Living in the Now
Updated: Apr 16, 2020
Sometimes its hard to live in the moment because we are taught to think forward- to think of tomorrow, next week and next year. To set lifelong goals and set out to achieve them as soon as possible. Maybe that’s because of internet and tech culture where everything is available NOW. But maybe it’s also a testament to our nature as humans to have ambition.
This post isn’t about contemplating the reasons behind our need to move so quickly. It’s about what we can do to take a step back, into the now of our lives - instead of propelling ourselves into the future.
Five minutes of nothing
Sometimes, if I’m super stressed about future activities that I can’t change or impact in the now, I take the time to do nothing.
Nothing for me looks like sitting and looking out the window while drinking a nice cup of coffee. It’s simply the act of turning off the phone, turning off email notifications and no music for a few minutes. Usually this method is really refreshing when I’ve got a busy week coming up and my mind keeps racing to keep up with plans and possibilities. This puts life into perspective: if I have 5 minutes to do nothing - I can’t be *that* busy anyway.
Processing the info
Another way to get yourself back into living in the now is to process what you’re thinking about. So let’s say you have 5 meetings and projects happening next week: you can process that visually, verbally or in writing. Processing this information visually might be drawing out your weekly schedule, colour blocking your day or just doodling your tasks. This is a fun way to get what’s in your head on paper and to allow your stress to exit as well.
Processing your stress verbally is also great: that could be talking to friends or family and just saying everything out loud in order to make sense of it all. But if that’s not your jam, you can also process it in writing. Writing your thoughts could be a diary entry, a list, a blog post - whatever gets your thoughts out.
By processing the information that is stuck mentally and stressing you out, you are able to release that stress. You’ve given it an avenue to exit your mind and exist in a different form: a drawing, a conversation or written words.
Take a Walk
I used to do this a lot when I was in undergrad. Sometimes the stress is too much and fresh air is necessary. So taking a walk around campus, with no real purpose, is a great way to get some exercise, some outdoor time and take time for yourself. On campus and in class, there are so many people so it’s nice to take some time to be by yourself for a few minutes.
Those are 3 ways that can maybe alleviate your stress and help you to live in the moment without all the stress of the future. In this connected time, it’s hard to de-connect and live your present authentically, all the time. So I encourage you to try and take some time everyday for yourself. And I’m encouraging myself to do the same.