I have a problem.
One I have had since my teens. Hell, maybe even earlier.
I live in the past. The majority of my thoughts are ones focused on my childhood, the things that have happened to me. My youth, the friends I lost and why. The relationships I had and what happened within them, the way I acted (or didn't act). My feelings. My actions. My possible "What if" futures.
All of it is completely useless now.
I know full well that unless I start being more PRESENT I won't get anywhere in life. I will stay perpetually stuck in the past. Which leaves me no way to grow as a human being. What a great loss. Starting today I will try my hardest to drop the past. There is no beneficial aspect to living in your memories. The frustrating thing is (and I should never let it frustrate me, I know) that I was on such a good path to being more present. Then slowly I started drifting backwards. The past has a very strong undertow. When you aren't being mindful of your thoughts they can suck you in very quickly. If you are constantly looking over shoulder you will miss everything that is going on in front of you.
It's time to turn my damn head around.
8 Ways to be more Present.
1. Focus on what’s right in front of you.
Or around you. Or on you. Use your senses. Just look at what’s right in front of you right now. Listen to the sounds around you. Feel the fabric of your clothes and focus on how they feel. For the last three days the dark winter seems to have left us here in Sweden. It’s been clear skies and sunshine all the time. So I have been using the unexpected light and warmth of the sunshine on my skin to reconnect with the moment.
2. Focus on your breathing.
Take a couple of dozen belly breaths and just focus your mind on your inhaling and exhaling. This will align you with the present moment once again. You can learn more about belly breathing in this article.
3. Focus on your inner body.
This is a bit similar to focusing on your breathing. In both examples you focus on what’s inside you rather than the outside. What is the inner body? Well, I guess you could say it is energy inside of your body. How your body feels from the inside.
A practical way to do this just to focus on your hand. To just put your focus there and feel how the hand feels to you and how the energy is flowing through it. Yeah, this suggestion may sound a bit weird to the mind. But if you actually try it a few times you’ll probably find that inner energy within your hand.
4. Pick up the vibe from present people.
If you know someone that is more present than most people then you can pick his/her vibe of presence (just like you can pick up positivity or enthusiasm from people). If you don’t know someone like that I recommend listening to/watching cds/dvds by Eckhart Tolle. His books work too. But cds/dvds are better than books for picking up someone’s vibe since the biggest part of communication is voice tonality and body language.
5. Surrender to the emotion that is already there.
It’s easy to get stuck in a loop of old memories. You may want to move away from them but there is a feeling there that brings them back over and over. So you need to decrease the power that feeling has over you. And you don’t do it by fighting it. You do it by surrendering to it.
The feeling is a loop within your mind that you are feeding with more energy by resisting it. When you accept the feeling then you stop feeding it and it vanishes.
Here’s how you it:
Say yes to the feeling.
Surrender and let it in. Observe the feeling in your mind and body without labelling or judging it. If you let it in – for me the feeling then often seems to physically locate itself to the middle of my chest – and just observe it for maybe a minute or two the feeling just vanishes.
As you can see, this way is similar to ones above. They are all about observing.
6. See things as for the first time.
This one pretty similar to the first way. But it can be useful when you have a hard time just observing your surroundings.
That’s when you can look at things as for the first time. Imagine it like that, take that role. Like someone who has never experienced this before. Like a child or someone who has never been here before. I like this one and I have been doing it from time to time for years (although back then I didn’t really understand why it felts nice when I did it).
Note: These last two ways are certainly not the best ways to reconnect with the moment and I’m not really recommending them. They aren’t that healthy (especially in the long run). But they work to some degree. It’s up to you if you want to try them.
7. Punch your leg.
Try punching your leg. Or pinching your arm. Or have someone else do it. And focus on that sensation to quickly bring yourself back to the moment.
8. Drink a beer or two.
It’s Friday so I thought I’d include this one. This is probably the most common way to connect to the moment (at least over the weekend). You may have said or heard that it’s nice to grab a beer or two after work to “take edge off”. What is this edge? I think it’s the clutter of thoughts that can run around in your mind after a long and busy week at work.
The alcohol quiets down these thoughts (and the decreases the number of thoughts in your mind). And you feel more relaxed. You don’t think about the past or future as much. You just enjoy your beer and the company. You enjoy the moment.
Borrowed from: The Positivity Blog