I’ve always struggled to ‘be present’. I’ve even spent holidays planning my next trip! But in the last year I've become much better (but by no means perfect!) at keeping my attention in one place.
This has partly happened through conscious effort as I tried to improve my emotional state, as well as developing a better understanding of myself, and cultivating a deep appreciation for my life and my people. I wanted to take a moment to share my experiences.
Ultimately, becoming more present has boiled down to one simple approach:
Enjoy it. Because it’s happening.
This phrase promotes real acceptance of the moment; you might as well try to enjoy even the mundane, because it’s happening! Your reality isn't worth fighting against. It is better to go with it or if it’s not enjoyable, find a way to work with it.
One of my biggest struggles in my twenties was trying to understand how to stay present, learn from my past, and plan for my future. The three did not seem to add up. But with time and practice, you can apply your past to your appreciation of the present and allow it to define how you want to move forward. And you can remember to find something lovely within each day to keep you grounded, while you work towards what you want in the future.
And then there’s another helpful phrase: It doesn't matter.
These three words are most useful when you find yourself ruminating about the past or feeling anxious about the future. Essentially, they help you to let go of thoughts about the things you cannot change. Because if you can’t do anything in the present moment, if they’re not impacting you right now, then the thought doesn’t matter.
The truth is, we have to choose happiness, each and every day. It takes constant work, but living in the present moment really does make a difference. Some people recommend meditation, others yoga or exercise or walking. But if you do nothing else, use these phrases when you need to come back to the present.