One thing I’ve learned about being too wrapped up in the past and/or future is that it conjures up emotions of guilt and anxiety, respectively. Overthinking about something in the past can lead to feelings of resentment and guilt; whilst being too focused on the future is a breeding ground to invoke anxiety or fear. It’s self-destructive yet startling to see the number of people who live this way.
I’ll refrain from throwing around overused quotes such as Live for the now or You might not get tomorrow because whilst true there overuse waters down their meaning, in my opinion …But being absentminded isn’t productive and certainly doesn’t lead to living a fruitful life full of happy thoughts.
Living in the moment and being focused on the now stems from teachings of mindfulness, and if there was one book I would recommend Eckhart Tolle: The Power of Now. This book really changed my thinking around creating a more mindful approach to my everyday life.
Increase your joy for things happening around you in the moment, find the extraordinary in the ordinary and simply starting to love life for what it is – and not resenting it for what it’s not. It’s the idea of living a fulfilling week rather than waiting for the weekend.
Increase your self belief Doing rather than thinking about doing is much more fruitful for squashing those nagging feelings of self-doubt. People often worry about things in the future because they waste too much time worrying about what could happen.
Learn to love what is by letting go of what was and not focussing too much on external goals. The more time spent ruminating over something that caused grief, the longer the time spent wrapped up in a cycle of negative thinking. On the other hand, focusing too much energy on end goals stops you appreciating life now. Goals are great to have but don’t kid yourself into thinking that you will suddenly become happier when you lose that weight, buy that car or land that job. When you get there, if your mindset is still future focussed you’ll feel a sense of dissatisfaction and end up simply yearning for the next goal. Sure as hell not reaping the rewards of all of the work paying off.
My top tips for focussing on the now:
- Practice gratitude: what are you grateful for?Practice being grateful. Gratitude has been shown to boost feelings of happiness. Simply start your day by taking note of something that you’re greatful for, be thankful or text somebody you appreciate. It needs to be genuine though and not forced. It could literally just be that the sun is shining. You’ll start to appreciate things in your life a lot more and actually start to feel grateful for who you are and the great people you have in your life.
- Pay attention: to other people, to your thoughts, to your feelings and the environmentDelete the crap from social media. Seriously stop wasting your time scrolling(!). Life is busy and those hours spent absent-mindedly scrolling Instagram or Facebook add up. Imagine actually using that time on being productive or taking care of yourself, instead of investing time reading about what everybody else is doing.
- Be mindful. Do you notice what’s going on around you? Do you look up when you’re walking? Smell the fresh air? Or put your phone away when you’re in a meeting/with friends?(!) The amount of time I see groups of people looking at their phones rather than chatting to each other in cafes is startling! I notice this because I look around 🙂
- Smile at strangers. Simple but effective. We are social beings, so make eye contact with people. Connect. In real life.
- Eat slowly and taste your food! It takes your brain 10 minutes longer than your stomach to notice feeling full.
- Check in to your body. Meditate and be mindful of your body, move with purpose, notice areas of tension and learn to slow down.
- Breathe. Deeply.
- Practice acceptanceThe 5 minute rule. Something that’s caused grief? Give yourself 5 minutes to be upset and have a pity party, then tell yourself no more!
- Stop worrying. A simple tip. If it will not matter 5 years from now do not waste for that 5 minutes worrying about it.
- Be spontaneous Remember the last time you were spontaneous, how great did you feel? You don’t need to go booking a crazy spur of the moment trip (especially not if you’re using a credit card) but stop, breathe and ask yourself what would make you feel happiest in that moment.
- Stop waiting for the weekend. It’s great to have things to look forward to but don’t focus all your energy and effort waiting that you forget to appreciate what you’re doing right now.
Hope this brings a little positivity to your day! x