Or do you find yourself thinking more about the past or planning for the future?
For me, recently, I am dwelling in the past a great deal, trying to make sense of it all.
I think a lot of this was triggered by Dad’s death and wondering if I did enough in his final weeks. I am slowly letting go of this thinking as I logically realize this ruminating does not change the outcome of what happened. Our brains are wonderful tools in analyzing, creating and feeling, but sometimes they go overboard on trying to figure things out that do not have an answer.
The best solution is to let it go and focus on all the wonderful things I have in my life now. Appreciate the present and then plan for the future.
Being in the present moment, or the “here and now,” means that we are aware and mindful of what is happening at this very moment. We are not distracted by ruminations on the past or worries about the future, but centered in the here and now. All of our attention is focused on the present moment (Thum, 2008)
Being present minded is the key to staying healthy and happy. It helps you fight anxiety, cut down on your worrying and rumination, and keeps you grounded and connected to yourself and everything around you.
It’s essential to a healthy life to spend some time thinking about the past and the future, but it’s rare that we don’t think enough about the past or the future—usually our problem is focusing too intently (or even obsessively) on the past or the future.*
Being Mindful in May
The goal for May is to be more mindful. I am cheating a bit for this month as I will be away from Calgary. The plan is to cycle for 2 weeks in Prince Edward Island and then do day-hikes in Newfoundland for another couple of weeks and then round off the trip with visiting my good friend in New Brunswick.
It’s a lot easier to be in the present moment when everything is new and you are thrilled to be traveling and seeing the sights!
The experts tell me to:
Be intentional with your awareness; notice your feet hitting the ground with each step, see everything there is to see around you, open your ears to all the sounds surrounding you, feel each inhale and exhale, and just generally be aware of what is happening in each moment.
This helps you not only connect to your authentic self, but it also helps connect you to your environment and improves your awareness of the beauty that’s all around, just waiting to be found.
Sometimes this is easier said that done. I was on a trail in Cornwall, England and it took all my concentration to go over boulders on the path way high up on the edge of a cliff! I did not want to fall into the sea. Thank goodness, ‘A’ was there to help me. Let’s just say, I was not thinking about the past, present or future, only my survival!
But all kidding aside, I think this comment says it all:
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.
The Plan (Experiment) for May – Engage all your senses.
One way to stay more in the present is to be more aware of your surroundings by engaging your senses:
Loon making its call on a BC lake.
I am reading a book right now, “Life in Five Senses” by Gretchen Rubin and she is trying different experiments with the senses to ‘take it all in’. She had a health scare about losing her eyesight and this made her want to become more aware of what she was seeing.
A few guiding questions another expert suggests are:
- What are you seeing, hearing, and smelling in your immediate view or environment?
- Is there anything in your hands that you can feel the texture of?
- How does your clothing feel on your body?
- How does your body feel in the chair you are sitting in or the bed you are lying down in?
- If you are eating or drinking something, how does it taste?
- What is the temperature of the food or beverage you are ingesting?
I think this is doable, but what I think I need is something to remind me of being more aware and then capturing some of my thoughts.
I suppose I could have my watch ding every once and a while to remind me to see where my thoughts are and if I am using my senses.
I have had this experience before, of using my senses, where my power of observation became really strong.
When I was living in the Netherlands, for the most part, I did not understand the language around me (Dutch). And because I was not using my hearing sense as much as I would in Canada, I was watching people’s actions more by observing all the time to figure out what was going on. I definitely saw a lot more.
When I came back to Canada and I could understand the conversation around me again, my ears actually hurt as too much was coming through that sense again. I found this interesting!
So, lets see, how intentionally setting my goal to be aware of my surroundings by using my senses, how much more I can be in the moment.
Stay tuned for the results!
As always, live well, and enjoy the moments,