The Benefits of Living in the Present Moment
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. Ever heard that quote before? It’s from Buddha.
Your daily routine involves juggling work, family, and a host of other responsibilities (which is what the average person has to deal with every day), and it means the average person is overworked and uniquely distracted. It might also explain why half the population is overstressed.
This is an age where your ability to succeed professionally depends on your capacity to multitask, assimilate, and keep track of relevant technologies at a time when economies are uncertain and most industries are evolving faster than normal. With all this going on, how can you remain conscious and truly aware of everything you do, and enjoy each passing moment around you?
It’s easy to get distracted, thoughts shift quickly, you start to do things out of habit and your thoughts wander and when that happens, you go through life without really living. Have you ever driven to work as if on auto-mode, completely oblivious, and on getting there, wondered how you could be so switched off?
Or several pages into a book you can’t remember what you read because your mind wasn’t really with you while you were sitting there reading.
Mindfulness is a Conscious Decision
It doesn’t matter how you’ve lived your life until now. Just try to be present when you get out of bed in the morning, when you get dressed, as you drink coffee, when you check the time, answer an email, walk down the street, order a meal, and smile at a stranger. It’s almost the art of stepping outside yourself and watching the moment.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness expert and professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, describes it as “Falling awake…reintroducing you to yourself…cultivating a kind of intimacy with your core being.
It means paying attention on purpose, in the present and non-judgmentally. Remember, you are only alive now, in this present moment. Not in the past, not in
the future. Every aspect of your life is powered by the Now, and it robs you of wonderful experiences when you go through each day reliving the past or trying to conjure up the future.
· The past is gone. Done with. One major problem with living in the past is the fact that most thoughts tend to drift towards feelings of sadness or even guilt over poor choices you may have made before. The only time the past should be in your present is reliving in your mind times that still bring you joy in the present moment. It’s okay for the joy from the past to still live in your heart. Those are just life memories.
· The future is not here yet. It is pointless to worry about the future because, guess what. It’s the future! It hasn’t happened yet, and it doesn’t help to stress over conjecture or speculation. Worries and anxiety about things that may never even happen is so wasteful. Things can and will change tomorrow. Worries stem from fear, and fear is crippling, so decide today to focus more on what you have now.
How do you Find Yourself?
You are reading this blog right now so that’s a good sign. As you go on with your day, your mind will start to drift and thoughts will bounce from one issue to the next; if not reined in, these thoughts could lead to all sorts of worries, stress, anxiety, and so on. When you feel this happening, take a minute, and close your eyes, take deep breaths, and clear your mind, focusing instead on one peaceful thing that calms you down.
This will settle down the ramblings in your mind and hopefully bring you to a higher level of awareness, and allow you more control over your thoughts. The beauty of everyday mindfulness is that it allows you to push aside the dozen or so commitments you have so that you can enjoy that one thing-the present moment you have with friends, loved ones, or that special alone time. Acknowledge each of these times and allow yourself to be amused, distracted, and charmed by these special moments because that’s how you make good memories.
Be Tuned to All Moments- The Bad and the Good
If you’re going to get anything out of a bad experience, let it be the knowledge of your part in it, and the full understanding of its effect on you. Hopefully that way you can grow from it and move on quickly, because there are many wonderful experiences awaiting you.
Remember, mindfulness is less about doing and more about being. Find a comfortable position on a chair or on the floor, and cool your breathing while you gather your thoughts. Don’t struggle with your breath; let it guide your mind as you lose connection with the inner ramblings of your mind and disappear into the senses, focusing more on your breath, the sounds around you, the cool breeze on your skin, and everything else around you.
Do this every day, for five or ten minutes, and you’ll be surprised at the difference it will make to the rest of your day. The best part is you can practice this whenever you feel tired or stressed-when doing laundry, lying in bed, gardening, standing, and when enjoying your family time.
So What do you Gain from all This?
· You connect with friends, colleagues, and loved ones, and that, in turn, strengthens your relationships.
· Mindfulness disciplines and strengthens the mind, allowing you to harness and focus the great power in you.
· It makes you more productive at work because your attention isn’t split ten ways.
· It makes you more introspective, and you’re able to see yourself objectively, understanding your thoughts and emotions clearly.
· It teaches you to be more thankful for those little moments life gives us.
· Mindfulness will make you a happier, healthier, and more passionate person, and it will show in every aspect of your life.
Even Science Agrees
Harvard Medical School published their own findings on the same, in a report called “Benefits of Mindfulness: Practices for Improving Emotional and Physical Well-Being.” Some of the benefits included reduced blood pressure, reduced chronic pain, improved mental health, and a host of other health benefits.
So as the world gets more crazy and busy, remember to practice mindfulness, and purpose to be present in every precious, distracting, monumental, loving, adorable, unique, irritating, ordinary, memorable moment you have.
Do you want health for your body and mind? Show up to your life, and instead of mourning for the past and worrying about the future, live in the present wisely and earnestly.