Staying Present in the Moment

The world moves at dizzying speeds, and at times all we can do is strive to keep up with it. All that hustle and bustle can throw us into mental spaces that only worsen the chaos, leaving us flailing in the maelstrom of deadlines, obligations, and logistics. Attempts to fight against the current only sap our energy, but giving in to the vortex can have just as devastating of consequences.

Staying present in the moment can be difficult during these times, especially when we’re struggling against major stressors, but it can also mean the difference between standing strong and crumbling under the weight of the world.

Accept the Challenge

Staying dedicated to living in the moment can be difficult, especially if you’re still working on the shift toward mindful living. Accept — and embrace — that challenge, understanding that you have your work ahead of you, but also knowing that it can eventually help you find your center.

Find ways to remind yourself throughout the day: I am here now. Leave notes for yourself. Keep one in your pocket or wallet. Put one on your bathroom mirror. Even a moment of pause can be meaningful.

Take Inventory

Life can certainly get hectic, and the roadblocks we face are very real, but the angle at which we view our hardships can have huge impacts on our wellbeing. Taking inventory of everything we still have to be grateful for reminds us that life isn’t all bad. Despair and gratitude are conflicting emotions, so focusing on the latter can actually help reduce the emotional effects of the former.

Try writing a list, so you can see the evidence right in front of you when you need it the most. Consider even the smallest blessings; they might add up in surprising ways. Remind yourself that, at this very moment, you are alive and breathing. For just this moment, let that be enough.

Embrace the Silence

Silence can feel deafening when it forces us to look within before we’re ready. We live in a world that expects us to hit the ground running when we wake up and monetize every possible moment until we crash into bed. The mindset is unsustainable, and yet we’re conditioned to embrace it.

So much noise, and often with minimal filters at our disposal, leaves us with no choice but to become accustomed to the constant clamor. We work so hard to accommodate the chaos, we can become overwhelmed by the calm whenever we reach the eye of a storm. As foreign as this state might seem, it is our programmed default. We are meant to rest when we have a moment to do so. We are meant to reflect — to look within. To be.

Put It Into Practice

Staying present in the moment takes practice, but it does get easier with time. Try these strategies to offer yourself gentle nudges:

  • Keep lists of nagging projects and devise strategies for tackling them, so they aren’t weighing on the back of your mind while you’re trying to do other things.
  • Forgive yourself for mistakes you made in the past, finding ways to make amends wherever you can.
  • Find the recipe for your favorite meal and take moments to marvel at the colors and scents of your ingredients as you prepare them. Smell your fingers after chopping garlic or fresh herbs. Close your eyes and listen to the sound of boiling water or a sizzling pan.
  • Hug a pet and note the feel of their fur/feathers/skin as you pet them.
  • Walk barefooted outside and be aware of the earth/grass/ground beneath you.
  • Listen to a favorite song, noting the elements that make it so enjoyable.
  • Take a slow, deep breath, and pay attention to the feel of the air leaving and entering your lungs.
  • Take just a moment, right now, and for a few seconds, simply be. Remind yourself: I am here now.

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