One thing that I worked hard on when overcoming my depression, was living in the here and now. Focusing solely on this very moment. Life can get so hectic, we rush through our days never truly experiencing what is around us. Living in the moment is one key step you can make along his path to happiness and contentment. When my depression is at it’s worst I’m focusing on the past, going over and over all the things that I’ve done wrong/bad things that have happened. When I’m feeling anxious, I’m constantly looking to the future, thinking about what could make me happy, or where I need to be to be content in my life. By focusing on what I don’t have (or perceive not to have) I’m denying all the good that is in my life RIGHT NOW. I get so wound up in my thoughts that I lose track of what is real.
There is beauty in every moment, and even through the harder moments we can experience something beautiful if we allow ourselves too.
My thinking up used to be black and white. All or nothing. Everything is absolutely fantastic or totally bloody awful. A bad moment was dark clouds and sadness. I never saw the middle ground. One moment of sadness and I would allow it to pull me all the way down. I’d focus on that, long after that moment had passed, and ignore what was going on now.
Mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic, and more secure. They have higher self-esteem and are more accepting of their own weaknesses. Anchoring awareness in the here and now reduces the kinds of impulsivity and reactivity that underlie depression, binge eating, and attention problems. Mindful people can hear negative feedback without feeling threatened. They fight less with their romantic partners and are more accommodating and less defensive. As a result, mindful couples have more satisfying relationships.
You need to learn to focus on NOW. To stop worrying about what has been, or what might be. Stop wishing for things that you don’t have and instead begin to enjoy the things that you do. Focus on what is happening in the present will keep you grounded. Savour the moments of joy that make up each day, allow them to combat the negative thoughts. Every time a negative thought pops in your mind, make yourself think of something good from that day.
That’s not to say you can’t have dreams, and a long term plan. But don’t allow yourself to get so caught up in the future that you miss out on the present.
Being mindful can increase self-control. Take the time to notice what it is that you are feeling before your reaction comes. Instead of impulsively getting angry, count to ten and take a deep breath before you react.
Living in the moment can reduce your stress levels, increase your happiness and help you focus on what it is that really matters.
Here are some tips on focusing on the present.
Stop and take a deep breath
If you’re feeling disconnected, stop what you’re doing and take a few deep belly-breaths. This will realign you with the moment you are in
Look around you
What can you see? Hear? Smell? Touch? Take a minute to look around and really notice where you are.
See for the first time
Imagine you are seeing where you are for the first time – allow yourself to notice every detail and the beauty of the moment.
Setting even simple reminders to be present can help. I like to tie a piece of yarn or string around my wrist. If I feel myself wandering, I’ll focus in on it, fiddle with it, notice how it feels in my fingers.