How can we learn to stay present? By embracing mindfulness.
Becoming more aware and rooted in the present moment can help us deal with so many of life’s challenges.
So, here’s what you need to know about how mindfulness works and how you can practice it on a daily basis.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the act of being fully in the present moment. Your mind is not in the past nor is it in the future. It is right here, right now.
And the key to being mindful is to stay present with mindfulness exercises.
Being in the moment is something that’s rare these days. We are pulled in so many directions by too much stimuli, too much responsibilities and too much hurrying.
But all this does is cause the mind to bounce between the past (“shoulda, woulda, coulda”) and the future (worry about what might happen). The result? Stress.
It’s impossible and unrealistic to be aware of everything, all the time. But it is possible to root yourself in the present moment and avoid the obsessive fear of the future.
Being able to focus and shut out distractions will make you happier and calmer. It will help you see things as they are, not as you believe them to be.
That is the basis of mindfulness training: to stay present in the moment.
The following mindfulness exercises and mindfulness training will result in a tremendous release of stress and worry, and will give you the ability to do your absolute best in any endeavor.
Sign up and download a free Omharmonics meditation audio.
How do you focus on the present and not the future?
Have you ever heard the following quote:
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, but today is a gift…. That’s why it is called present.”
This elegantly summarizes the power of being in the present moment. Focusing on the past and future is futile. All we have is the present.
Planning for the future is important, but obsessing over it is counterproductive.
So, how do you learn to focus on the present instead of the future?
By learning to cultivate the skill of mindfulness.
How Do You Stay Present In A Relationship?
When you’re in a relationship, it can be tempting to obsess over what the future might hold.
But learning to stay present can be a powerful practice that alleviates much of your fear about the future.
So, how do you stay present in a relationship? By accepting what is and embracing an attitude of gratitude.
Be grateful for what you have. Do your best to be mindful of what’s happening here and now, instead of what may potentially lie in the future.
Embrace each moment as it comes and live fully. Get into your body and stay active. Embrace the possibilities.
How Can I Stay Present Now?
Here are 10 ways to start living in the present moment today:
1. Reverse the order you do things.
Allow yourself to enter a beginner’s mindset by reversing the order in which you towel yourself off, get dressed, and put on your socks and shoes in the morning. This will help your mind to stay out of its all-too-common auto settings and instead help it to stay present in the moment of the task.
2. Write with the opposite hand.
Use the mouse with the opposite hand or brush your hair with the opposite hand. You’ll laugh at how preschool-ish your handwriting suddenly becomes, and how you really have to focus on making your letters NOT look like potatoes!
3. Reorganize your books.
Stack them in a spiral, or organize them by color.
4. Pay attention to the full experience of walking.
Take a moment to focus on the sensations, the small and large movements you make while walking, how objects seem to move past you, the temperature, the wind, etc.
5. Pay attention to the full experience of breathing.
The sounds, sensations, smells, etc. (this is a great way to get into a deep meditative state).
6. Change up your routine.
Drive a different way to work, reverse the order in which you get ready in the morning, and eat something new for breakfast. Change up your routine anytime you can.
7. Play the A-Z game.
As you walk in an urban area, try to spot all the letters of the alphabet, in order, as you walk. This works with numbers too; set an arbitrary number and count them in order (either backwards or forwards).
8. Periodically stop and smile.
Become aware of the immediate physiological response in your body. Feels great, doesn’t it?
9. Whenever you catch yourself doing something out of habit, STOP.
Start over and do it a different way. Even if it’s a destructive habit, go ahead and indulge but be VERY mindful of the process. You can choose how to make the action different — light your cigarette or pour your drink with the opposite hand. And, if it’s a destructive habit, become aware of the urge; become aware of the actions you are taking and the physiological response to the habit.
10. Take a deep breath.
While you hold it, notice and name 5 things you can see, feel, hear.
The point of all of these exercises is to get you out of your routine and habits and into the present moment.
Whenever something becomes habit, you stop being aware of it or mindful of it. In a sense this is good because otherwise your mind would become overwhelmed instantly if you were to try to stir your soup and have a conversation at the same time.
This amazing ability lets us focus on the more important things by relegating the habits to the subconscious.
However, we lose a lot of a great life experience when we stop being aware.
We lose the beauty and magic in every moment because we are always rushing on to the next moment – and the next, and the next. Or, we are stuck in a past moment and alternate between past and future without giving any attention to right now.
Omharmonics mindfulness meditation
You can use Omharmonics as a powerful mindfulness meditation. Become involved in the soundtrack and how your body is feeling while you meditate. Just these two points of focus are enough to keep your mind occupied, at least for a while.
And anytime your mind wanders, bring it back to the experience of listening to Omharmonics. You’ll notice that your mind is going to wander a lot (and persistently) in the beginning. But with training, you’ll be able to extend your present-awareness for longer and longer periods.
You can use the above exercises as mindfulness based stress reduction anytime. Some of these don’t require any extra time or effort — just present-focus.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction is the most effective way to handle stress. Better than exercise (which helps, but doesn’t last) and far, far better than any escapist activity you can think of.
There is no stress if you are not worrying about what might happen. There is no stress if you are not feeling resentment or guilt about the past.
Because in the moment, there is only happiness and peace.
Mindfulness = Happiness & Wellbeing
We hope this article has helped you in your journey to becoming more mindful. The more mindful we are, the happier we are. Why? Because happiness, as we well know, can only ever be found in the present moment.
If you searched for this article, odds are you’re feeling like now is the time to embark on a deeper journey into long-lasting happiness. And you’re in good company.
At Mindvalley we know that deep diving into your emotions and facing your blocks to happiness can feel daunting, especially if you’re transforming alone without much support.
That’s where we come in.
We hooked up with the best, most celebrated wellbeing coaches on the planet to help guide the way and provide FREE content to support all of our Mindvalley readers interested in living happier, calmer, and more mindful lives.
If you’re starting out your own mindfulness practice and are eager to have your pursuit of happiness supported in the best way, check out Mindvalley’s Top 3 Free Masterclasses For Happiness & Wellbeing next.