Instead of running yourself ragged worrying about tomorrow, this month, harness the power of the present.
Let People Buoy you Up
Having a blue day? Rather than brooding alone, seek out people. ‘Part of being happy moment by moment is taking charge of your mood, and you can do this just by making the effort to interact with someone,’ says Julie Clark Robinson in Live in the Moment (Beyond Words). Whether it’s an old friend, the cashier at the supermarket or a stranger on a bus, people make the difference between a day that’s full and one that’s melancholy, she says.
Align your Body with Today
Physiotherapist and mind-body practitioner Sue Fuller-Good advocates focusing on your breathing to bring you into the present moment. ‘If you’re always thinking about the future, and what’s coming, your body will manifest that. Your posture may be tilted forward, with your face poking out. By changing your body posture, you are changing your mind, because the two are interlinked,’ she says. ‘Try to keep your attention on this minute. For example, when you’re in traffic, thinking anxiously about where you’re going and whether you’re going to be late won’t get you there any faster. Rather, living “forward” will make you oblivious to the opportunities available now. You can’t control the future, and it often doesn’t turn out like we plan. The one moment you can control is right now.’
Live Each Day to the Full
Being aware of our day-to-day, minute-by-minute usage of time can help to keep us firmly fixed in the now, rather than focused anxiously in the future or regretfully in the past. Being really aware, rather than rushing through you life, means noticing the small stuff.
‘I’ve set my sports watch to beep at me every hour,’ says Life Strategies’ Cris Baker. ‘I use this as a reminder to notice what’s happening right at that moment. I stop whatever I’m doing and take a few seconds to enjoy whatever is happening: the sun, the rain, the clouds or the blue sky, the people passing or the quiet when people aren’t passing. When there is a magnificent sunset, I stop to watch it. This rarely delays me by more than a few minutes, and if I am late, I’m late. Life is too short to worry about what isn’t. I prefer to enjoy what is.’
Stop the Worrying
Meditation is one of the best ways to learn to limit interfering thoughts. And everyone can do it. Just five minutes a day of sitting quietly listening to your breathing, trying to clear your mind of runaway thoughts, and simply acknowledging what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, is a great way to focus on the now.
‘Generally, when we think about the past or the future, we are either pleased or unhappy about it. But following random thoughts is giving away our power to the external event’ says Baker. ‘Rather let it be, and instead think about the thoughts you want to spend your time exploring. So any time we’re in the future or the past, we’re missing life; we’re missing the present,’ he says. ‘When I find myself worrying, I find solace in this quote by Mark Twain:’ ‘I am a very old man and have suffered a great many misfortunes, most of which never happened,’ says Baker.
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