How to be More Present

Past, present and future.

Besides being verb tenses, these are also the timeline to one’s life. We all have a past, are currently living in the present and have a future. Nowadays though, it seems like living in the past has become the normalcy. Posts with the hashtags #throwbackthursday and #flashbackfriday regularly appear in the news feed of social media, and reminiscing about “the old days” is a popular topic of conversation with friends and family. While it doesn’t hurt to have good memories of one’s life, there is such a thing as living too much in the past that can take a lot away from the present. Here are some suggestions to be more present in one’s life.

Practice mindfulness. The constant stream of information from the television, computer and other mediums can easily distract us from the real world. Mindfulness is a way to connect with the present surroundings. Concentrate on the noise of the world- the traffic, wind blowing, people talking. Meditation, which relates to mindfulness on a person life, can help you become aware of your body and lead to reduced stress and a healthier lifestyle.

Unplug for a day or two. Tying into mindfulness, take a break from the smartphone and other technology. National Day of Unplugging, held every year in March, encourages people to put the phones down and spend time out in the real world. Not sure what do on the “day off?” Ideas include taking walks with friends, visit local attractions, or reading. As there was a time when people’s only source of news was the radio and television, all the information will still be there when you get back online.

Visit nature. Nature is a great example of what’s going on in the world right now. Whether it be the leaves changing on the trees, flowers blooming, or snow falling, it’s all happening in real time. Take time to walk through the local woods, park or just down the street. Live in a more urban area? Check out the dog park or other places with animals, as they offer another connection to nature.

Switch up your current routine. It’s usually the same everyday- get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to work, eat lunch and so on. Having the same schedule can make the days feel repetitive and monotonous. To help stimulate your mind, change it up. Take a different route to work. Try somewhere new for lunch. Listen to a new kind of music. Look for ways to interact with different people.

Take an exercise class. With individual exercise, it’s easy to space out and get lost in your music. A fitness class requires a present state of mind to follow the instructor and interact with other people. Classes usually include yoga, Zumba, Pilates and aerobics. Another way to take a class is using an active app or online instructional videos.

Write. Writing requires a present state of mind and concentration to form woods and letters. Jotting down your thoughts and ideas can help concentration. For example, waking up from a dream that doesn’t make sense and writing it down can keep it from distracting you for the rest of the day.

Realize that you can’t change the past. One of the most common reasons of living in the past is looking back on bad choices and other situations. While many of us would like to be able to change it, it’s just not possible. Instead of lamenting on what’s already set in stone, focus on living your life in the now and forging a better future, as the future is not set in stone.

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