“With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson – American poet and lecturer.
Modern life is often stressful, chaotic and sometimes overwhelming. We are pushed for time in everything we do even when it comes to our family time. It affects the way we interact with the world and those we love.
How often do you spend some quality time with your children, yet you have a mobile phone or tablet that is never far away, either for you to read up on the news of the day, communicating with others or perhaps sending that last email for work. We spend far too much time worrying about the past (something we can do nothing about), or the future (something we have no control over) when we should be living in the present, be in the moment and in this case enjoying our time with our children without distractions.
Living in the present (or mindfulness) can involve just yourself, focussing on your situation at that current moment in time, without influence from the past or future.
Benefits of living in the present
There are numerous benefits to living in the present including:
- Higher levels of enjoyment
By living what is happening in front of you, you can enjoy things more.
- Lower stress levels
Not worrying about the past or the future and living for now will help to lower your stress levels
- Forming stronger relationships
Focussing on the present will help to build stronger relationships with those people you are sharing the moment with.
- Improved concentration levels
As there are less things to worry about and distract you, concentration and focus increase as you centre on the moment you are currently in.
- Increased effectiveness
Living in the present increases your effectiveness as you are able to get more done in less time by focussing on what needs to be done at that exact moment.
- Increased relaxation
Relaxation is linked to lower stress levels as you concentrate on the present and not on the past or future.
- Direct experience of reality
As you live in the present you have a direct experience of reality as it happens.
How do you live in the present?
Although difficult to begin with, living in the present becomes easier with practice. Here are a few techniques you can try to help live in the present.
Focus on breathing fully and deeply especially in moments of stress. This focussed breathing helps to pull you into the present and relaxes you.
- Remove unnecessary possessions
It is amazing how much we end up hoarding. Get rid of things you no longer need or use. Uncluttering your life can help to unclutter your mind and make a break with our past.
- Forget about the past
You cannot live in the present by dwelling on the past. What’s done is done! You have no control over it. Move on! Also remember to forgive anyone that may have hurt you, forgiveness will help you forget the past.
- Enjoy your work
Living from payday to payday is not living in the present. Enjoy your work and embrace the challenges it throws at you. Every job has positives, focus on them!
- Focus on one thing at a time
The modern world tells us we need to be able to multitask. Rather focus on each task individually and do it to the best of your ability before moving on to the next.
- Do less, focus on the important things
Cut down on your daily tasks. Focus on meaningful things, like family time. Maybe you have wanted to take the family out for a picnic, but haven’t had the time because your life is so busy planning ahead. Rather take your family on that picnic, spend time together enjoying each other’s company and living in the present.