Living in the Now: How and Why to Focus on the Present Moment

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Living in anxiety of not having enough of something often means we’re fixated on a future we can’t control. This could be time, money, or anything you might feel you lack. Feeling bored with life often means we’re stuck in a memory or an outcome we can’t do-over. We long for memories that are shaded romantically by all the things we can control in our heads.

De-stressing starts with finding your current space and the power to live in a powerful state of “Yes!” We’re capable, resilient, and resourceful once we decide we’re going to move forward. Here are some steps to help you feel present.

Get out of your head and into your body.

Sometimes, it helps to meditate. If meditation doesn’t come easy, focus on what you are physically experiencing. How does the air feel around you? Is it cool or warm? What do your clothes feel like, against your skin. Are they too tight? Are they loose on you? What do you hear? What taste is in your mouth?

Indulge your random thoughts.

Listen to what you’re thinking. Just that first thought before you spiral into anxiety. What is the pressing idea and how pressing is it really? Do you have immediate control of the outcome? Do you feel like it can wait five minutes, an hour? What about a day? How urgent is it, if it can wait until tomorrow? Even if it can’t wait, can you control the outcome?

Release what you can’t control.

Those thoughts that seemed so important are now acknowledged. You can jot down details of what actions you need to take later, but then release the situation. What will happen will happen whether you think about it, or if you decide to not think about it again.

Take responsibility.

Really own what you can. Are you responsible for any aspect of it? Are you able to enact a course of action? Relax about what you can’t own, and tackle the parts you can, if they’re relevant to the outcome. Do your very best, so you can relax in knowing the best possible outcome is a direct result of what you’ve done.

Remove the emotions.

If you’re thinking of the past, step back from the emotional aspects of it. Don’t shade things with how you feel about them. Think of them logically as events. Remove the emotion of the situation. Does it still look the same as it did? Apply the wisdom that time has given you. Is this something you had control over? If you did, would you have done things differently?

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Honor the memories you have had.

If they were good, appreciate the good. If they were bad, give yourself the space and gentleness to comfort yourself in the way you needed at the time, while recognizing you are no longer that person.

Focus on your breathing.

Sometimes, it’s as simple as breathing in and out. Tense your muscles and release them, one at a time. Listen to the sound of your breath and the way it feels when your chest expands.

Decide on your contribution.

If you are having a hard time releasing the past or future, decide its time to contribute to the greater good of the world around you. If you’re focused on helping others, you’re less likely to be pushed around by your imagination.

Yessica Reedy

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Yessica Reedy is a multi-ethnic single mother of 3 in Los Angeles. She holds a BA in English but works in Finance. She is the voice behind crushingthechrysalis.com and author of Memoirs of a Warrior Dragon Slayer: There's Room for More.

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