Do you spend more time worrying about the past and future than you do enjoying the present? Many of us do.
The ‘should haves’ of yesterday and ‘what ifs’ of tomorrow can make it hard to live in the moment. Maybe you get distracted dissecting past conversations or ruminating over regrets. Or perhaps you spend social events with friends making a mental to-do list for the weekend ahead.
Getting sucked into the past and future can cause unnecessary worry and stress, while living in the moment can help you feel more grounded and connected with yourself and everything around you.
If you’d like to learn how to be more present and make the most of now, we hope these tips help.
As a general rule of thumb, just slow down. Savour your morning coffee. Take the time to experience the textures and flavours of every meal. Stick to the speed limit on your morning commute and listen to your favourite playlist or podcast. Don’t rush through your phone calls with your mum.
Try to let go of the idea that everything needs to be done as efficiently as possible and you always need to be productive. Less urgency and more enjoyment!
Scan Your Body
How often do you check in with yourself?
Body scans are a great way to connect with how you’re feeling and pick up on any tension, anxiety, or other sensations out of the ordinary. Some people begin mindfulness meditations with a body scan, but you can check in with your body anywhere without anyone having to know about it – even at the office.
Try mentally scanning your body from head to toe to bring awareness back to the present moment and how you’re feeling right now.
Dedicate Future-Planning Time
It’s only natural to daydream about the future, and it can be helpful to plan for things ahead of time.
To find a balance and avoid having thoughts and concerns about the future spill into your daily life, try dedicating a timeslot to thinking about the future. This might involve writing down your dreams and goals for an hour each week.
Try to avoid stress and pressure by thinking about the future in a healthy and realistic way. Give yourself just enough time to plan and prepare, and then move on.
Find the Good
What better way to end the day than by focusing on the positives?
Listing the three things you were grateful for each day can not only encourage you to look for the good in every given moment, but research shows it can also boost your long-term happiness by 10%.
Practising gratitude is a great way to be present and remind yourself of all the good you’ve got going on right now.
Discover more scientifically proven benefits of gratitude.
If you’re having a hard time letting go of the past or worrying about the future, talking to a counsellor might help. You can learn about our counselling services here, or call 1300 364 277 to make an appointment in person, over the phone, or via Zoom video chat.