‘Present’ Living in the Here & Now
Wajeeha Amin highlights the positive attitude to take control of our thoughts and the importance to start living in the present
Where would you like to be living your life? In the past? In the present? Or in the future?
Most would say they want to live in the present. But bad habits and thought patterns can keep you from achieving this.
Below, find insight and tips to cultivate a mindful attitude and start living in the here and now.
We carry with us memories of the past, and it is natural to revisit them. Your past plays an essential role in who you are today, but if you focus too much energy on it, you stop yourself from moving forward. Sometimes we fall into the habit of replaying our past hurts or best days gone by in an endless loop. When you do this, you end up missing out on the life you are living right now. The past is just that: past. You can visit there once in a while, but don’t make it your permanent address.
The Only Thing That Exists is the Present
In this present moment and with every second that passes, you are creating your future. Your future is not just tomorrow or five years from now, but five minutes or five hours from now. Your future is today! You create it, moment by moment, day by day. Actively invest your time in creating your future, not worrying about how it will unfold.
When you wake up each morning, you make a choice about how you are going to approach your day. To understand the future you are creating, start paying attention to the very first thought you wake up with. Do you wake up dreading work? Do you first notice that you’re still tired? Is a long to-do list the first thing that pops in your mind? Or are you grateful for waking up each day, with positive anticipation of the hours ahead? Whether positive or negative, conscious or unconscious, you choose the feelings that set the tone for each day that lies ahead and for each moment you live.
Each day, you are given a fresh, blank page to fill. Choose your words wisely, and fill it with a tale that is positive, happy and fulfilling.
You’re in the Driver Seat
As you interact with people around you, you create your present moment. When you smile, you bring peace and joy. When you look at your family with warmth and care, you create a wonderful present. You create the experience of your life’s journey with every thought, feeling and action. The story that you are telling yourself and the thoughts that dominate your mind become the script of the movie that is your life. You and only you are in complete control of the story that is running through your mind right now.
Write a New Story
Mahatma Gandhi said, “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” What if the dirty feet are yours? Have you ever taken the time to consider what the plot or moral of your current life story is? Are you playing the leading role, or a supporting character? Is your story of winning, coming out on top, standing tall? Is it one of adventure, rising from life’s challenges, overcoming fears, making friends, and creating a new and wonderful life? Whatever your current storyline may be, the pen is in your hand.
Each day, you are given a fresh, blank page to fill. Choose your words wisely, and fill it with a tale that is positive, happy and fulfilling. If this solution sounds too simple, think of our thoughts as a snowball. When you replay a negative memory from your past or consider the negative outcome of an upcoming life event, your mind will begin to wander and the worst case scenario will unreel in your mind. You might even begin to feel the physical signs of this negativity—increased blood pressure and heart rate, headaches, stress, and tension.
But good thoughts can snowball, too, quickly bringing joy, happiness, light and control to your life. If you are ready to begin living your life in the present moment, start by choosing positive thoughts and chasing negative thoughts out of your mind. It will take time for healthier habits to become second nature, but the positive effects will take hold immediately. SW
Wajeeha Amin is a psychotherapeutic counsellor and Relationship Coach. www.wajeehaamin.co.uk
Tips for Being Mindful
Small actions add up, and it’s no different when you’re trying to cultivate mindfulness to live in the present. Here are some small things you can do throughout your day to keep your head in the present moment.
- Breathe – Take a quick break at work or while you’re going through your day and focus on breathing for a few minutes. Notice how the air flows in and out of your body, how your belly rises and falls.
- Eat Slow – Next time you eat, slow things down and take time to notice how your food looks, tastes, smells and feels.
- Practice – Being mindful when doing a routine task, such as dishes. How do all your senses register the task? Notice how the hot water feels on your hands, the smell of the soap, the feel of the washcloth rubbing against each dish.
- Focus on one thing – Try to spend the day focusing on one thing at a time and not letting the constant distractions of the digital age derail you. For example, if you’re writing a memo at work, don’t stop every few minutes to check email. Work slowly and deliberately.
- Walk – Take a walk. Leave your phone or on silent in your bag, and notice your surroundings.