For the majority of us, life consists of daily challenges. We look at our past and see the mistakes we've made, we look at the future with anxiety of what's to come, and we fail to focus on what's happening in the present moment. When we're mindful of what's happening in the present moment, we can negate any lingering thoughts and fully immerse ourselves in the now.
What is the present moment? The present moment is the "here and now". It means we're mindful of what's happening in the current moment and we're not distracted by worries of the past or thoughts of the future. Rather than thinking about the work we need to do or what someone said to us earlier, we focus our attention on the present moment, allowing us to stay happy and healthy. We reduce anxiety, cut down rumination, and are connected to everything around us.
Does living in the present matter? Most of the time, we're always thinking about something else. From showering to driving, there's always something on our mind. Regardless of what we're thinking about, constant mind wandering reduces our happiness and increases our anxiety. When we focus on the present moment, all of the negative emotions fade away. Rather than feeling stress or regret, we start to feel contentment and growth.
How do we stay in the present moment? With notifications, messages, and advertisements, we're always concerned with external noise. The key is to give our full attention to the experience at hand, whether it's working out or talking to someone. With exercises like meditation, yoga, and sensory awareness, being mindful is a skill we can all develop.
As conscious beings, it's completely natural to think about the past or future, but the goal is to limit mind wandering. If we make an effort to focus on our current experience, we'll lead richer, healthier, and happier lives.
“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry—all forms of fear—are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.” -Eckhart Tolle