How many times have you been driving in your car thinking about the laundry list of items on your to do list? How many times have you found yourself in a conversation with someone and you realize that you haven’t heard a word they’ve said because your mind has wandered off thinking about what you’re going to say next? How many times have you sat in a restaurant and looked around and saw people dining together fully immersed in their phones and not even talking?
We are so caught up in the fast pace of life that we don’t stop and smell the roses. We replay events over and over in our minds or worry about what will happen tomorrow. The truth is that we only have right now. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. Why waste it distracted by repetitive thoughts on the past or worries about the future?
Being present is enjoying the here and now. It’s being focussed on what is happening in the present moment and not allowing your thoughts to circulate and take you somewhere else. You embrace the moment you are in and are aware of what’s really important. You begin to recognize your internal and external reactions to what is happening around you.
The people who practice mindfulness and being able to focus their attention on the now benefit by having better relationships, increased productivity and creativity, are happier, calmer and more relaxed. They are in tune with their body and emotions and are able to communicate more effectively.
Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now. And that’s a revelation for some people: to realize that your life is only ever now. -Eckhart Tolle
The art of being present takes practice, but once you choose to be entered in the here and now, it will come to you naturally. Begin by staying focussed on whatever you’re doing. Pay attention to your feelings, your body, and your thoughts. If you notice that your mind begins to wander, it’s ok - acknowledge the thoughts and gently bring them back to the present. Keep doing this throughout your day and you will begin to notice that your worries begin to melt away. You will find that you are happier in whatever you are doing and appreciate each moment.
Here are some tips to practice being present:
Put your phone down. Don’t allow distractions to rob you of what is happening right now.
Listen and be present in your conversations. Really listen and be engaged.
Pay attention to what’s happening the moment. How do you feel?
Be grateful. Find the joy in what is happening in the moment.
Meditate and journal. Practicing control of your thoughts will help mindfulness become a natural habit.
Breathe. Focus on your breath will bring your thoughts back to the present.
You only ever have now. You are only guaranteed the present moment. Stop wishing it away and relish it.