You’ve probably heard it a million times before: to focus on the present is important. Countless well-being websites will tell you that, to be happy, you shouldn’t dwell too much on the past or contemplate the future. Instead, you should be in the here and now.
As easy as that sounds, it can be challenging for someone’s emotional self to keep up with their physical body. Currently, I’m one of those people. I’m a nostalgist: I love reflecting on the past, learning from it and taking it in. I also frequently look towards the future, wondering whether it will be a happy one.
Thinking about it, I should probably ponder less and do more to ensure my future will be positive and successful.
While there is nothing wrong with studying the past and trying to predict the future, it can end up doing more harm than good.
I can be out with friends and, instead of being mentally present, I’m stuck in a loop. Did I turn the oven off? What will I have for dinner? What other changes can I make to my essay? What’s happening in the world? Should I check the news?
It’s an annoying habit, one I’m hoping to change this year. If you’re in the same boat, then keep reading for some helpful advice!
An obvious tip I can offer is to put your phone down. When practising being present, putting aside any distracting tools is the best first step to take.
When you’re busy or with other people, put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ (my personal favourite), flip it with the screen facing down, or leave it in your bag. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Take note of your surroundings. Pay close attention to your senses and how you’re feeling at that given time. If there’s something I’m grateful to lockdown for, it’s that it taught me how to appreciate the environment I’m in more.
You’d be surprised how many small moments of joy you can find just by looking around! Whether it’s other people, a cute dog walking past, or a blooming flower. There’s happiness all around us; you just need to take a closer look.
Practising gratitude can make all the difference in being present. Take the time to reflect on all the good aspects in your life. Whether it’s your parents or the sunshine this morning, embrace this feeling of gratitude.
If you feel like taking this to the next level, I’d recommend getting a gratitude journal! It makes you think about what you’re grateful for a little deeper and it’s sweet to look back on when you need an emotional boost.
As with all new habits, learning to be present will take time and effort. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see any improvements overnight. It might not be easy to tackle, but it’ll be so worth it once you reach the other side!
Featured Image Credit: YouMatter