Day 20. Challenge Yourself to Live in the Present Moment
Today for our gratitude rumination, we will expand our minds to living in the present moment.
It's easier to feel thankful for the simple gifts of life when we are mentally able to remain in the present.
Most of us have a lot of trouble living mindfully or staying present.
¨ While our children talk to us, we look down at our phones or scroll through messages.
¨ While we cook dinner for our families, we think about how we'll soon have to run out the door for our next planned activity.
¨ During activities that we signed up to participate in, our minds forward us to even more activities that we might want to do or have already committed to.
¨ Sometimes while reading a book, we find ourselves flashing back to an earlier conversation. We worry about what we said and who might have been offended by it. Or we imagine what we should have said, or will say next time.
This is a stressful way to think! It isn't healthy for our relationships. And with everyone so immersed in social media all the time, it's only getting worse.
Exercise: Choose an Activity to Help You Stay Present.
Certain activities help us improve our mental ability to live in the present moment. Some include:
Yoga. Yoga involves stretching your body into certain poses that you hold still for while breathing deeply. This is extremely good for calming the mind, easing nervous tension, and putting your parasympathetic nervous system into a restful state.
Meditation. Meditation is difficult for some people to understand. This is because they've never tried it. All that meditation really involves is fixating your gaze and your thoughts on a single focal point, and breathing. It's easier to meditate after you've released some tension with a yoga session first.
Spending time outdoors. When we're inside for hours at a time, we are away from natural light and likely exposed to computers for too long. Stepping away from the screen and into the natural world is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Nature is extremely grounding and will bring you into the present moment.
If you find yourself constantly flashing backward into the past and forward into the future, feeling restless and unsatisfied, you may want to question why this is happening.
To discover why, journal your day's activities. Write down every little thing you do, as you remember it.
¨ How often did you find yourself mentally stuck in the future or the past?
¨ How many times did you engage in compulsive activities like checking messages or scrolling feeds?
Make a list of grounding activities you might like to try to get you back to the present. Working with your hands could be a mindful activity for you. Which of these appeals to you?
¨ Handicrafts - sewing, knitting, crocheting, latch hooking, weaving, needlepoint, and other
¨ Woodworking - building with wood, carving wood, etching wood
¨ Sculpting - working with clay, pottery making
¨ Fine arts - painting, drawing, pastels, coloring
¨ Breadmaking - working with dough
¨ Gardening - turning over beds, planting, weeding, harvesting
Select an activity from above that you might enjoy. Set aside an hour each day to partake in this pastime.
See how you feel afterward. Are you able to slow down and stay in the present?
May You Be Well