By Scott Blair
We all deal with stress and anxiety, although some deal with it more than others. In today’s world of COVID, skyrocketing gas and food prices, inflation and other issues, it’s easy to be stressed. It’s easy to think back on the past and the choices you wish you could change. It’s also easy to get caught up looking far into the future, having negative thoughts about something that will probably never happen.
There’s a lot of buzz about ‘mindfulness’ these days, and some claim that keeping your attention focused on the present is one of the most useful and underrated skills you can attain. Experts say that living in the present can have many emotional, physical and practical benefits. For example, focusing on the now can help you reduce stress, take the edge off physical pain, do workouts easier, overcome cravings, improve your social skills, be more creative, complete big projects, develop your sports and music abilities, or most any endeavor.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and are able to make a contribution to their community.” Keep reading to learn more about living in the moment.
1. Live in the Moment
Living in the moment can make you happier and healthier. When you dwell on your past and past mistakes, it creates a problem. Or when you sit in fear about something bad that could possibly happen in the future, you’re piling on unnecessary stress.
That’s not saying you shouldn’t look at how you’ve acted previously and learn from it. That also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vision and plan for your future, but you should do it in a positive way. Most of us tend to focus on the negative; it’s a natural human process we all go through at some point. Simply being mindful of triggers and thoughts will be of great help.
Yes, you’ve heard it before. You’ve heard how meditation is good for you. It can reduce stress, help you get restful sleep, and maybe even make your skin glow. However, you might have tried it, but it hasn’t worked. That’s alright. Meditating doesn’t need to be a grandiose process that produces instant life-changing results. Think baby steps here. The first problem meditation typically solves is living in the moment. You’ll subconsciously learn to be in the moment and live in the present by simply sitting still, and focusing on your breathing.
3. You’ll be More Productive
Living in the present automatically makes you more productive. In almost every case, being more productive makes you happier. Us humans instinctively need a purpose. It’s built into our DNA, whether we like it or not. Sure, some will try to fight it, but at the end of the day, being productive makes us happy, and being present facilitates that.
4. A Healthier Routine
Living in the moment makes you more likely to create a healthier daily routine. When you’re going through life on auto-pilot or focused on everything else but the here and now, you probably won’t have a healthy routine, and if you do have one, it will probably be scattered and chaotic. Scattered and chaotic doesn’t constitute healthy choices. In turn, not making healthy choices can make you unhappy.
5. More Career Success
Living in the moment or “being present” can help your career. When you’re not in the moment, you have difficulty focussing on necessary tasks. We all have that person at work who is focused on everything else but the task at hand. Their mind is always off in another place, making it harder for everyone else to work, especially in a team environment. One person not in tune with the rest brings everyone down and makes more work and stress for everyone else. You’ll kick butt at work and impress your peers and supervisors when you’re “present.”
6. Chronic Illness
There are studies that claim mindfulness or being in the moment may help with chronic illness. It can improve quality of life and reduce mental health symptoms. You need to be in the strongest mental and physical shape when you’re fighting a chronic condition. With mindfulness, you can attain this much easier. One of the biggest benefits is that you’ll learn to love yourself more and allow others to love you. Doing so can provide you with the inner strength needed to battle and tackle your illness.
The same NIH study that’s referenced above states that mindfulness can be effective for some people with depression. It can help fight depression in two ways. The first way it can help is to keep you grounded. Often, people with depression get depressed when they’re focussed on past mistakes or have thoughts of a doomsday future. Mindfulness and living in the moment can remedy that.
The second way being present can help fight depression is that it helps you de-center. Basically, it helps you detach and not hold onto any one thought or emotion. When you’re depressed or sad, the last thing you want to do is dwell on those thoughts and feelings. Living in the present can be a great tool to help you let go of negativity.
8. Your Mental or Physical Illness Can’t Define You
Living in the moment can help you understand that suffering from a mental or physical illness doesn’t define you. You have a unique character inside of you, and we often lose sight of that character when dealing with serious health problems. When you’re present with every facet of yourself, you’ll most likely feel that inner joy and light you felt before having mental or physical problems. You are not your illness, and living in the present can remind you of that.
9. You’ll Embrace Your Humanness
We tend to beat ourselves up for every little thing. For every word, action, mistake and choice. That’s not healthy. Once you embrace being human, you’ll start to be more forgiving of yourself, making you happier and healthier. Holding onto negative thoughts about yourself leaves a mark on your heart and heaviness over your world. It creates a burden that you carry around. It’s like going through life with a 200-pound weight stuck to your back.
10. Living in the Moment Allows You to Heal
When you’re scattered and unfocused, it’s hard to allow yourself to heal. You’re worried about everyone and everything else around you instead of focusing on fixing your issue. If you made a mistake, running away from it won’t fix it. However, living in the present forces you to deal with any situation and get past it. You’ll be able to move on faster and get back to a healthier, happier life.
You Have the Power
You have the power inside of you to live in the moment and become healthier and happier. With these tips, you’ll soon feel lighter, and every day will be better and better. All you have to do is develop a healthy routine that works for you and stick to it. Here’s to health and happiness!