We live in a fast-paced society. We are often regularly looking for the next interaction, the next social event, the next thing we need to get done for work, or the next activity for our children. We are consistently looking forward to the next thing, while planning whatever comes next. Compounding this issue is technology, which is creating a society of instant gratification and immediate access. Because of this, it is extremely difficult to stay in the present.
However, when it comes to mental health issues or substance use disorder and addiction issues, we know staying in the present is of vital importance. Many mental health issues such as anxiety and depression focus on the past or the future, while most addiction issues stem from looking to escape the present moment and feelings that take place in the here and now. Therefore, for those individuals suffering from addiction and mental health disorders, as well as anyone looking to live a mindful, production, happy, purpose-driven life, it is important to figure out ways to be present in the moment and in life in general.
How to be More Present in Your Life:
Breathing techniques and practices.
Breathing and mindfulness are connected, and mindfulness helps us live in the present moment. Living in the present, moment by moment, helps us be present in our lives. Here are 5 types of mindfulness breathing exercises you can do throughout the day. Some can be done wherever, whenever, while it can also be helpful to schedule a time in the morning, during the day, and in the evening, where these breathing exercises become a habit or routine.
- Mindful Breathing
- Deep Breathing
- Counting Breaths
- Energizing Breaths
- 2-4 Breathing
Meditation is engaging in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness and connectivity. Meditation offers a sense of calm, peace, and balance that can benefit emotional well-being, mindfulness, mental acuity, and physical health. Meditation is best practiced daily, often in the morning and in the evening, to begin and end the day. There are many ways to learn meditation, and many available apps that can be helpful.
Purposeful decisions on self-care and time management
We all know self-care is important. So is time management. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be good for anyone else. And if we don’t manage our time well, we certainly will become overwhelmed and stressed out, which will be a detriment to our physical, mental, and emotional health. Therefore, being purposeful in our decision making regarding our own self-care and time management is crucial. Creating a calendar, setting boundaries at work and with friends and family, being mindful of the need to take care of ourselves- all of these can be helpful in terms of our self-care and time management. However, we must be purposeful in these choices and in our decisions. Our own care and time must be accounted for, in order for us to be our best and perform our other duties and responsibilities to our optimal level.
Challenge your own negative self-talk, thoughts, and belief system
We all suffer from some form of negative self-talk. We aren’t good enough. We aren’t smart enough. People don’t like us. Many of us also deal with negative thoughts throughout the day. This could be about us, our lives, or just in general looking at things from a glass-half-empty perspective. Thinking “things never work out for me” or comparing ourselves negatively to others. Also, many of us operate from a negative belief system. A good way to stay present is to challenge this type of negative self-talk, thoughts, or belief system. Find ways to think differently or positively. Positive affirmations help. So do recognizing when these negative thoughts or feelings occur, and objectively assessing them. Finding ways to see the positive things and find gratitude whenever and wherever possible. Continue doing this and it will become habitual. Create positivity and positive things occur.
Pay attention and practice doing so
Many of us can relate to social media memes where someone asks another person their name and then immediately forgets it. Many of us wish we could pay attention and really listen when someone else is talking. This happens in other instances too, like getting distracted by our cell phones or not paying attention in class because we are texting with our friends. In order to stay present in the moment, we need to practice staying in the moment and focusing on the things that are happening right in front of us. Make an honest effort to be present in conversations; put away our phones or tablets when we don’t need them and shouldn’t have them; put focus and energy on work when working and focus and energy on family and friends when we are with them. If this is difficult, take steps to try to support your efforts. However, we need to be mindful and purposeful in our actions and our interactions.
Happiness, fulfillment, and joy come in the present moment, and our lives are lived moment to moment. The past is in the past and the future hasn’t happened yet. We live in the here and now. Now is where we find happiness. Now is where we find joy. Now is where we can be loving and compassionate and brave. It is in between the moments of past and present that our lives occur, so we must take steps to live within that present moment. The more we can do so, the better our lives will be for it.
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.