How much time do we spend reflecting on and analysing what has already happened or planning for something that is going to happen? It is too easy to spend so much energy and time thinking and stressing about the past and the future that we forget to live right now. Life can only take place, right here in the present moment. I need reminding of this from time to time.
Psyschologists at Harvard University found that people spend nearly half their time (46.7%) thinking about something other than what they are actually doing. This is particularly worrying as past and future are fabrications that do not exist outside of the human mind. If you give them too much consideration and let them consume your mind then you miss out on the only opportunity that you have to enjoy life, which is right now!
One of the most effective methods of finding happiness and preventing stress is living in the moment — also known as mindfulness. As one of the main foundations of Zen Buddhism, mindfulness is more about being aware of your actions and thoughts, and what your senses bring into your everyday routine.
Three ways to keep in the moment:
Focus on whatever it is that you are doing – whether it is mowing the lawn, washing the dishes or going for a run try to fully focus on the task in hand without letting your thoughts drift to other things. Become so engrossed in what you are doing that it feels like the rest of the world has disappeared.
Take notice of your surroundings – look for the beautiful things around you on a daily basis and take time to appreciate them. It might be that there are beautiful flowers at the road side. Use all of your senses sight, smell, touch, sound, taste.
Be thankful for what you have got – this keeps you routed in the present moment. You don’t want to miss what is in front of your eyes because you are thinking of things that have been or might be in the future. It is not possible to ever be fully happy if you always want something else.
Written by Lindsey Holcroft