Are you living in the present?

Category: Article or Blog Published: Wednesday, 31 January 2018 Written by Sarah PJ White

As the well-known saying goes; tomorrow never comes, there is only the here and now. Yesterday can’t come back and you can only change where you are now, in this moment. So what can you do to make sure you’re living in the present and not stuck in the future or the past?

How to tell if you’re future focused

If you’re feeling stressed, worried and anxious, the chances are you’re focusing on the future too much.

Focusing too much on your future can lead to you pinning your hopes and dreams on ‘what ifs’. You’ll spend your time saying things like ‘I’ll be happy when…’ and you’ll be holding back on living your life fully, until something that hasn’t yet happened, materialises.

The problem with this is the future isn’t actually here and it hasn’t been created yet – you’re worrying and stressing about things that aren’t real and pinning your future happiness on things that may not even EVER be real. Spending time planning your future CAN be productive and useful – if you use it in conjunction with the other steps listed below.

Is the past still capturing your attention?

Do guilt and remorse hold you back? Maybe you regret not taking a particular path or wondering what would have happened, if you’d just stuck with that guy or girl? Are you spending your time wishing you’d done things differently, had better experiences, support and/or education etc.? These are sure signs that you’re stuck in the past.

The facts on this are simple: the past is in the past. You can’t do anything to change it, or what happened in it. Work at letting the guilt and remorse go and, if you need to forgive or ask forgiveness of yourself and/or others, do it and move forward.

Why living in the present is the best solution

You know when you’re in the present, as you’re accepting life as it is now and not hinging everything on tomorrow. This doesn’t mean you’re stuck with ‘your lot’. It means you’re acknowledging where you currently are and how your decisions took you to this point – but you also know that any choices and decisions you make now, will shape your moments moving forward.

This level of acceptance calms you and eases worry and stress. You understand that the only moments you can change are the ones you’re in now and you can decide, at any moment, what your next actions are. You are in control and you make the decisions that affect your life.

How to live in the present

#1: Notice your thoughts

Accept your thoughts for what they are, without any judgement on them or yourself. This simply means being aware of what you’re telling yourself and deciding what to do with that thought. Do you want to keep it? Do you want to change it? But it all starts with acknowledging it’s there.

#2: Be aware of your actions

Notice what actions you are taking on a daily basis. Are they moving you to where you want to be or are they keeping you stuck and unhappy?

#3: Practice gratitude

Be thankful for everything you have, no matter how basic or small. Gratitude is the corner stone of acceptance and awareness. It’s about not judging what you have or haven’t got, but being happy to have what you do have.

#4: Forgive your past

Forgive yourself and others for your past. If it helps, write a letter to the person, asking for their forgiveness or giving them yours. Learn to see the hidden benefits you’ve received from any wrongdoing and let it go.

#5: Dream about the future

Take time to visualise how you want your future to be, using glorious technicolour. Then bring it back to now, by deciding on the action steps you need to implement, in order to get from here to your desired end result.

Find your future joy HERE.

Image courtesy of Yurchyk/Dollar Photo Club

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