"Don't dwell on the past. Don't worry about the future. Focus on the now, because today is a gift and that's why they call it the precious present.
Have you ever driven from one place to another and felt like you were on auto-pilot the whole way there? Have you gone to dinner with friends, but rather than interacting together, you're all scrolling through your instagram feeds?
So often, our minds run so much faster than we do. It's almost like even if our physical bodies are here on this planet, our minds are running wild somewhere else.
Present living is a simple first step to mindfulness. I, myself, struggle with this time and time again. Every so often, I use one of the following techniques to bring myself back to the present moment. Here are a few quick ways to slow your self down.
1. Meditate in peace and quiet
Pick a time in your day, usually in the morning or evening. Take time to sit down, close your eyes, and catch up with your breathing. A great first step to meditation is using an app called Headspace. Headspace provides daily guided mediations that only take 10 minutes a day. Once you get more comfortable with it, you can meditate self-guided.
2. turn your screens off, now.
Sometimes, you just need to fully unplug. Close the laptop, and put your phone on silent. Take some time away from those bright screens. We know your hands are glued to it, but get offline...now. Go on a walk around the neighborhood, or take a day to go off the grid and go hike. If your the indoor cozy type, that's okay too! Just make sure you do something complete offline for a technology detox.
3. REALLY listen to a favorite playlist
I've got a long list of playlists on my spotify and soundcloud. My music genres range anywhere from bay slappers to calming electronic vibes. Especially in the evenings, I like to unwind listening to something more ambient. I'll put on a spotify playlist called "Lush + Atmospheric" or " Lounge - Soft House" and give it a listen with my full attention. Listen to the lyrics. Listen to the instruments and sounds. Listen to how the music makes me feel at that very moment. That's it.
4. Grounding Techniques
My weekdays can especially be very busy between work, gym, chores, sleep, and then repeating it all over again. I realized that even if you take 2 minutes to full drop everything you're doing, you can use that short time wisely to bring yourself back to your core. Stop. Take deep breaths. Be aware and observe what's around you: 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you feel, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste. This technique is called grounding and its used by many individuals who are in the midst of having an anxiety attack. However, you don't have be prone to anxiety attacks to use this helpful method.
5. Get Lost in Your Flow
This one is my ultimate favorite when it comes to present living. As someone with a degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism, you must know, finding your flow is an important key towards happy living. What is that one activity that you love doing? It's an activity that takes all your focus, loses your sense of time and allows you to get your mind off everything else? This is your flow. This can look like anything from working out to painting, and everything in between. Whatever it is that steals your heart, get lost in it and do that!
I hope one or more of the above ways help you to live in the now. Remember, today is a gift, and that's why they call it the precious present. :)