How to Be in the Present Moment
How to Be in the Present Moment
It’s human nature to rethink the past and worry about the future. Focusing on the present moment, however, is more difficult. The problem of placing too much focus on the past and the future is that it can trigger anxiety, stress, regret, and general unhappiness. If you can learn to be more aware of the current moment at all times, you can step away from these bad feelings and enjoy better mental health.
What Does It Mean to Be Present?
The concept is simple: being present simply means bringing your focus and awareness to what is going on right now. Being present means being aware of what is happening around you as well as your own thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. Your mind and your attention are not on the past or future, but right here and now.
How to Be More Present in Each Moment
Staying focused on the present takes practice. Try these tools and strategies daily, and you will start to find it easier to cultivate present awareness:
- Try a regular yoga practice, which focuses on breathing and physical sensations in each moment.
- Any kind of exercise can be an excellent way to push worries out of your mind—the physical challenge of a workout forces you to be in the present moment.
- A walk in nature is great for focusing on the present world all around you. Pay attention to the natural sounds, sights, and smells.
- Breathing exercises pull your attention to the present by focusing thoughts on the simple act of breathing.
- A mindfulness body scan is a great way to target how your body feels right now. Sitting or lying down, start on your toes and simply feel and pay attention to each body part from your toes all the way up to your head.
- For present focus before bedtime, use a guided mindfulness meditation on BetterSleep. A gentle voice and soothing music will bring your awareness to the present and prepare you for better sleep.
Benefits of Focusing on the Present
Focusing on the present moment is not natural in our modern world. We have too many distractions and worries. Taking time to practice mindfulness and awareness of the present is important for several reasons:
- Cultivating more awareness of the present moment helps to reduce stress. Studies suggest moment-to-moment awareness helps manage stressful events as they occur and leads to greater resilience in the face of stress later.
- Studies also show that mindfulness practice reduces the symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression. In other words, being present-focused improves mental health.
- Focusing on the present improves relationships. When you put down distractions and focus on the people around you, it strengthens bonds.
- Mindfulness practice can help you break bad habits. Researchers have found that strategies that help you focus awareness on current feelings and sensations reduce cravings for junk food, alcohol, or cigarettes.
Like anything worth doing, becoming more present takes time and practice. Try at least one mindfulness technique each day, and before long, you’ll find it comes naturally, and you will begin to reap all the benefits.
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