Living in the Now—Being Present
Reduce your anxiety, increase your productivity, and feel happier by learning to live in the moment.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase be present, and you may have dismissed it as something that’s not for you.
Related: Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
What does “being present” mean? It means focusing on everything that is happening at this very second. For example, If you’re in front of a computer, you’re not thinking about your vacation, your car troubles, or you’re thinking about the chair you’re sitting on, the feel of your fingers on the keyboard, your breathing, and the ambient sounds around you. Everything that is happening right now is the only thing you’re concerned with.
If the thought of being present is starting to stress you out, it’s because you’re likely used to thinking about the future or the past. For instance, if you’re sitting in a chair in a waiting room at the doctor’s office, you’re probably not thinking about the chair or the sounds around you: You’re thinking about the impending appointment and what the doctor’s going to say about that rash. This is natural. The problem is that this is also a huge cause of anxiety. If you’re thinking about things that haven’t happened yet or have already happened, you have no control over them, and that makes your body and mind panic.
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Living in the moment can be uncomfortable, and it takes practice, so don’t expect to be a master at it. To get started, here are a few helpful tips:
Yes, we know. Clearly you’ve learned how to breathe by now. But chances are, you don’t breathe mindfully. When you don’t focus on your breathing, you’re missing out on a powerful tool for lessening anxiety and living in the present. Check out these techniques to reduce anxiety, become grounded, and appreciate the world around you.
Yoga is too powerful of a tool to ignore. It incorporates breathing and stretching to train both body and mind to stay present. During your yoga class, your teacher will gently remind you to bring back a wandering mind to the present. There are dozens of different types of yoga, but all of them focus on breathing, so keep trying different classes until you find one you like.
Meditation is a surefire way to become grounded. If you’re new to meditation, it can be very awkward, but keep at it—it will become easier. For starters, try this guide to present awareness meditation. Develop consistency and you’ll notice your ability to get grounded and stay present improves with each practice.
Living in the moment is a way to improve the quality of your life, decrease your anxiety, and appreciate what’s happening around you.
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