Most of us spend a lot of our time either thinking about the past or thinking about the future. When someone continually bounces back and forth between thoughts of the past and thoughts of the future it creates a lot of stress on the body, so it’s no wonder that most people feel so stressed out all the time. It’s rare to be totally present in every now moment. In fact, it’s actually quite challenging to be fully present in each and every moment.
Personally, I’ve recently been worried about finances. How will I pay rent if I don’t get more work? Why aren’t things going as well as they were last year? What should I do to find more work? Who should I talk to? Where should I look? Should I have taken that job?
All of these thoughts very quickly create a swirling mess of craziness. My body tightens up. I can’t think clearly. I’m just bouncing through the world of future or past worry.
Recently I’ve also been fondly remembering college and trips I took to Europe. That leads me to wonder when I’ll next take a trip or visit my friends from college. When I find myself thinking these thoughts I relax more, but both of these examples take me out of the now. I’m simply either worried or dreaming about the past or the future.
You may wonder what can be done… 🙂
Here is a process that returns me to the present moment and allows me to again be here now:
Notice. The first thing to do is simply begin to notice your thoughts. This way you can recognize when you are somewhere else other than in the present. Don’t get mad at yourself for what you notice, simply recognize what your thoughts are doing.
- Acknowledge. Once you notice your thoughts you can acknowledge what is going on. By doing this you can begin to recognize that YOU are not your thoughts. There is something separate that is observing those other thoughts.
- Use Your Senses. Next take a moment to tap into one of your senses or each one in succession. What do you hear? Taste? Smell? Feel? See? Notice the details. By doing this you come back into the present moment.
- Feel Gratitude. Finally, find something to feel grateful for. It can be something small, but allow yourself to really tap into the feeling of gratitude.
When I’m able to take these steps, I can recognize that right now, in this moment, I do have what I need. And the stress and worry about what might or might not happen doesn’t actually help me see clearly what the best next step is in order to create greater abundance in my life. So, for the moment, I recognize my worries, acknowledge that they are separate from me, listen to the sound of a car driving by and feel grateful for the two furry companions (pictured above) who are keeping me company as I write this. They are amazing examples for how to be here now.