How to Live in the NOW
Even a person who is not already predisposed to anxiety, restlessness or being easily distracted, the world we live in now can cause anxiety, stress and restlessness in that person.We live in the age of distraction.
It appears the mantra now is “DO.DO.DO.” We are always doing. In so doing, the present slips away, with little to no acknowledgement. Along with this constant state of doing, we are worrying and future tripping. Where does the NOW fit in? Usually the now comes in the form of some jolt or shock. Our lives are suddenly turned upside down because we were so busy worry and regretting the past or stressing about the future that the now is neglected; until it can no longer be neglected, and we find ourselves asking this question, “How did this happen?”
This way of living contributes to disconnection and mental fragmentation. Our minds jump from thought to thought without our consent. Is it any wonder some people turn to disordered eating, process addictions, or substance abuse? Self-medicating sometimes is the only way to distract ourselves from the distractions that inundate our minds. Sadly, the “medicine” will turn on us and we will be left in a much worse situation than before; needing treatment and a recovery process, and possibly detox.
How Does Being Mindful Help in Recovery?
Living in the moment, or being “mindful”, promotes happiness, peace, empathy and security. It also helps a person be less judgmental of their thoughts and realize that they are NOT their thoughts. A mindful person can take a step back and look at their thoughts without attaching anything to them. This creates an awareness which in turn reduces impulsivity and reactivity that can lead to disordered thinking, habits or substance abuse.
Staying aware can mean the difference between sobriety and relapse. Learning coping skills and healthy responses require that a person be present and mindful. This will help in dealing with emotionally charged situations, cravings or triggers. It’s not easy at first to remain aware and mindful, but it is hugely beneficial to recovery.
Tips for Mindfulness
STOP THINKING ABOUT IT!
Focusing too intensely on what you are doing makes it worse. Slow down and look around, outside of yourself. Turn down the volume on the mental chatter. Tell yourself, “Be here now.”, or any other mantra that will help you pause and stay present.
SAVOR THE MOMENT
Stop comparing your current meal with last weeks’ phenomenal meal. Enjoy what is in front of you right now. Don’t think about your next meal and where it’s coming from! The movie you are going to see? Don’t think, “It’s probably going to be a flop like the one I saw last month!” This is a sure way to set yourself in disappointment mode and take you completely out of the moment. Actively savoring something each day creates positive emotions and lessens depressive or stressful symptoms.
“I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
We have irritants just about everywhere and as stated before, we live in the age of distraction. These things can suck the enjoyment of life out of anyone. Many of us will focus on the “problem” hoping to combat and overcome it. Unfortunately, this may have the opposite effect. We will focus on the problem and this will bring up emotions that we try to suppress, because they are too painful or uncomfortable or triggering.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The solution is acceptance—letting the emotion be there. Be open to what is currently happening without trying to change or manipulate the feeling or experience. This will relieve you of needless suffering. Whatever it is you are feeling, label it as such, acknowledge it and then move on. Direct your attention to something else.
You can be mindful at any moment. Right now. Try it. Pay attention to your immediate experience. Open your senses. Smell, hear, taste, feel. Really see what is happening right now, right here. It is simply a matter of realizing where you already ARE.
Nothing must happen “next”. There is no “next”, only now.