How often do you find yourself living in the past or worrying about the future?

Most of us dwell on the things that happened yesterday, or might happen tomorrow. In the current day and age and our hectic lifestyles, living in the now of our lives is not easy. There is always something ahead that we would be scrambling and preparing for. Reminders, notifications, and alerts keeping us on our toes and ready for what's next. We are also constantly reminded of the past; both good and bad because we have the ability to keep our lives well-documented with photos and social media. It has never been easier to drown in nostalgia, memories, and even bad decisions. This has effects on our well-being and the way we lead our lives.

Given the fast-paced lives most of us lead, we are bound to experience some levels of anxiety, stress, and general unhappiness; this is almost guaranteed. It may not be the most apparent initially, but the tendency to get lost in the past or the uncertainty of the future can tire you out and lose touch with yourself.

We are often oscillating between what we have already done, and what needs to be done instead of being immersed in the present moment. How do we switch this around?

Read on to find out more about how you can soak yourself in the present moment more and live mindfully!

What is living in the now?

Living in the now, or being in the present moment, means being fully aware and mindful of what is happening around in the very moment. Being present and not ruminating in the past or the uncertainty of the future extensively allows you to be centered in the here and now. With your attention being focused on the present moment, you can experience the full extent of what the world around has to offer you in that very moment, and you can experience the full spectrum of emotions that you feel without being distracted. Living in the now is not an arbitrary term, but a way of leading your life that could potentially help if you're struggling with anxiety and stresses in your everyday life.

Why Is Living In The Now important?

Being and living in your present is vital to staying happy and healthy. It helps with managing anxiety by cutting down possible sources of worry that have to do with bad choices you've made in the past or worry about how the future will unfold, and keeps you grounded and connected to your being and the things around you. Exerting your ability to be mindful of your time and space not only improves your overall health and well-being, but it can also help you manage pain, stress, and improve our ability to cope with negative emotions.

How To Live In The Now And Be Present

1. Soak in your surroundings and physical environment

If you cannot recall the last time you sat down, closed your eyes, took a deep breath, and just observed everything around you, it's time to take time out of your day to take notice of and really look at what's around you. Take this opportunity to close both of your eyes and take a deep breath, then open them and really take in where you are physically. Being aware of your physical environment can help you incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. Deliberately noticing the seemingly small, sensory details of something that you are doing; like focusing on the sight, sound, smell, and feel of your daily activities and space can train your focus on attention to detail.

woman sitting on bench reading book with dog during daytime

Photo by pparnxoxo on Unsplash

The first step to appreciating the space, place, and time that you're in starts with stopping to look at your surroundings and take in everything that's around you; allowing yourself to truly live and breathe in your present moment. Thereafter, acknowledging the place you're in mentally and emotionally can be dealt with better as well.

2. Journal or Write "Morning pages" to kick-start your day

Set a mindful tone for your day by writing in your journal the very first thing in the morning. Make yourself a cup of coffee upon waking up, and move yourself to a quiet, conducive space to write and use your journal as a stepping block to leading more mindful days.

person writing on a book

Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

Before heading off to work or school, or actively checking things off of your to-do list, spend 10 minutes writing in your journal or notebook. You can make a new entry to start your days fresh, or you can simply write however much you feel like writing.

Morning pages can be an unguided, unstructured stream of consciousness form of writing, done first thing in the morning. Writing about anything and everything that crosses your mind upon waking up helps you clear the noise in your head by allowing yourself the time to try and make sense of messy and haphazard thoughts. Writing out your thoughts can bring you clarity and objectivity, instead of letting them fester in your head. Remember, this does not have to be coherent sentences, creative, or even put-together. Jotting down your stream of consciousness helps with clearing your mind and starting the day with a clean slate. If there was anything that had been bothering you the previous day or had been left unresolved in your mind, take this chance to dump whatever you have been feeling before taking on a new day. Your personal journal, being for your eyes only, ensure that your thoughts and reflections are safe as well.

If you're finding it hard to put your pen to paper in the mornings, or if you're looking for a place to start journaling to help you through your morning journaling sessions, there is no better place than Journey for that.

Journey's coach program that can provide you with journal prompts to start writing.
Journey's coach program that can provide you with journal prompts to start writing.

Journey offers you multiple tools and aids that will guide you through your journaling. The power of mindful morning journaling often goes unnoticed. If you are unsure of how to start journaling, journaling prompts can help you delve deeper into yourself and your thoughts. Check out Journey Coach to give you a kick-start on your journaling habits by providing you with starting prompts to get writing and reflecting.

With Journey Coach, you can enroll in daily prompt programs of various topics, ranging from self-care to self-confidence, body positivity, self-discovery, and anger management, and have a guide that could you take you through your journaling.

Take just a couple of minutes to brain dump any noise or chatter in your head, log dreams, or follow journal prompts to clear your head and help you start your day off in a mindful and self-aware state.

3. Focus on one thing at a time

While multi-tasking and juggling multiple things at the same time may seem like more productive use of your time, constantly having to focus on multiple tasks can make it hard to live in the present moment.

person writing bucket list on book

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Focusing on one task at a time will requires your full attention. This can seem overwhelming at first. But take notice of the nature in which you complete a task when fully engaged in a singular one. Compare this with trying to manage multiple things at the same time, or spending bits of your energy and focus on perhaps three different projects.

If you're working on a task at hand or a project, try your level best to give it all of your attention. If you catch yourself thinking about other things or glancing over at your phone because you're losing interest, consciously stop and turn your focus back to what needs to be done. Think about the satisfaction of being able to check it off of your to-do list and heaving a sigh of relief after. When you're fully focused on what's happening at that moment, you can better remember details about the learning process and the task you've completed in the long term.

4. Use a cue or sign to remind you to stay grounded

If you're having trouble re-aligning or grounding yourself, consider using a mindfulness cue to remind yourself to pause, recalibrate, and deal with the problem or task at hand with clarity and calm in the moment.

shallow focus photography of woman sitting on stair

Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash

It may be tough to consciously remember to be mindful and in the moment when you are very busy or running around. A mindfulness cue can be as simple as a bracelet tied around your wrist, a ring, the lock screen image on your phone. When you take notice of the cue, make it a habit to take a moment to stop and notice your surroundings. You can also use something more external like making a cup of tea whenever you feel overwhelmed to help you pause.

5. Spend time with your tribe!

Spending quality, uninterrupted time with the people you love, cherish, and make you feel happy and fulfilled is a wonderful way to live in the present moment. Engage in meaningful conversations, exchange gifts, update each other on where life has taken you the past few months, and enjoy the company of your tribe. Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people will have positive effects on your perspective on life and happiness levels. In turn, this will allow you to focus on what is going well right now instead of dwelling on the past or the future.

four person looking at the city

Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash

Having conscious awareness and a commitment to staying in the “now.” Living in the present moment is the solution to a problem you may not have known you had. Our minds are constantly wandering and jumping back and forth between what has already happened in our lives, and the anxiety about what's coming. This robs us of the chance to fully embrace and experience our present. We miss out on the joy of today. Being grounded and aware of your entire being in the present moment gives you better control over how you feel, react, speak, and internalize situations.

The present is a gift of time. Don't dwell in the past, worry less about the future, and live more in the present!