Trying to live each day in the present sounds appealing but for some-it isn’t that easy. The ‘what if’ factor plays a huge role in your day to day life, and the future is probably always looming over your head. If considering the future isn’t consuming your thoughts, you’re probably mulling over something that has occurred in your past. You can never really feel ‘at peace’ or enjoy the moment you are in because everything always goes back to the past or future-never the present. How are you supposed to enjoy the here and now when you’re so worried about what is to come next? Well, you won’t be reading this from an expert’s point of view, but simply one person’s experiences that have led her to appreciate the present moments a little bit more.
We’ve all heard, read, and tried to live those super motivational quotes that say ‘Live in the moment’ or ‘Where ever you are be all there’. But reading something and actually putting into your daily routine is a whole other story. Kicking the anxiety over your future, or trying to rid yourself of your past heartaches is no easy task by any means. However, if we’re being honest here-it is crucial that we at least attempt to learn ways that we can physically and mentally be in the NOW, and stop worrying about events that have not even come to light yet.
Ask yourself what is stopping you from living in the moment right here right now. Did you just come out of a horrible break up? Are you anxious about your next career move? Are you worrying about how you’ll pay your next car payment? Whether it’s something from your past or something that could happen in the future (notice I say COULD as in has not actually happened), you need to really nail down what is stopping you from enjoying this very moment.
Now that you’ve figured out what that wall is that is holding you back, it’s time to create a plan as to how to knock it down. If this wall is causing you to not enjoy the little things in life or the things that used to bring you absolute joy, it is crucial that you break it down ASAP. The plan will be different for everyone depending on what the issue is. However, the goal is to get you to live in the here and now, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to release the worry or anxiety. This plan is one step closer to allowing that to come true.
Pull out a piece of paper and a pen right now. Like this second. Write down ALL things that bring YOU and only YOU pure happiness. And no, the boyfriend you just broke up with who is causing you to live in the PAST does not go on this list (aka if you just wrote his name down, time to make a new list). I’m talking the little things, the big things, and everything in between. Does binge watching Netflix make you relaxed and happy? Me too-throw it on the list. Does starting your day by biking 23 miles put a smile on your face? Write it down. Does jumping on a plane and frolicking Paris suite your needs? On the list it goes!
Now here is the hard part-you need to pick one thing each day that is on your list and you HAVE to do it. Okay so maybe hoping on a plane everyday isn’t realistic, but going on that walk by the beach is! Going to your favorite coffee shop also is! Buying yourself your favorite flowers is totally doable seeing as there are grocery stores on every block. Whatever it is-big or small, try to find one minute in your day to live in the NOW and feel the happiness flood through your veins.
If a co-worker, significant other, friend, family member, or even stranger tries to engage you in conversation that forces you to talk about the past or a future event (like a non-fun, anxiety producing, I would rather jump off a bridge than think about past or future event) you NEED to speak up. These people are not mind readers, so you need to express to them that you are trying to move passed said event and that you would LOVE to talk about the here and now. I promise no one will get offended, they have your best interests at heart!
Whenever you feel your head spinning in the direction of the past or future stop for one second and either write down or just think of five things that you appreciate today. Like right now I’m sure reading this is causing you to think of some event that is causing you anxiety. So, stop for one second-look around the room and name five things that you genuinely appreciate. For example, if you’re sitting home alone on your couch with your dog you could say that you appreciate the Netflix series you’re currently watching, the pup you are snuggling with, the roof over your head, the bottle of wine sitting in front of you, etc. Don’t try to force this- aka don’t just say anything that you would have to seriously find a reason why you appreciate it. Only think or write down things that are causing you happiness in that moment. This may sound cheesy, but it will stop your thoughts from going to the craziness of the past or future and will keep you in the now-which is the goal!
Life is definitely a scary and emotional roller coaster. However, it can also be this wonderful, crazy, and thrilling ride- if we let it. Sticking to what you always have done (aka living in the past or worrying about the future) is most likely not working for you. Break out of your shell of worry, and you will see the beauty that is literally staring you in the face. There is no reason to hold on to events that have already happened or even worse to ones that have not and may not ever happen. Be in the present. Be here. Learn to appreciate the simple things sitting right in front of you, and whatever happens happens! You control your own happiness, so choose to take the advice above and start truly LIVING in the present.