It’s easy to anticipate the future, even if it’s just a few hours in the future. Many of our lives are filled with responsibilities, stressors, and worries. Being open to the present moment is so important to our mental health because it allows us to live in the present without being swept into our anxieties of the future.
What it Means to Be Open to the Present Moment
The simple idea of being present is not so simple after all. Life unfolds in each present moment at a time, but our thoughts tend to stray to different moments of life both in the past and in the future. Being open to the present moment can also be referred to as living in the present. This means keeping your thoughts in line with your physical being. This allows you to seize and be grateful for every moment of your life, even if it’s not necessarily exciting or even positive. It can be a tool to better deal with difficult moments, and to control your reactions and emotions. Use the following tips to help open yourself up to the present moment. The very first step is to breathe.
Pay Attention to Details
When you find yourself drifting off into the past or the future, start to pay attention to the physical details around you. What do you smell? See? Hear? Taste? Use your physical senses to bring your mind back to the present moment. This practice done over time will become more natural. Practicing bringing your mind to physical details is like training yourself to better control what you’re thinking about. This translates into better focus and the ability to stay present.
Remind Yourself of The Things You Can and Cannot Control
This is particularly useful in difficult moments. Oftentimes when things go “wrong” our initial reaction is to try to control the things that are out of our control. The only things we can truly control are our actions and our reactions. In order to bring yourself back to the present moment, remind yourself that you cannot control things that are outside of you. The more you acknowledge this, the closer you’ll get to accepting it, and soon you will be less likely to try to control the uncontrollable.
Be Slow to React
One reason why breathing and paying attention to your breath is so powerful is that it keeps you from reacting. Our emotional reactions often lead to impulse decisions about the future, so learning to not react based on thoughts or emotions can keep you from those potentially negative decisions. Take a moment to breathe, and take note of the thoughts that are coming in without reacting to them. Simply acknowledge them and know that you are not your thoughts.
Accept your thoughts for what they are and know that you do not need to react to every incoming thought or emotion. Many times our thoughts are out of line with what is happening in the present moment.
By conquering the present moment you are taking a step toward truly conquering your life. Join us and Jasmine Brett Stringer for the tools and insight to take those first steps.