How often do you find yourself lost in a tornado of thoughts?
Thinking about the upcoming week, next month’s travel plans, what bill is due when … an endless world of worry and what if’s.
If you’re like most of us, this describes your everyday mental journey. Let’s stop the madness! The best place to be, the only place to be if we want to truly live our lives with purpose and meaning is for us to be in the moment, the here and now.
I often work with clients who struggle to stay in their moment and leave their physical environment and drift away into the world of worry, ruminating, what if’ing. Unless we have set time aside for such pondering, we are wasting our time. We rarely figure anything out or make a productive plan when we engage in this habit. Worse, we are robbing ourselves and others of a more meaningful present. When we are engaged in our current moments our senses and whole being are able to focus. For example, when you are enjoying a delicious meal you are most likely very present. You are savoring the different selections on your plate and enjoying the combination of food and drink. You might take a bite. Let it digest. Take a drink. And think … this is delicious. You notice the flavors, the nuances, the smells, the presentation. This is so enjoyable because you are fully present. Your senses are engaged. You are not “supposed” to be anywhere else doing anything else. You have given yourself permission to be present and pay attention. That is what it means to be in the moment, the here and now, to be mindful.
Start by reviewing your calendar, your tasks, whatever you look at or follow that keeps you on your road. Once you have signed off on the commitments for the day all you have to do is stay in the moment. If one of your tasks is to drop something off at the post office then your entire drive there can be a break. You are not scheduled to do anything else while you’re driving so why not enjoy the drive. Choose a focal point, a song, a gratitude and dwell on it while you drive. If you don’t choose, the habit of worry and distraction will take over and you will find yourself worrying about something, that probably won’t happen, and miss the flowers, the kids playing, the birds singing. We miss the life that is all around us when we take off in our heads.
The best defense against anxiety is to be able to keep our minds with where our bodies are. If we are walking, then let’s keep our minds there and notice what is going on around us. If we are with a friend, let’s stay present with them by noticing their facial expressions and energy. Life is more rewarding when we are present. Usually, our most memorable moments in life are that way because our senses were engaged and we were all there. Disneyland, skiing, swimming across a lake, climbing a fourteener, witnessing the birth of our child … these are wonderful memories because we can remember what it felt like, what it looked like, what it smelled like. We were present. This is available every day in all things. Don’t let the unapproved and unrewarding what if’s of life rob you of a more meaningful moment. Be here … right now.
If you are interested in talking to Josh Emery, or one of our other amazing counselors, click here to schedule a session online. If you feel more comfortable, or have further questions, feel free to call our office at (970) 490-1309 and we will be happy to assist you in finding the right counselor for you.