Personal Insights: Focusing on the Present

Happy Friday to all!

This Friday wraps up a very good week for me. Not for any particular reason, as I didn’t experience a major holiday or significant life accomplishment this week, but I felt balanced during a majority of the week. I have been focusing intently on remaining present and keeping my emotions in control lately, so I wanted to share a few lessons and mantras that have helped me to find harmony in my consistent work schedule, home chores, a busy fiance, and messy pets.

Now I Am…

I read this somewhere a few weeks ago (I can’t remember where or I would definitely give them credit! I’m sure it was an author on Tiny Buddha or something of that nature) and it is a simple phrase that I remind myself of constantly throughout the day. in my head, I tell myself what I am doing at that very moment in order to help bring me back to the present with greater focus. For example, while taking a shower and letting my mind flutter around to all that there is to do today, I like to remind myself, “Now I am showering.” Sometimes I will repeat it a few times, each time focusing on a specific aspect of the shower.

“Now I am showering.” I can feel muscles loosening and warming up.

“Now I am showering.” I can feel the refreshing and revitalizing water awaken my body after a good night’s sleep.

“Now I am showering.” I can smell the clean, fresh scent of soaps and shampoos.

The “Now I am” brings me back to my life at any point. It is not a mantra that only works during times of stress or times of confusion; it is a simple reminder that can be used during every moment of your life, and that has made a huge difference for me.

I see the “Now I am” as a sort of beginner’s hack to being present. The idea of paying attention to exactly what you are doing during every moment in your life, the smell, the taste, the look, the feel, of everything, is what being present really is. And maybe someday I will be so present that “Now I am” phrases will simply be embedded in my subconscious thoughts, but first I must embed them while they are very conscious.

 

One Tab at a Time

And I mean this one literally. I work as a leasing agent at a desk, so I am on the computer a lot. One thing that I also recently read was about trying to keep just one tab open at a time on your computer in order to fully commit to whatever was on the screen at that moment. I have been working harder and harder (and becoming more and more successful with it) as time has progressed, and it has definitely helped me not only to stay present and happy and balanced during work hours where it is sometimes the most difficult, but it has also helped me to increase my productivity at work. When I overextend myself by multitasking, I spend so much extra time trying to remember exactly what I was doing or trying to transfer myself mentally back and forth between a few projects. In the end, I will need to complete those same projects regardless, so taking it one tab at a time has helped me to complete each project without spending any extra time or stress and trying to finish several projects simultaneously.

 

If You are Worried About Something, it is Because it is Too Early for You to be Thinking About It.

I had this realization all on my own this week, and it has been so fundamentally important for me for one huge reason: I am a worrier. I have never really felt the feeling of nostalgia, wishing that I could be back in a past moment, but instead I have always had an awful case of whatever-the-opposite-of-nostalgia-is. I am always thinking about the future, preoccupied with the excitement or the anxiety of upcoming events, rather than living in the simplicity of now. Because of that, I am never quite happy with many events that occur because they don’t fit in my perfect mental picture that I had for that future event, or because I am just so flustered by all of the worry that I just spent on that future event that I don’t know how to enjoy it once I’m there.

Instead of future-thinking so much, I have been trying really hard to stay present, to enjoy the lessons I learn from each and every little obstacle that pops up as well as to happily search for new problem solving techniques. At some random little point during this week, I felt a flashlight pop up above my head as this phrase passed through my brain: If I am worried about something that will happen in my future, it is just because I am thinking about it too far in advance. Worry occurs when we are too far from the problem to be able to actively do anything about it yet, but close enough to see it’s fearful impact. To help combat this worry, I have been working to simply focus on each moment before the worrisome event, and simply to take one step at a time without letting my anxious little mind wander to the event before I get to it. Once I am standing toe-to-toe with my problem, that is when I will know all of my options and when I can explore and choose a solution. It has helped me to eliminate stress in almost every problem that I have thought of this week, and I plan to implement this mantra for the rest of my life.

 

Do you have any mantras that have been particularly helpful for you this week? Any pieces of advice to share that have helped you to stay happy and balanced in everyday life?

 

P.S. My picture above may not seem to relate to the post, but it is a photo I took last summer of the beautiful little tomato plants in our community garden that always helped me to stay present when I looked at them 🙂

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