Living in the Present Moment
Updated: Jul 19
Keeping your mind in the present moment can be beneficial for your mental health because it can help you focus your mental energy on what is happening to you now instead of what has happened in your past or what may happen in your future.
With countless distractions filling our daily lives, it can be difficult to keep our minds in the present moment.
I used to continuously struggle with living in the present. My thoughts would often drift to past scenarios. I would spend so much of my time thinking about things I could’ve done differently or situations that I wanted to change. My thoughts would also drift towards the future. I could get lost in my mind for hours, worrying about the unknown things I could potentially encounter one day.
Our minds naturally gravitate towards the past and the future. We can learn from the past by analyzing things that have happened in our lives. We can also be more prepared by expecting what may happen to us in the future. However, if we let our minds spend too much time in the past or the future, it can be damaging to our mental health.
The past and the future are two things that we have no active control over. It can be detrimental to spend too much time thinking about things that are completely out of our control. In my personal experience, it can lead to increased anxiety and negative thought spirals.
If you find yourself dealing with the negative effects of being distracted from the present moment, try to guide your mind back to what is happening right in front of you. Thinking about the present moment can help you stay grounded during times of anxiety and distress.
There are several techniques you can use if you find yourself needing to be brought back to the present moment. One way to bring yourself back to the present is to stop and notice what is around you. I will share my strategy for bringing myself back to the present moment below. Mind Potential Psychology also describes a similar five-step strategy for grounding yourself that can be found on their website.
10 Steps to Ground Yourself:
Stop what you are currently doing
Take three deep breaths
Close your eyes
Notice three things that you can hear
Notice one thing that you can smell
Open your eyes
Notice three things that you can see
Notice three things that you can touch or feel
Take three more deep breaths
Resume what you were doing
Living in the present moment can also help you develop a greater sense of gratitude for what you have in your life right now. Since I started focusing on staying in the present, I have noticed that I am much more satisfied with the small joys of daily life. I now notice and appreciate the little things more compared to when I was always worrying about the past and the future.
I honestly can’t imagine going back to thinking in the way that I used to. Living in the present moment has helped me become a happier and more appreciative person. It might seem unnecessary at first, but staying in the present moment is definitely worth the effort.