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Living in the Present

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

We spend much more time than necessary, thinking of the past or the future.

Reliving and going over and over in our mind what happened in our past, or worrying about how our lives will turn out. We all have pain, hurt, or events in our past we’d like to do-over. We all have dreams we hope will come to fruition. We worry and stress about the how, why, and when.

Try this instead

Focus on the present.

What if we just focused on what is happening right now, today?

Give all our attention to the task at hand, and to the people we spend our time with, in that very moment.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s healthy to vent or get worries off your chest, especially with your inner circle of people.

Our past has shaped us into the people we are today. And yes, we live today based on what we want in our future. So, some analysis of what has occurred and what is yet to be is necessary for acting in a way that helps us achieve our goal. However, overthinking can hurt our present living. Not living in the moment takes away from the people we’re with now in the present.

I, like all of you, have events in my past that have been painful. What I need to remember is that it IS in the past. I need to leave it there.

However, I believe that entertaining those thoughts for too long takes away from the present moment. There are many times, while I’m at work that I worry about my children’s health, school grades, and how I can convince them to do their chores without an argument. It can lead to oversights or missed appointments or a mistake. Sometimes I’m at lunch with a friend or on a date night and worrying about other things or other people.

They may have great advice and will often support and encourage you. All I’m suggesting is, don’t dwell. Recognize your issues and concerns, listen to help, and then change the topic. I have learned that not only does it infringe upon my time with the person I care about, but it tortures me to go over and over a bad situation. We all do it. I have worried about the bills I have to pay while “relaxing” on the beach. Not very relaxing.

Possible Solutions

Don’t dwell on it.

Yes, specific events have shaped me into the woman I am today. I’ve learned from the pain. I grew from my disappointing experiences. We can’t help but have thoughts about the people or things that hurt us.

It happens though for sure. It’s natural even. Of course, I think and worry about my loved ones, the bills I need to pay, and what my future will be, and wonder when I can go on my next vacation.

But, when I catch myself worrying about what I cannot control, it’s time to move on.

The key is to recognize the thoughts, acknowledge the situation and then let it leave your mind as quickly as it enters. It takes practice.

Think of your thoughts as clouds.

Some are dark, gray, and gloomy. Some have the silver lining of what is yet to be. Notice the thought. And let it drift off and away from your mind.

Just Breathe.

Worry consumes us.

Stop and ask yourself if you can change the situation. Can you solve the problem right now? Remember, you cannot control anything but your own actions. You cannot control any person except yourself. Then breathe.

I enjoy using a mantra with a 4-2-6 breath. As I inhale, through my nose, for four seconds, I say, “Breathe in peace.”, hold my breath for two seconds, and as I exhale through my nose, for six seconds, I tell myself, “Exhale worry.” Sometimes I change the phrase to fit my upset, like, “Breath in love. Exhale anger.” or “Breathe in confidence. Exhale doubt.”

Whatever strategy works for you is the one you should practice. In every case does truly pay off. It reduces stress and worry. Practicing mindfulness increases the feeling of happiness in that moment.

Your problems in life will still be there.

You will always have concerns.

Focus on… or better yet… enjoy the present. Soak in the person and the moment you are in at that present time.

Do yourself a favor, and allow your mind to rest, so your heart can smile.

And, go ahead… Live your best life!

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