We live in a world of constant distraction. Phones, computers, televisions, radios—they all serve to distract our minds from being fully present in the moment. It can be challenging to pay attention to conversations or focus on the task at hand. Learning to live in the now with clarity and focus can help you accomplish more while using less energy and reducing frustration.
How Important Is It To Live In the Now?
Being mindful and meditating have become buzzwords of late. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just a trend that will fade in time or if people will really see the importance of being present in the moment. Some of the benefits of learning to live in the now are:
- Stress management strategies. When something unpleasant happens to us, sometimes we disengage and hide from what’s causing us stress. Learning to stay in the moment and work through that stress by identifying the source and managing our reactions can reduce stress long-term, causing less damage to our brains and bodies. A study published in December of 2016 on sciencedirect.com showed that people that stayed present during stressful moments were better equipped to deal with stress in general.
- Ability to remain calm. A study published by the National Institute of Health in 2019 suggests that people who suffer from anxiety and depression can benefit from learning to stay present. When you’re focused on the now, you pay attention to what’s happening around you. Increasing your awareness of the details of life helps you also be aware of how you’re feeling and responding to those events and gives you the tools to manage those responses more effectively.
- Better relationships. It should go without saying that being present in the moment with your partner, children, or anyone in your life will help strengthen the bond you share with that person. It also goes without saying if you’re spending time with friends and family and you’re distracted, you’re not getting a whole lot out of that togetherness. Being fully present with your spouse or children also means you’ll notice when things are off in the relationship and can handle any negative situations before they become more significant problems.
How Do We Become More Present?
Like I said earlier, it can be extremely challenging to stay present in the moment with all the distractions in our lives right now. Personally, I’m an avoider. If something is unpleasant, I avoid it. I don’t want to walk through it. But this isn’t always the best strategy. Being in the now has so many advantages we must make an effort. What can we do to get started?
- Engage all five sensesas much as possible. One of my favorite things in the world is that first sip of hot coffee in the morning. Take a few extra moments to savor your food or drink choices. Feel the softness of your dog or cat. Listen to the birds singing out your window or the sound of the ocean waves crashing on the shore. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and truly notice how it makes you feel. Practice engaging ALL your senses daily and appreciate the small things that make you feel good.
- Breathe. If you’re an avid braintapper, you know what I’m talking about. Breathe in to the mental count of three. Then let the breath out with a sigh. There’s a reason Dr. Porter has you breathe deeply during a session. It’s calming to our nervous systems. It’s relaxing. And it’s good for your brain.
- Be Grateful. You hear it a lot, but that doesn’t make it inaccurate. And it doesn’t mean it’s easy. If you take the time to think about the things in your life that you’re grateful for, it focuses your attention on them, thereby making you more present in your present circumstances. Sometimes it can be hard to find something to be grateful for when life isn’t going our way. I’d argue that makes it all the more important to search for the small things that we can thank the universe for.
- Practice, practice, practice. Being present in the moment should become part of your daily routine. Like any new habit, you need to practice consciously before it becomes something you do unconsciously and automatically. It may take some time, but with practice, you’ll get there. Anytime you notice your attention drifting away from the now, gently guide yourself back to the present and away from whatever is distracting you.
- Celebrate. Don’t be afraid to celebrate the small victories. Let’s say you stayed present during a particularly dull work meeting. Give yourself a pat on the back. During lunch, you ate mindfully, paying attention to the tastes and textures of your food, eating slowly, and chewing thoroughly. Give yourself credit for not wolfing down your food without tasting it. You made time to BrainTap every single day. That is definitely worth celebrating and recognizing you’re doing something extraordinary for your brain.
The most important thing to remember is we aren’t perfect. But making an effort to be intentional and live in the now is great for building good habits and good relationships. Pay attention to what’s going on around you in the present moment. Notice that you’re a living, breathing organism on a living breathing organism. Focus on bringing air into your body and releasing air from your body.
If you can do that, you can learn to make living in the now a habit that lasts a lifetime.
For more inspiration on living with focus and clarity, try these sessions on the BrainTap Pro App:
- Optimal Health Bundle – Being Fully Present-Increase Your Attention Span
- Optimal Health Bundle – Maintaining Focus and Concentration
- Worry-Free Me Bundle – Staying Focused in the Present
- Find Clarity Bundle – Focus in the Now
- Find Clarity Bundle – Focus and Concentration
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