The point of this article is to help you to understand why it is so difficult to stay in the present moment. And give you some hints, tips and tricks to help you stay in the present moment.
‘If you want to be happy, just live in the present moment.’Optimistic Human
Simple, that’s not so difficult.
There are more instructions on my ready-made bread mix.
So that’s it, no need to write any more blogs, coach any more clients or do anything other than
I’m hungry, what am I going to eat for dinner tonight?
Cannot believe the way my friend spoke to me last week.
I know my colleague is going to be late again tomorrow.
Oh wait, present moment.
Dammit! I will try again.
Couple hours later while walking the dog.
Lovely tree, I can feel the wind on my face. Comforting warm feeling inside. I am floating blissfully in this present moment.
Cannot believe I’ve got work in the morning.
I am so tired I need more sleep.
I need to go shopping.
Life is so unfair.
If only someone would listen to me.
Oh wait, present moment. See those lovely flowers, the smells so fresh. Feeling really relaxed and calm on this lovely walk.
You get the idea, it is not so easy to stay in the present moment.
We spend most of our time thinking about something that has already happened in the past, or something that may happen in the future.
From a philosophical point of view, the past does not exist in the future has not been created yet. That’s fine, and as much as that is true it does not stop the mind wandering and yanking us out the present moment almost constantly.
In this blog I’m not going to list all the benefits of staying in the present moment, I am going to presume you know that it has many benefits. Less anxiety, better health, improved relationships, and the list goes on. It is quite extensive and it would not be hard to write a whole book just on the benefits.
Life is available only in the present moment. If you abandon the present moment you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply.Thich Nhat Hanh
What does it mean to stay in the present moment?
Simply put, it means to focus your attention on what is happening right now. So, if you were walking the dog, you would enjoy the surroundings, any company you may have, the experience to each of your senses. What you can smell, feel, thoughts, and emotions. What is arising in this present moment, instead of wandering off thinking about what you’re going to eat later that day, or your workload from your job.
If you are with someone perhaps out for a meal, you are not on your phone, but you are giving them your full attention. You are not just listening to what they are saying, you are taking full notice of the little nuances that go with what they are saying.imaimageii
“When you have an intense contact of love with nature or another human being, like a spark, then you understand that there is no time and that everything is eternal.” ~ Paulo Coelho
Why is it so hard to stay in the present moment?
Simple, habits and self protection. This
These are the habits that we have developed as human species over millions of years to keep us safe. Then, to add to this list of animalistic habitual reactions we have the ones that we develop in our lifetime while growing up.
When was the last time you had to think about putting your seatbelt on getting in the car?
Or we get triggered and automatically want to disconnect from the family member that tends to talk bollocks 90% of the time.
These automatic habits are not a bad thing, in fact we need them.
Take walking, imagine if you had to consider which muscles to tense and which muscles to relax, to do all those movements throughout your whole body in order to walk forward. You would be worn out after a few steps let alone the time it would take you.
Then of course you have our imagination. It takes us places, it dreams up scenarios that we can as humans invent and make. We would not have mobile phones, houses, cars, and aeroplanes if we did not have the ability to dream outside of the present moment.
This imagination also has kept us alive. We evolved the ability to predict the future based on the past. Over a long period of time this grew into the ability to see far in the past and further into the future. Then, by analysing what happened in the past we make a lot less mistakes and therefore get eaten by the bear less often.
That was a very brief explanation, there is a video at the bottom that goes into a lot more detail.
Hints, tips and tricks to help you stay in the present moment
When you are here and now, sitting totally, not jumping ahead, the miracle has happened. To be in the moment is the miracle.Osho
You knew I was going to say that. I won’t go into detail; however meditation is the number one practice that will develop your habit of coming back to the present moment.
You want to live in the present moment, feel less anxious, then you need to meditate.
Think you can’t, check out my myths of meditation.
Red traffic lights are a perfect scenario for you to take a breath look around and enjoy a little time out.
Set the timer on your phone
Perhaps on the hour, and then just take three deep and meaningful breaths.
Ask insightful questions
- What am I thinking?
- Are there emotions right now?
- What can I hear?
Whether you are washing the dishes, walking the dog, or mowing the lawn. Slow down and do it tentatively and mindfully taking notice of all the little intricacies of what you are doing.
The same with eating, taste it and enjoy it. We often throw a mouthful of food in our mouths, and then we taste what we’re putting on our fork for the next mouthful. Between mouthfuls, put the fork down. No more mindlessly eating in front of the TV.
Have many check ins
What I bring into this present moment?
How did that last moment make me feel?
How my feeling about the next moment?
Whatever you do as your normal routine, reverse the order. Granted you cannot have a bath before you run it, or dry dishes before you wash them. However, you can dry yourself in a different way.
Instead of breathing in first, and then out. Try breathing out and then in. Do that right now.
You never know, you might find a more efficient way of doing something.
When you have a thought, give it a label. Dreaming, past, future, worry, bliss, crazy, productive, and the list can go on. Label things you can see outside, as well as the feelings that arise within.
Take a mindful breath, and repeat.
The present moment is never repeated, just like the water in the river is never the same.
Please enjoy the video, it goes a little deeper and hopefully, you are not offended and enjoy some of my jokes.