How to become Happy in the Present Moment
Posted On March 16, 2019
The basic nature of the mind is to dwell in the past, to worry about the future, or both, to become a victim of time. Our routine, our habit is to be off in our heads somewhere milling over negativity and struggles of the past or becoming anxious of the future.
So how do we learn to be happy in the present moment? By learning how to be ‘mindful’. Being mindful is the act of BEING HERE IN THIS VERY MOMENT. It is a mental state of being, a state that assists us in finding contentment and understanding in ourselves, which frees us to experience life more fully.
Sounds great right? And it is, however for most of us, it is nearly impossible to stay in this state for any real length of time.
We are all victims of time to some degree, because it has become the accepted state of norm in our fast-paced, highly motivated and highly-strung society. For this reason it is important that we understand that to not be present is to be torn between two worlds, the past and the future, neither of which exist.
If you allow yourself to be a victim of time – a victim of the past and a slave to a future that is yet to unravel – you will carry with you a sense of unease. You will be susceptible to stress, agitation and feel generally uncomfortable in life.
Benefits of living in the present moment
Those who live in the moment tend to be:
Not being present may be Stealing your time
What do I mean? Well have you even been on a vacation or doing something you really enjoyed but had the thought “I don’t want this to be over” or “this is so much fun but it will soon be over, and I will be back at work.”
I recently went to Japan for two amazing weeks with a friend, hitting the snow slopes for days on end of snowboarding. What a blast! When I was sitting down with my friend, towards the end of the trip, he would often say to me, that he was really enjoying himself and that he wasn’t looking forward to going back to work.
In those moments, when I was listening to him, I thought about us returning back home and continuing our daily lives. I realized that the present moment was being stolen from us. The moment of enjoying hot chocolate while looking out towards the snowy mountains. I turned to my friend, and said “This is the only moment we actually have, that all occasions will naturally come to a close. Instead of thinking of what will come and how it makes you feel, breath in the presence, and allow this beautiful moment to engulf you.”
Have you ever noticed, how depression lives in the past and anxiety lives in the future? When you think back to the moments when you felt either of these, what had happened in the past that makes you feel depressed or what where you thinking about in the future that made you anxious? Alternately, calmness and peace of mind live in the present.
When our thoughts are either in the future or the past, rather than being in the moment and enjoying what we are doing. We allow our mind to take away the precious moments of the experience by focusing so heavily on what’s to come or what has been, we miss out on what’s in front of us.
By being present in the moment (and savoring the time leading up), you obtain a higher level of satisfaction, allowing yourself to have a better experience, and feel more fulfilled as the event has not come and gone as quickly.
- Are you so distracted by thoughts of going back to work on Monday, that you spoil the time spent with your children on the weekend?
- Are you so caught up in the regrets of the past the you prevent opportunities to blossom in the present?
Steps to become Present
Reminder: Say to your self often – ‘Stay where my body is’
- Get Grounded: Feeling connected or feeling solid is important to feeling strong and centered. Try this exercise: sit upright in a comfortable but firm chair. The point is to feel alert and aware of your body. As you sit in the chair, notice your buttocks pressing against the chair. Plant your feet on the floor, wiggle your toes. Put your hands on your thighs. Notice how strong you feel. Try this standing up. Move your feet about shoulder width. Wiggle you toes. Feel yourself solid on the floor or ground. Now pay attention to the world immediately around you. Things look a bit different when you are coming from a place of strength and connection, don’t they?
- Get Centered: This means paying attention to the immediate experience of the moment. A quick way to do this is to follow your breath. Let’s try it! Get grounded first using the above step. Then close your eyes. Bring your attention to your breath. You may notice it in your belly as it moves with each inhale and exhale. Or you may notice it in your chest as you breathe. Or you may notice it in your nostrils as you feel the air move in and out. Just follow your breath. Don’t try to make it change. Just simply listen and feel the way it is.
During this time of attending to your breath, you may notice thoughts of all sorts running through your mind. In particular you may notice thoughts saying, “this is silly” or “I can’t do this”. You may find your thoughts wandering to a task you need to do or what you are having for dinner. These kinds of thoughts are natural. The trick is to not get distracted by them. Just acknowledge them, let them float away like clouds in the sky. and bring your attention back to your breath. Sit like this for a minute
3. Reverse the order you do things: Allow yourself to enter beginner’s mindset by reversing the order in which you do everyday activities. For example: reverse the way you towel off or get dressed in a different order, do something different with your makeup or have breakfast before you get ready for work. This will help your mind to stay out of its all-too-common auto settings and instead help it to stay present in the moment of the task.
4. Write with the opposite hand: Use the mouse with the opposite hand or brush your hair with the opposite hand. You’ll laugh at just how messy your handwriting suddenly becomes, and how you really have to focus on making your letters NOT look like potatoes!
5. Pay attention to the full experience of walking: Take a moment to focus on the sensations, the small and large movements of your body while your walking, how objects seem to move past you, the sensation of the sun or rain and wind on your skin, the sounds that enter your ears.
I personally love using Yoga first thing in the morning to get my body stretched, warmed up and energized for the day ahead but also to get my mind to focus on the present moment. If you have tried Yoga or perform Yoga often you may have noticed, just how much it will bring you into the present moment, to focus on your breathing and tuning into your body. Allowing your Chi (energy) to flow.
Even after a hard day at work or in the office, I love to do a Yoga session in the evening. As I work through my session I feel the stress and thoughts from the day, melt away. My body and mind become connected once more, and I am once again in the present moment and it feels amazing. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Try it for yourself and see!
Allowing our thoughts to wonder at times, is a good thing!
Being distracted by our thoughts doesn’t mean they’re always unproductive. It is natural to spend moments of thought in the past or in daydreams of the future. There may be times when we need to think things through – perhaps a business decision, retirement planning, organizing the day ahead or how to communicate our feelings and desires with loved ones.
There are times, when I allow to mind to wonder where ever it chooses, to daydream. These moments are when I am writing in my manifestation journal or when I am out side in the garden, horse riding or walking through the forest. These are the moments when I come up new ideas for my business, or how to make a task easier, how to connect with my horse more.
If we think that being in the moment means regarding feelings as distractions, then we’re no longer in the moment. Mindfulness is the practice of being present with what is, not allowing our feelings to take control but to feel into them for the reasons as to why they are there and allow them to be.
If our lives become dictated by thoughts and emotions attached to past events and potential future outcomes, standing peacefully rooted in the present becomes increasingly rare.
When we are not embracing the present moment, we lose the beauty and magic that moment had to offer because we are to busy rushing on to the next moment…. And the next…. And the next….. Or we are stuck in a past moment…. Or we alternate between past and future without giving any attention to the present.
Aim to be fully present with everything you do. It is a fundamental shift from doing five things simultaneously to doing five things in sequence. Instead of giving 20% of your attention to five things at once, you give 100% of your attention to five things in a row.
Even in the slower moments of life, being present in the moment will increase your appreciation and relaxation in them, as opposed to anxiety or depression if your mind is focused elsewhere in time.
Time is a human concept, an illusion. The watch on your wrist and the clock on the wall mean nothing to Mother Nature. To her life is one evolving moment. The past doesn’t exist and neither does the future. The only true reference point we have to this moment in time, is a feeling of presence, of seeing the world through these eyes.
The law of prosperity states that “two things cannot take up the same space, so we must let go of something before the new can enter.” In other words, there must be a space for incoming gifts before you are available to receive.
Today I know I am not loosing anything. I know that I am, in fact, gaining everything I never knew I always had. As I rise up into a new level of consciousness, what is no longer in alignment with it or my highest good must fall away.
There is great freedom, wonder, and mystery in the present, look around, ask, seek and discover that which is waiting to be discovered by you and expressed through you.
Whatever is showing up in your current experience is meant to be there or else it wouldn’t be.
This helps me put my life into perspective and allows me to move from a victim place to the victor in every situation. Sometimes we just need to wash ourselves clean of everything we have ever learned or think we know, and just surrender to the guidance of a power greater than ourselves.
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