In part 1, we learned the importance of mindfulness and living in the present. Here, Kerry shares the techniques to living in the moment.
Learn to focus and enjoy the present
Experience and enjoy what is happening right now!RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Avoid getting trapped in thoughts of the past or the future, thoughts such as – “this is not as good as last time”, “I hope they don’t run out”, “I need to finish this quickly so I can go and do that”.
During a study, when people took a few minutes each day to actively savor something they usually hurried through—eating a meal, drinking a cup of tea, walking to the bus – they began experiencing more joy, happiness and other positive emotions, and fewer depressive symptoms.
Experiencing, enjoying and savoring what you are doing forces you into the present, so you stop worrying about things that aren’t there.
Learning to stop and breathe promotes mindfulness, it boosts your awareness of how you interpret and react to what’s going on in your mind. It increases the gap between emotional impulse and action, allowing you to respond thoughtfully rather than automatically.
Buddhists call this recognizing the spark before the flame, by doing this you can increase your self-control and regulate your behaviour.
There is no better way to bring yourself into the present moment than to focus on your breathing, you are placing your awareness on what is happening right now and propel yourself powerfully into the present moment.
Acceptance: moving towards rather than away from something
We have all experienced annoyance and pain in our lives, whether it’s the noise next door, the drill across the street, or the sudden wave of anxiety when we get up to give a speech. If we allow such things to affect us, they will distract us from the enjoyment of life.
Focussing on a problem in order to overcome it, often makes it worse
When faced with pain the natural thing we do is to attempt to avoid it. The problem with this is that we have secondary as well as primary emotions – emotions about other emotions.
We get stressed out and then think, “I wish I weren’t so stressed out.” The primary emotion is stress over your workload. The secondary emotion is feeling, “I hate being stressed.”
Be open to the way things are in each moment without judging it, clinging to it or pushing it away. The present moment can only be as it is. Trying to change it only frustrates and exhausts you. Acceptance relieves you of this needless extra suffering.
Do yourself a favor by accepting your feelings. Feelings are normal and natural, allow yourself to feel the way you feel. Sadness, stress, pain or anger happen whether you like it or not, acceptance of these feeling doesn’t tell you what to do.
What you choose to do comes out of your understanding of your feeling in the moment
If you feel anxiety, for instance, you can accept the feeling, label it as anxiety – then direct your attention to something else instead.
Watch your thoughts, perceptions, and emotions flit through your mind without getting involved, thoughts are just thoughts. You don’t have to believe them and you don’t have to do what they say.
Living a consistently mindful life does take effort, but mindfulness itself is easy. Remember you can become mindful at any moment just by paying attention to your immediate experience. You can do it right now. What is happening now, and now and now…
Pay attention to what’s happening at the present moment, become aware of being alive and breathe as you’re reading this, you’re living in the moment. Nothing happens next.
It’s not a destination. This is it. You’re already there!
Connect with Expert Kerry Madgwick