Have you ever observed where your thoughts seem to reside? Do you dwell more in the past, or the future, or the present? There are times when any of these may be appropriate but the value of being present can’t be denied.
Do you ever lie awake at night with your mind racing through thoughts of countless things you need to do the next day or in the coming week?
Or worse … thinking about something you wish you had (or hadn’t) said, or a situation you would like to go back and change?
Where Are You Mentally Living
For some this happens frequently, and for others just occasionally. If your mind is racing, it’s a sign that you are focused on the future. And if you are thinking about something that happened last night or last year, you are in the past.
It all boils down to you not being where you need to be … in the present.
Reflecting on your experiences can be quite valuable in making decisions related to your next steps. Yet we also need to be careful not to dwell there. This can drag you down and contribute to anxiety or depression.
Likewise, being focused on your to-do list keeps you caught on a mental hamster wheel. This immediate-future focus hinders your ability to notice opportunities that appear, or even take the first step toward accomplishing items on your list.
How To Be More Present
There are delightful aspects in each season of the year. Are you noticing the changes outside as we near spring? Are you aware of the people around you and the things they are celebrating or finding challenging? What is the environment at your dinner table? Is there conversational exchange or silence as family members are buried in their phones?
Here are some ways that you can shift to the present …
- Get outside for a walk – or find a quiet place to sit outside
- Do something creative with your hands
- Meditate or do 5 minutes of deep breathing
- Read a book for FUN
- Listen to music that inspires you (perhaps while walking outside)
- Bless a friend or stranger with a random act of kindness
- Play with the kids or pets – they will love having your attention
All of these simple activities have the power to bring your focus back to the present and help you be more mindful going forward. They can help to calm your racing mind and build relationships with those around you. You and they will discover the value of being present.
Prioritize time to unplug, unwind and “be in the moment” – you will be surprised what you discover that you were missing.