Head to the spiritual side of the internet anytime and you’ll be quickly greeted by write-ups and videos aplenty talking about living in the present. Sounds quite simple, doesn’t it? Nothing laced with scientific terms or something that only the enlightened can understand. Yet, many of us fail to realize its actual essence or real meaning. Like almost every other person, understanding what “living in the present” means was quite a journey for me and there are still miles to go. But I do feel that I have finally grasped a big chunk of it.
I’ve understood that to be “here and now”, you don’t have to detach yourself from everyone and everything around you. You can still indulge in social media, earn money and make purchases, watch television or movies, get into relationships and maintain the ones you already have, etc. However, what this concept really asks of you is to let go of what has happened, stop worrying too much about what’s going to happen and enjoy where you currently stand to the fullest.
Now, you must be wondering why exactly you need to do that. Well, have you ever caught yourself over-thinking about something like an embarrassing event from your past, wishing things had been a certain way or how you should have responded to something differently? Do you spend a lot of time imagining scary scenarios about the future and worry often? If yes, then know that these are the very reasons why you need to start living in the present.
But how can one do that? Do you need to take up yoga? Do you have to practice renunciation by abandoning normal life and running to a secluded forest to meditate? Well, the yoga part – yes! But you don’t have to become a hermit to start living in the present (phew!) because there are some fun ways to do that (yay!). Check them out below:
BE GRATEFUL FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE
Many people find it hard to believe that being thankful about things can help you live in the present and nurture a better, more positive and productive attitude towards life. But the truth is that gratitude really can do that. Let me explain – when you are thankful for what you already have, you’ll start admiring and valuing it more. This appreciation and valuing will make you feel lucky and satisfied with your current life. And when you’ll be satisfied with your current life, you’ll feel happier, relaxed and more observant of it. Hence, you’ll get more and more in touch with your present. Now, when are you planning to start writing in your gratitude journal? 😛
SPEND TIME IN NATURE
Honestly, I feel like spending time in nature should be globally approved as the primary medicine for every health, mental and social issue on the planet :D. The moment you realize that you are being overpowered by negative thoughts, take it as your cue to connect with nature. Walk barefoot on grass, admire all the vegetation you can lay your eyes on, observe the delicate beauty of butterflies, the unique flutter of birds, pretty flowers and leaves, observe the vast sky – basically what we used to do as kids. Choose your favourite locations – beaches, lakes, gardens, woods, mountains, fields, whatever floats your boat. Take deep breaths and take it all in – visually and audibly. In no time, you wouldn’t even remember what you were worrying about earlier.
ENJOY MUSIC, SINGING AND DANCING
Music is nothing but fuel for our souls. Isn’t it magical how a beautiful song or piece of music can give you goosebumps? Good music can not only change your mood but also teach you about life with well written lyrics. This is exactly why it can help in distracting you from our unnecessary thoughts and bring us back to the ground – the present. Go ahead and take a long drive with your favourite music on, put on a dance number and shake all your worries off, sing and let it all out in a karaoke session with your pals. Let all those beautiful notes, hums, beats and strums seep in and replace negative thoughts with pleasure. An all time favourite of mine, here’s a song suggestion to help you get going – Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd:
EAT BETTER, MEDITATE AND WORK-OUT
I believe most of us understand how a sluggish and inactive life results in adverse health issues. And as a domino effect, bad health invites negativity from all directions. We become lazy, pessimistic about everything and feel exhausted all the time. To combat these issues, one undoubtedly has to work on improving their lifestyle. If we eat better, exercise and maintain our mental health; our body gets all the nourishment and activity it needs in order to work in the best way. Exercise also helps maintain the production of feel-good hormones like endorphins and serotonin that help keep negative thoughts at bay.
INDULGE IN YOUR FAVOURITE HOBBIES
Do you remember the last time you indulged in a hobby? How did you feel during and after that activity? Happy? Satisfied? Forgot how much time had passed? Well, that is all you need to feel in order to enjoy your present life. Hobbies are probably the best stress-busters one could ask for. They help us kill time, keep us entertained and protect us from uninvited negative thoughts. So, whether it’s painting, sewing, singing, gardening, cooking, trekking, reading books or any other possible activity that you like; you now have another good reason to do it often.
SPEND TIME WITH PETS
Aah, those four legged furballs! Pets are certainly godsend. Their love is pure, unfiltered and unconditional. Their innocence can melt anyone’s heart in an instant. All of us require at least a wee bit of selfless-love that helps us feel confident, needed and comfortable in our skin. And who better to give it to us but an adorable pet? Their playful nature, curiosity, perpetual energy, positivity, warm cuddles and cute antics suck all the stress right out of us. Spending time and taking care of these unadulterated souls nourish our hearts and minds in unmatched ways and of course, leave no time to think of the past and future.
STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR LOVED ONES
If you are lucky enough to have a loving family and supportive friends, don’t let them go! Spending time with people who have been a huge and beautiful part of our lives helps us stay grounded. Peppered with family jokes and bouts of laughter, unending conversations, “better-than-any-restaurant” lunches and dinners, family games and so much more; time spent with loved ones taps on the nurturing and pleasurable side of our lives. No wonder we feel relaxed, happy and blissful when we are with them. Suffice to say, these connections and relations also help us enjoy our present life and forget about any worries that could be haunting us.
So, whenever you find yourself drifting away from the present and towards tormenting memories of the past or monstrous worries of the future, take a deep breath and follow at least one of these ways to help you focus on the present. But I’m sure these are just a few amongst many. Do you know some? Share with us in the comment section below!