mastered this awareness, you can begin to apply your skills to other portions of your day to expand the amount of time that you spend in the present moment.
If you’d like to try a guided meditation, here is one I recorded in Rockford, Michigan several years ago. It takes about 10 minutes and is a good place to start if you are new to meditation.
Making Time for Yourself
It sounds simple enough, but one of the most difficult obstacles to present moment thinking seems to be just making time for you. You are worthy of your time as much as anyone else.
You might tell yourself that it’s time to meditate, but your mind nags you to accomplish one more chore before bedtime. Before you know it, you feel as if you don’t have any additional time for yourself. This is when you need to put your foot down and make it a priority.
The next step is to practice being present while you’re going through the motions of everyday life. Of course, you’ll want to reference your past and future during certain times. It’s to be expected; however, make an effort to avoid letting your mind dwell outside the present. Make your decisions using the past and future as necessary, and then move on with your life in the present.
After you’ve mastered some meditation techniques, try meditating during those times of the day when you’re doing something on autopilot. Instead of allowing your mind to wander, stay present as you engage in activities like brushing your teeth or waiting for the coffee to be ready. Make these small moments meditations in themselves. For example, smell the aroma of the coffee, listen to the sounds of the coffee dripping into the cup or the pot, watch the stream – immerse yourself in the experience.
As you continue to practice, you’ll find it becomes easier and easier to stay in the present moment. Watch for opportunities that you can turn into meditations or simply experiencing the here and now. Seize these opportunities whenever you can and enjoy the many benefits!
Find your purpose – find your joy!
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Did you find a few more ideas of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments, and as always please reach out with your thoughts.
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