To some extent we’re all guilty of not living in the present! Wishing our lives away – thinking about what’s happened, dreaming about what we’ve done and the fond memories we have created. Or looking forward to what’s about to happen … counting down to that next holiday, buying something you want (but don’t need!!) or seeing a friend.
What happened to just living in the here and now?
Sometimes we’re only reminded of this when someone passes or when a disaster strikes. Why does it take a negative trigger to make us stop and reconsider our actions?
Living in the moment
Living in the moment is actually something you need to train yourself to do. It’s not easy! We have so many thoughts and feelings going round in our bodies – regrets about past events and anxiety about future events – it can be quite overwhelming. Sometimes we just have to try and calm that voice and just be present. Easier said than done!
A few years ago I took up yoga. I had a busy life, living between the UK and the Netherlands. I was always on the go. Always planning the next trip and living out of a suitcase (almost). It was time for me to calm myself a little and just take some time out for myself. One hour of me time. On my mat. Focusing on my breathing and just living in the moment. Right there and right now!
It wasn’t easy and I will be honest and say that my mind did wander. What was I going to have for dinner? What was my plan for the next day? Could I have managed certain work situations better? Was my presentation to the board the next day the best I could have done?
The thoughts go on!
Out of head and on to paper
I make a lot of lists. I’m still an old school pen and paper kind of girl!
To gain clarity, calmness and to stop my mind racing, I make lists – or just get my thoughts down on paper – or whatever it is that’s bothering me. It helps me make sense of it. Once it’s down on paper it’s safe and I don’t need to keep going over and over it. I can then break it down, prioritise and make a clear plan or sort through the thoughts. It’s one of my coping strategies.
One thing at a time. Slowly and deliberately. With a purpose and a meaning.
Being mindful. Being aware. Being in control.
Also some things you can influence and others not. So just let go!
Practise being content
Another thing I’ve learned that helps me be present and live for the now, is the art of being content.
Content with life as it is now. In this moment.
It’s not about I’ll be content if and when ….. or I was content when …..
Be content now!
Being content is about appreciating what you have. Not focusing on what you don’t have.
Being content is being grateful, being aware, being mindful – keeping it simple.
“If you are not content today, there is nothing you can buy this weekend
to change that.” — Joshua Becker
I don’t strive to be happy 100% of the time. I don’t think that’s achievable. Always seeking for the highs, will also bring the lows. How about striving for the Oks?
That’s much more realistic and achievable. Why not give it a try!
You’re in the driving seat
Being single for a part of my adulthood was a really important part of helping me ‘seize the day’.
Take control of your life – you’re in the driving seat. It’s a really refreshing feeling. I used to say to other single girlfriends “you’re the leading lady in your life. Go play the part!”
Do the things you’ve always wanted to, but didn’t. Or just do nothing, because you can.
Whatever it is, you’re in control. You’re in the driving seat. It’s an empowering feeling.
So, seize the day … it’s yours for the taking.
“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.”
The first stanza of Robert Herrick’s 1648 “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”.