Live in the now. Be present. I’m sure we’ve heard it all before or read it on a cheesy wallposter in a doc’s waiting room. And even though this sounds truly liberating, how does one start with living more in the now? It’s easier said than done. Especially within our working environment this can be challenging – where you’re faced with pressure, hard deadlines and never-ending to-do lists.
We live in a constantly busy world, where there’s almost no room for silence. We struggle with finding a balance between our personal and our work life, we strive for perfection, tend to make the easy difficult and expect the impossible. Meanwhile we’re missing everything that is happening right now.
Let’s not forget our purpose of working
In principle, we work not to survive, but to create a sense of meaning and fulfilment in our lives. Because, how great is that feeling, when we use our energy and transform it into great ideas? Make an impact, a real difference? Isn’t that the best feeling in the world? But when feelings of obligation and stress take over, we’re losing sight of the purpose work has in our lives. We see dropping the ball as failure and our focus shifts to checking of boxes, instead of enjoying or celebrating wins and successes. A real shame, since this means you’re completely missing out on that feeling of satisfaction or contentment. In order to get that back, we must live in the now, instead of always focussing on the future or the present.
To be, not do
But how do you shift from doing-mode to just being? How do you start with being more present in the here and now, right between the past and the future? There are a zillion options for mindfulness practices, silent retreats or digital detoxes you can attend, but there’s also a lot that you can accomplish on your own. Start with finding a balance in your thoughts about the past, the present and the future. Note: the ones on the past and the future should not out-balance the ones you have about the present.
Shake it off
Dwelling on the past or getting worried about the future can cause negative effects on your health and well-being. Of course, it is perfectly fine to make plans for the future. Moreover, you should never deny or ignore happenings from the past, but when you notice you’re getting sucked back in and you want to rid yourself from worry, just start focussing on your breath. It’s the most effective way of getting you back to the present.
The time is now
A practical tool that can help you live more in the here and now, is to remind yourself of the fact that – literally – the only time is now. Very cheesy, but also very true as you simply cannot live in the past, and as far as we know, no-one invented a time-machine just yet so you cannot live in the future either. You might want to write ‘Now’ on a little sticky note and put it on your laptop – so every time you see it, it works as a little reminder.
Hello brain, let’s wander
Are you early to a meeting, or are your co-workers simply late? Great, let’s use this valuable time to let your mind wander, wherever it wants to go. Don’t waste those 5 minutes with scrolling through everyone’s perfect life on Instagram, that won’t benefit your day or your energy level.
Meeting or no meeting, everyone can benefit from a little smartphone-break. For instance, that popping-up notification from your Google calendar for those birthday drinks tomorrow, or that push message from a group chat about your next summer vacation isn’t really helping you to stay in the moment. It pushes your focus directly towards the future. So, every now and again, remind yourself to take a little break from your phone. The world will keep turning, we promise.
You’re already here
It all comes down to this. Try to balance your thoughts, if you wander of to the past or future, try to come back to the present. Be positive and stress less, free yourself from worrying. Somewhere else, someone is breathing out its last breath. Seize the moment, be grateful it’s yours for the taking. Don’t always reach for the goals, they’re in the future. Don’t look for what’s next. It’s not a destination, as you’re already here.
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