Q: How to Enjoy Life?
A: Live in the Moment.
Be here now. Be more mindful. Live in the moment…
These sentiments all express a similar motive: being present in your daily life.
Words like these get tossed around so much that they have almost lost all meaning. They conjure up images of pumpkin spiced lattes being purchased in yoga pants. Or sagelike kung fu cliches in 70s B movies, imparting vague but seemingly important knowledge on troubled youths who go on to save the day.
In reality, the simple wisdom contained in these oft-abused buzzwords (if practiced) can teach us how to truly live in the moment. Eliminate unhealthy preoccupations with the past and future. Make your life more joyful.
The present moment is quite literally the only thing that’s real. Everything else only exists in our minds. That’s why practicing mindfulness is so important.
To live joyous lives, we need to learn how to remain calm in the midst of turmoil. Be relaxed when work is stressful. Be patient with our loved ones. And ultimately, be understanding with ourselves.
Learning how to live in the present moment teaches us self-knowledge, wisdom, and self-awareness.
Be present. Be real.
Stop Living in the Past
You can’t change the past. No matter how much you dwell on it. You can ponder it, learn from it, and grow from it – but you can’t change it.
Depression often occurs when a person is stuck living in the past. They focus too much mental energy on the choices they’ve made (or failed to make). Over time, this pattern of overanalysis can overtake the mind and overwhelm the senses. This makes people depressed.
Bad things happen. We mess up. Sometimes feel hopeless. Sometimes we even make the same mistakes for years.
Our past defines us only as long as we allow it to. Instead of using the past as a scapegoat for present circumstances, a more productive approach is to acknowledge and learn from it. Put the past where it belongs. Use the lessons of past experiences to inform decisions made in the present.
If something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to change it. Learn to let go of attachments. Meditation is great for this.
You’ve got this, grasshopper.
Stop Worrying About the Future
The future does not exist. You can (and should) plan for it and be prepared for it – but keep in mind that the future only exists as an abstract idea. It hasn’t happened yet and most likely won’t unfold as you’ve imagined it.
Anxiety is depression’s ugly cousin. The main difference between depression and anxiety is, while depression is rooted in attachment to the past, anxiety is overly fixated on the future. When people spend too much time ruminating on future events they become anxious. Stay anxious too long, you develop an anxiety disorder.
The best way to feel good about the future is to prepare for it in the present. Rather than getting all worked up and worrying about it, a more proactive approach is to start planning. When you plan yourself for the future you position yourself to better handle any unforeseeable events that may arise.
This is productive.
Figure out what your needs are, now and moving forward, and make small but attainable goals that align with what is important to you. Make a commitment to yourself. Over and over – day after day. By breaking large goals into small goals, we lessen the burden of feeling like we have to scale Mt. Everest all at once. Rinse and repeat for any area of life that you want to improve.
It’s just that simple. But simplicity can be deceptive. Simple isn’t always easy.
It’s important not to confuse what is simple with what is easy. Easy is doing what you’ve always done. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, we could always be doing better. Knowing that, it’s important to be compassionate and understanding with ourselves and others while on this journeys.
We can do this by diligently practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness Definition – What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a mental state attained by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. As practitioners of mindfulness get more advanced, it is often practiced as a moral and philosophical system of guidance.
How to Practice Mindfulness
The best way to practice mindfulness is through meditation. There are many different styles and types of meditation. It’s best for each individual to find a mode of meditation that works for them. A good starting point is through mindfulness meditation.
Here’s a great starting point for learning how to practice mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is a simple practice that yields great strides in our journey towards being more present in our daily lives. By focusing our thoughts, feelings, and senses on the here and now, we are better able to focus on what truly matters to us. This practice takes self-discipline. You have to show up consistently for an undisclosed duration.
But over time, the effects of mindfulness meditation are transformative.
Practice Mindfulness through Reading
Reading is another great way to practice mindfulness. In our fast-paced smartphone world, I’m wagering that most of us tend to skim a lot.
We all know that you are what you eat. But we seem to forget that you are what you read. Garbage in, garbage out.
Make a commitment to yourself to read books to better yourself. Reading can help you develop new skills. It also improves focus and empathy. It’s like gymnastics for the mind.
By making a commitment to reading books that make you better, you will be improving the quality of ideas and language that you allow to enter into your reality.
Don’t overlook this concept. It’s huge. Don’t be a skimmer. Be the kind of reader that writers write for. Devour the language and ideas. Digest them so thoroughly that the concepts become the very fiber of your thought process. That is the very essence of mindfulness.
The entire history of human thoughts and ideas is available, for free, just about everywhere in the world. Ripe fruit just waiting to be plucked. Dive into the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of humanity. Again, it’s simple but isn’t always easy. But the easy thing is rarely the right thing to do.
Be intentional. Focus. Be mindful.
Who is NRhythm?
NRhythm is a sober living community in Nashville, TN. We seek to provide men recovering from substance abuse with the resources and support to overcome addiction. Our sober living program is specifically designed for men who desire to live their best lives.
Contact us today to become a member of the NRhythm family. Let your sobriety soar.