You have something important to finish. Maybe a work assignment, a household chore you have been avoiding for long, or just getting your room clean.
And just as you are about to get up and get going, you are reminded of something else. Completely unrelated.
Does it happen to you? Continues to happen with me on and off.
Most of us get lost in memories, sometimes repeating a negative situation, an old conflict, or just wishful daydreaming.
Physically we are in the moment but mentally? Ain’t we just about anywhere but definitely not in the moment.
If you end up spending most of your day in the past or the future, and you have difficulty focusing, here is what has worked for me to live in the present moment, in the ‘now.’
Don’t begin your day on turbo mode.
When you wake up, don’t just jump out of bed. Stay for a minute or two, take a long breath, and get up at a relaxed pace.
Do the next few things, be it brushing your teeth, or wearing your shoes, slowly. Rushing through things won’t help you save much time.
This will help you stay in the present more easily, focus on things you do and find a simple joy while doing them.
You sure don’t want to worry about what may happen today even before getting out of your house!
And even through the rest of the day, slow down when you can.
Step Outside Yourself
‘I should not have said that.’ ‘Why was I behaving so oddly at the party last night?’
Ever found yourself focusing on yourself too much?
Things you should have said, should not have said, must have done, must have avoided.
Well, this happens. I find myself being extra self-conscious sometimes.
Though focusing on your own thoughts is not a bad thing but too much focus can make you overthink, worry, and feel stressed.
How do you deal with this?
Find something else to focus on. You can volunteer for a cause you truly care about or devote some of your time to help others.
This will help you take your mind off the past or future, live in the present moment, and make you feel better about yourself.
If your schedule does not allow you to be with other people, the least you can do is not think negatively about a situation or a person. Won’t do any good. Believe me.
Practice Mindful Breathing
Breathe my friend, breathe. If you are breathing, you are alive.
One of the best ways to live in the present moment is to simply breathe.
I think anxiety begins with not breathing the right way. When you breath shallow, your mind chatter begins to get out of control, you begin to overthink, keep replaying a negative situation over and over, and begin to stress over situations that will never materialize.
So, try to catch yourself when you begin to go down this abyss of overthinking and focus on your breathing.
Inhale slowly through your nose, hold it for 3 seconds, and exhale slowly from your mouth. Repeat until you feel relaxed and focused.
You can do this anywhere, whether you are at your workstation, or driving a car.
Follow Your Passion
We get so engrossed with our daily routine, responsibilities that doing something in addition to bare minimum begins to feel like a drag.
What we are rallying against is stagnation, against limitations. I know it gets difficult to find time for what we really like out of our daily schedule but you can find at least half an hour daily to pursue your hobbies. And you have weekends too!
I have a regular 9 to 6 job but I make sure that I devote some time each week to do what I love. Write.
It helps me feel completely immersed in the now and also helps me connect with my readers.
Staying in the moment did not come easily to me but I promised myself to not let my mind control me.
These tips continue to help me live a fulfilling life. I truly believe that being more present helps us look at life positively. A life where you need not live in fear, and be strong enough to take control of your life.
What has helped you live in the present moment and improve your focus? Your valuable comments, insights, and tips are welcome.