“We look neither ahead nor backward. We look straight into the present.”
Stay in the present, be in the now, just for today.
We’ve heard those lines time and time again, but we still struggle to get hold of this life-changing concept.
Why? Why is it so hard to know how to stay in the present?
If we’ve been told that focusing on the present is the answer to all of our problems, then why do we find it so hard to do it?
Why do we insist on continually dragging ourselves back into the past or propelling ourselves forward into the future?
The answer is simple. It’s because it’s easy to say but not so easy to do!
So, here are 5 tips on how to stay in the present.
1Focus on one thing and look at it with all of your might
I’m not talking about some random object like a pencil or a chair. Looking at that with all of your might would be pretty pointless and boring.
I mean something in nature. It could be a tree, a flower, your dog or your cat.
Stare at it with all of your might. Take every single tiny detail in.
If you’ve chosen to focus on a tree, watch how each leaf moves individually. Zoom in on the lines and texture of the bark and count how many different hues of green you can see. Listen to the tree whisper to you as the wind dances through the branches.
If you decided to gaze willfully at your pet, watch how its body moves gently as it breathes. Watch how it gazes so simply into space or how peacefully it sleeps. Focus on its nose and how it subtly twitches as it smells the world.
When you focus solely on something like that, you are being 100% at the moment and you won’t even realize it.
2Do a guided meditation every day, just for 10 minutes
Come on now, it’s just ten minutes.
I don’t believe you are that busy that you can’t throw a quick 10-minute guided meditation into your day.
You don’t have to be a spiritual guru or a yogi in order to meditate. Anyone can do it and it really is the best way to center you into the present moment.
There are some brilliant meditation apps for your phone that make meditation quick and easy. Check out Calm or Headspace.
3Watch the world like you’re watching a movie
When you are sitting on a train or a bus, sitting in a coffee shop or restaurant or even walking down the street, imagine yourself sitting in a movie theater.
Be absolutely still for a moment and just watch everything that is happening all around you in that very moment.
The movie is called ‘Life’ and it’s a fly on the wall documentary film.
It’s the quickest way to get out of your head and find your way straight back to the present.
4Focus on the soles of your feet
A weird one I know, like my other four suggestions haven’t been somewhat odd.
If you find yourself feeling all kinds of yucky because you’re preoccupied with what happened yesterday or what’s going down tomorrow, just pause for a moment and focus on the soles of your feet.
Close your eyes and just zone in. Try and feel the soft skin on the soles of your feet without touching them with your hands. Simply use your concentration.
Feel the soles of your feet against your shoes or how they feel against the tiled floor or the grass between your toes. Pay attention to your toes, the arch of your foot, and the bottom of your heal.
Sounds weird but while zoning out on your feet, you’re actually being completely in the present moment. Your thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow have disappeared.
Dancing with abandonment is the best way to clear your head of overthinking and to just feel joy and pleasure right now.
I’m not saying you have to start dancing with abandonment in the middle of the supermarket or at the bus stop. However, if you have the courage to do that, then kudos to you.
No, I’m just suggesting you put some headphones on, lock your bedroom door, and just have a quick boogie to one of your favorite uplifting songs.
It’s impossible not to stay present when you’re strutting your stuff without a care in the world.