Do you sometimes wonder why your mind drifts away, even while conversing with someone?
This happens to all of us, and one of the reasons is the lack of focus and not knowing how to stay in the present moment.
But what do we mean by staying in the present moment?
Being in the present means that we are here, our mind is here and what we are focusing on is the present. Staying in the present moment refers to the absence of rumination about the past or future.
We often get carried away with our thoughts and stop focusing on the present; this can negatively affect our mental health by increasing stress and making us more anxious.
This points out that we need to be more grounded in the present, which can help us focus more and live a life with good mental health.
Why is living in the moment difficult?
Learning how to be in the present moment is necessary, but adapting it can be pretty challenging.
In this world where all of us constantly think about the challenges in the future and even dwell in the past, it becomes a lot of work to stay in the present. There are lots of factors in our lives that make it difficult for us to live in the moment; some of the factors include:
- excessive use of our phones,
- ruminating about the past,
- uncertainty factor due to living in the moment,
- constantly worrying about the future, etc.
Why is it important to know how to live more in the present moment?
We rarely enjoy the present moment as our mind gets trapped with different types of emotions related to past events or overthinking regarding the potential future outcomes. If past or future thoughts continue to reside, we will surely have a sense of unease that might predispose us to stress, anxiety, and unhappiness, affecting our mental health.
So, it is essential to living in the present moment. Living in the present helps us learn how to be happy and at peace, which are the key elements of our well-being. Listed below are some reasons why everyone should prefer living in the present moment:
- It makes us more productive
You can become more productive if you constantly focus on your work without distractions and get engaged in your task. Once you are in your zone and start working more efficiently, everything seems easier, and the work and ideas become more effortless. Engaging yourself in the present moment and enjoying your work without getting distracted is necessary.
The moment we live right now helps us appreciate every small detail about our world. We can enjoy anything we do and become more aware of all the happenings. Those things that are boring and hectic, like housework, become therapeutic when we get involved in it with all our senses. We become grateful for everything that we have in our life.
- It helps us in making better choices
Suppose you are stuck in a situation where you must decide soon. For determining, it is essential that we can assess the situation in the present scenario more clearly. Living in the present keeps us happy and healthy, even calming our minds to make rational decisions. So, we can start making better choices once we live in the present.
- It helps us build a better mental health
Mindfulness is the key to leading a healthy and happy life by helping you fight anxiety, depression, and future workload stress. Mindfulness reduces your rumination and keeps you more connected to yourself and everything around you.
How To Stay In The Present Moment
Keeping yourself grounded in the present has become a necessity in this hectic world, and most of us don’t know how to live in the present; here, we have listed down some methods to help you start the process.
1. Focus on your body
The first way how to be in the present moment is by gathering your focus on your body. Be more in tune with all the physical sensations that you feel through your body in the present. Also, try listening to your body’s needs and taking care of them.
Let the world pass by you, but don’t lose your focus on your own skin. Try gathering your focus from head to toe and silently listen to your body.
2. Start your day properly!
All of us are in a constant state of hurry in life sometimes; instead of waking up in a dire state and springing out of bed, why not take some time to yourself after waking up? Take some deep breaths and try to focus on yourself and your surroundings.
Take a few minutes off your morning schedule and practice mindfulness. This can help you learn how to stay in the present moment.
3. Perform a mindful body scan
One of the most beneficial mindfulness exercises you can do is the body scan, which can motivate you to learn how to live in the present moment.
- Lie on your back, completely still, and face your palm towards the sky.
- Try some deep breathing exercises to make yourself aware of your body.
- Be aware of your body; try concentrating on how your clothes feel against your body and how small thing in contact with you makes you feel.
- Try focusing on the body parts that feel sore.
- Try gathering focus on every part of your body, from toes to head.
4. Write a journal
Journaling is a great technique to learn how to stay in the present moment and is also one of the most preferred mental health activities.
American author Julia Cameron performs one of the journaling techniques called “Morning Pages.”
Before heading out to your work zone, take out few minutes to open your journal and start writing. There is no incorrect way to do morning pages. All you need to do is write three journal pages; without thinking a lot, note whatever crosses your mind.
This is just one way of journaling; you can opt for various other techniques, including journal prompts and others,
5. Start single-tasking everything
When you are multi-tasking, you might get easily exhausted, affecting your overall performance and work quality.
Single-tasking helps you get more work done effectively. This can make it easier for you in focusing on yourself and be more present. Try implementing single-tasking in your life, not just while working, but also while doing small things like, if you are watching TV, focus on the TV instead of using your phone simultaneously.
6. Focus on your breath
Maintaining focus and controlling your breath is one of the key components of meditation which helps you learn how to stay in the present moment.
Try gathering your entire focus on how you breathe and doing that while closing your eyes and sitting in the lotus position for better focus. With every breath, feel the air coming into your body and the air going out. Better focus and mindfulness can also help calm your mind and make you feel at peace.
7. Keep your focus on what’s in front of you
Most of us tend to drift away while talking to someone or even while reading or watching something.
Try focusing on what’s happening before you rather than drifting away into a fantasy world. Try focusing on the person’s eyes and repeating what they are saying so as not to lose focus on the task at hand. This habit can help you focus on the moment right in front of you.
8. Practice mindful meditation
Mindful meditation is one of the most preferred ways not just to learn how to stay in the present moment but also to become more grateful, maintain peace of mind, and manage anger.
Meditation is widely used in mental health development activities. It helps increase mindfulness by increasing focus and calmness in us. Take some time from your busy schedule and try meditating; you can try focusing on the word “Present” or “Focus” while meditating.
9. Spend some time in the nature
Spending some time out in the presence of nature’s beauty is one of the ways you can effectively learn how to stay in the moment.
Going for a walk amidst the greenery helps you build a better focus on your life, and along with that, walking helps reduce your stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins. It’s not important how long you walk, it can be for just 10 to 15 minutes, but still, it can help you build focus.
10. Reduce your input
Sometimes we overburden ourselves with a lot of work and distribute our focus on a million things. Reducing your input can be a helpful tool in cases like these.
Instead of checking your emails or social media the moment you wake up, try turning down your input and focusing on what is happening around you. Even while working, don’t overwork yourself; try to keep your mind clutter-free. This habit might help you become mindful in your daily life.
11. Try chanting mantras
Chanting mantras are used widely as a part of meditation to drive your focus and learn how to stay in the present moment. You can chant multiple mantras, as every culture and place has mantras in its own language.
Try sitting in the lotus pose and chant your mantra. This simple procedure helps calm your mind, reduces stress and anxiety, helps declutter your mind, and drives your focus to the present moment.
12. Try doing yoga
One of the many great tools to ground yourself is yoga!
Yoga is one of the most versatile exercises with hundreds of benefits. This helps people who are going through depression and other mental health illnesses. Yoga also helps you feel yourself and your body and enables you to connect them to the present. Yoga also helps you learn how to be in the present moment by focusing your breath and mind.
There are many yoga poses you can go through; even if you are new to yoga, there are some easy yoga poses like the Sukhasana, Vajrasana, and others that can help you start.
13. Enjoy where you are right now
Every one of us wishes to build a better future, and that’s not wrong, but in the process of building your future, don’t break down your present.
According to Eckhart Tolle, “Waiting is a state of mind more than it is a situation that we find ourselves in,” which means that, whenever we aim to achieve something in life, we feel like we have to wait for it, but on the contrary, it entirely depends on what we want to perceive.
For example, ask a person sitting at the bus stand, what they are doing. Most of the time, they will answer that they are waiting for the bus, but instead, what if they answer that they are sitting and breathing the fresh air and observing what is happening around them? That’s where you can understand the difference between two perceptions and how it affects our life.
Just by changing your mindset, you can start appreciating the present more. To know how we can be in the present, first, we need to appreciate and enjoy the present as it is.
In this world filled with tight and hectic schedules, we often forget to give ourselves a break and live in the moment and enjoy it, and that is one of the ways how we are degrading our mental health. Knowing how to stay in the present moment has become an important goal for developing our mental health.
As said by Buddha, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
What matter most is are you living your life or just passing by. Once you start practicing these methods mentioned above, you can slowly yet effectively notice the difference between yourself and your life.
Along with being in the present, we need to focus on learning how to be grateful in life. Here are some gratitude apps that can help you in your process.
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