We never seem to be able to actually live in the now, as we are always fretting over past events or thinking about the future…. It’s high time we embrace LIFE here and now. Let’s find out how to do that!
When I am talking about living in the now, I can already hear the comment: “Well of course I live in the now, when else could I be living?” But think about it for moment.
Are you really living now?
Or are you thinking about yesterday, last week, last year, …? Are you re-living past experiences?
Or are you thinking about tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next year? Or even about what will be 10 years from now? Maybe you are worrying about:
how your life will look like, a year from now.
how the life of your children will look like in 5 years’ time.
I know, I am a mom too, so I would be lying if I say I am not worrying from time to time.
BUT, where does it get me? What good does worrying bring? What do we gain by living in the past or by worrying about the future?
And I would go even further and say: it brings needless stress, anxiety, negative feelings, sleepless nights, unnecessary arguments.
90% of all the things we worry about, never happen! So why would we continue to spend so much energy fearing things that will never become a fact? We can actually get sick from worrying too much, from living in fear, in anxiety all the time.
So, stop it right now! Live in the present moment, enjoy this very minute! Because if you don’t, the moment is gone, forever, never to return.
Think about this for a minute: why would you continue to waste so much precious time?
Maybe you are already conscious about the fact that you worry too much, and that it brings you no joy, no answers, nothing good actually, but you don’t know how to stop.
It’s really simple but it takes some practice to create this new habit. If you are living in your head again: just say STOP!
Say it out loud if necessary. Just say ‘stop’ to yourself. Whenever you feel the anxiety creeping in, take a deep breath, say stop and come back to the here and now. Get out of that ‘worst-case-scenario’ that is spinning around in your head.
A very easy tool you can use whenever you feel your emotions taking over, is the following exercise.
Take a deep breath, focus on your surroundings and name:
5 things you can see right now
4 things you are hearing right now
3 things you can touch, and feel them
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste right now.
It’s a simple exercise to get the conscious brain actively working and by doing so, overruling your subconscious mind in order to stop the movie from playing over and over again in your head.
You’ll see that the emotions quiet down, the anxiety diminishes and you’ll feel calmer, you can breathe freely again and you’ll see more clearly.
As Lao Tzu so beautifully states:
“Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.”
That’s how you will learn to live in the now, how you will stop living in your head, how you can stop letting the present slip away, how you will learn to live your life fully here and now.
The Dalai Lama says:
“There are only 2 days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly LIVE.”
Learn to live the present moment to the fullest. First you will need help to return to the now, and exercises as mentioned before, saying ‘stop’ to yourself, breathing exercises and meditation will help you calm your mind. Whenever it gets crazy in your head again, use your conscious brain to return to the present moment. Help your body relax too because whenever you relax your body, your mind calms down, too. Train your brain*, as I’ve talked about before: you can train your mental muscles as you train your physical muscles. The more you practice, the stronger they become and the more effortlessly you can put them to work.
Practice this day after day, week after week and you’ll notice that after a few months, you will be able to easily stop your worrying. You will be able to get of that treadmill in your head as you now have learned to actively stop your thoughts from spinning around in your head. And of course, we will always feel emotions, we will always have thoughts, we will always start worrying even. BUT the main thing is, now you know how to stop the emotions taking over your state of mind, now you are able to return to the present moment, now you are able to stop worrying, to stop fretting, and you’ll finally be able to live fully, to enjoy your life as it is!
You’ll realize that all the craziness in your head never helped you anyway!
You’ll realize that if you do not live now, your life will have passed by you without you actually having enjoyed every moment of it.
As Eckhart Tolle says:
“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.
Work with it, not against it.”
Discover, observe, look at what is right in front of you and you’ll see how beautiful the world is. Learn to see, and enjoy it!!
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*’The trouble is, it’s all up to you. The good thing is, it’s all up to you.’ Medium article by Katrien Degraeve