According to a Harvard University study, 50% of people are awake and not thinking about what they are currently doing. That is fucking wild. So what are people usually thinking about? People are usually ruminating about the past or concerned about the future. Not only is this tiring for yourself, but it also cultivates unnecessary emotions and thoughts that do not serve you and creates noise in your head that will distract you from living in the present moment. I used to struggle at living in the now, especially after graduating college and taking my career and independence seriously, sometimes a bit too seriously where I would create unnecessary emotional pain for myself. Along with that, my ADHD would have me hyper focused on these thoughts which created very strong emotions and feelings that would distract me from being my best self on stream, at work, or with friends.
In this blog I am going to share with you all four practices I have been using to enter the present moment which has overall helped me TREMENDOUSLY over the course of the past few months with my mental health, life, and happiness.
PRACTICE MINDFULNESS MEDITATION
Mindfulness meditation is a training process for your brain that teaches you to slow down, let go of negative thoughts, increase your self-awareness, calm your body and your mind, and essentially be more in touch with your higher self. Techniques vary, but for the most part during mindfulness meditation your goal is to focus on your breathing, inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. When relaxing your body, observe your thoughts without attaching any feelings or emotions to them. When I begin my meditations, I always start out by focusing on my breathing, counting the number of seconds to inhale and counting the number of seconds to exhale. I use my breath as an anchor in order to stay present because no matter what sort of thoughts enter my head or any sounds I may hear outside, everything will always go back to the present moment, my breath and my lungs. Now this does not have to be something where you sit in ‘crisscross apple sauce’ with a bunch of crystals and wine glasses while u are in a robe on some special rug that you got at your local “ancient yoga spiritual store.” This can simply be done by sitting down, laying down on your back, chilling in your car or ANYWHERE in ANY POSITION that is comfortable to you. Personally, I like to lay on my back in my bed with my eyes closed during the day for 15-20 minutes and back when I worked in business-to-business sales I would meditate in my car at a parking for 10 minutes. The point is to practice this daily, and it can be hard at times, there is a lot of noise in this world that creates thoughts in our head! I recommend searching “mindfulness meditation guide” on YouTube to have on while you are mediating if you are a beginner.
PRACTICE BEING AWARE OF YOUR THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS
My current mentor in cognitive mastery and emotional ownership said in one of his podcasts how important it is to ask yourself, “How am I feeling right now?” or “What am I thinking about?”
Being able to do this is a practice that takes a lot of work, but WORTH IT once it becomes a routine. Set a recurring alarm or reminder on your phone/smart watch every 30-45 minutes to remind you to observe how you are feeling and what you are thinking about. The reason why this practice is so important because you are able to identify how you are feeling in the present moment and if your thoughts are focused on the task or event in the present or if they are focused on the past or somewhere else that may not be serving you in the present moment.
PRACTICE BEING AWARE OF WHAT YOUR BODY IS TELLING YOU
Not only it is important to observe your thoughts and emotions but it is important to observe your body as well. With all these trendy diets going around these days on social media, I feel like it is very often that people will jump into giving them a try without realizing what serves them and what does not serve them. Do you often feel extremely full after every meal? Try eating slower and having smaller portion sizes. Do you often feel very tired after eating certain foods? Maybe you need to limit that type of food. Does alcohol or smoking tobacco cause you uneasy feelings while they are in your system? It may be time to have them in moderation or quit cold turkey. The point of all this really is to be aware of what sort of things you consume that make your body feel good or not so good, and also what sort of exercises/activities make your body feel good or not so good. Even if your body does need to rest, make time to rest and do not resist it. Part of being present is being able to observe how your body feels after engaging in certain tasks/exercises and what sort of food or substances make you feel better or not so good.
PRACTICE REDUCING EXTERNAL DISTRACTIONS
This will look different depending on your life, but if studies show that 50% of people are already distracted internally, the last thing anyone needs are distractions from the external world too. Be aware of the things in life that are distracting you from living in the moment. This could be your phone notifications, calls, multi-tasking, toxic people in your life, and many more. Personally, the way I have cut back distractions from my life is by putting my phone in a completely different room while writing my blogs, silencing my phone when with friends (for the most part), and cutting off toxic people in my life that may cause emotional distractions. This will look different for everybody because at the end of the day only you know what is causing you to be distracted at being your best self at work, at creative tasks, and when spending time with others. So be aware of that shit and set it aside!
There isn’t any specific order to start mastering these four practices, but start with all of them to the best of your ability. Be aware of what is keeping you away from the present moment; because at the end of the day the past is just the past and the future is the future so why waste most of your mental energy on those parts of life taking away from the present. This will be hard if it is something you struggle with, but each day the improvements will show. Practicing being present will make you happy with your life in the long run which will positively impact your life circumstances.
If you enjoyed reading this blog do not hesitate to share this with somebody you care about or on social media. Part of self-growth and living the limitless life you want is by sharing the things you learn with others because at the end of the day we all lift each other up. Thank you for reading this and being supportive of my blogs, I wish you the best of luck in your journey of living in the present moment.