Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. – Buddha
Have you ever driven from Point A to Point B and not remembered the drive? Or have you ever got off the phone with someone and forget what you just talked about with them? Or have you ever been so worried and anxious about the future that you miss out on what’s happening in the present? You may even felt stuck like you can’t see a solution to a problem and all you think about is the problem and you miss what’s happening around you.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, you are peripherally participating in your life. Or said another way you’re not actually living your life, you’re not fully invested, you’re just going through the motions. But when you live this way, always on the outside rather than living on the inside, you live a life full of regret. And well, that just sucks.
When Thoughts Pull you in Different Directions, Do This
1. Be Present: This is where your life is actually happening
The present moment is the only thing you can control. Most should’ve statements come from not being present at that time: I should’ve stopped searching the web while I was on the phone, I should’ve listened to what the other person was saying, I should’ve not being texting while I was driving, I should’ve gone to the gym more but I’m always too busy.
You’re never too busy for what’s happening in your life right now at this very moment.
As a recovering anxious worrier (yup, that’s a bad combo), living in the present moment has changed my life. I no longer make up stories about what I think will happen or harp on the things I should’ve done. When someone is speaking to me I am fully present. And when worry starts to creep in I snap back to the present and go through all the things that are amazing in my life right now.
2. There’s a lesson in everything: a smooth sea never made a skilful sailor
It’s not a bunch of ‘woo-woo’ or BS, it’s science! Optimists and opportunists live a happier, healthier, more fulfilled life. Your brain grows when it is fed opportunity and possibility.
Just like a sailor about to battle a storm, you have no choice but to battle the storm. If you throw a temper tantrum because things aren’t going right, or you (or someone else) made a mistake it is inevitable that things will either get worse or stay that way. You’ll come out the other side of the storm more bruised and exhausted than you would if you just dealt with the card that was played like a Boss.
3. Live for more than the weekend!
There are 365 days in 2014, which means there are 52 Saturdays and 52 Sundays. If you’re only living for the weekends then what in the heck are you doing with the other 261 days?
Spice up your weekdays – go on dates, go out to dinner, make dinner with your loved one, go to the movies, play hookie, go to bed early, have a bubble bath, have lunch with a friend, get away from your desk and go for an afternoon walk outside or sit on a bench, listen to your favourite music, do something that you only save for weekends.
One thing I see a lot of in corporate environments is people complaining about being run down and exhausted and never being able to take a break, despite having accumulated about 4 weeks of vacation (with 1 week that was rolled over from the year before). TAKE YOUR VACATION. If you can’t take it all at once then break it up and take an extra day off here and there. Trust me when I say no one feels sorry for the guy who is complaining about the 4 weeks vacation he has no time to take.
So, wake up and start participating in the life you’re living!