The quest for happiness is an appreciation of the present moment. It’s not longing for something in the future nor regretting or longing for the past. It’s being OK with who and where you are right now.
If we let our minds live in the past or future and our body in the present, we’re unhappy. Guaranteed.
We can’t always keep our mind in the present. There’s value in reflection and planning, but it’s a state to enter in and out of and not reside. Entering the past and future thoughts is easy, but it’s often hard to get back to the present. The key is finding things to truly appreciate in your life right now. And that can be a tall task especially if life is challenging at present:
- a job loss
- a death
- a disease
- a poor marriage
- an addiction
But longing for things to be different or regetting what got you there is not helping. The idea of being in the present moment is to cultivate an appreication of yourself and not focus on the negative. Ask yourself:
- How do you want to show up to face these challenges?
- What can you be grateful for? Even if the gratefulness is as simple you having the ability to recognize the fact that your mind is not present. What could you do to enrich this moment now for you or for others?
- When have you been challenged before and not let your mind run wild? What worked?
- What’s stopping you from appreciating the present moment?
- As your thoughts drift to stress about something upcoming, what could you bring them back to right now?
- When you enter into that argument with somebody from your past, what could you do to step out of it?
The sooner we live in the present moment, the happier we become. Not because the present moment is always awesome (and it some cases it might be very stressful), but we start developing the skills of allowing our minds not cling to the good and repel the bad. This creates addiction, denial and false sense of self. Challenges are all throughout life. Hiding from them won’t help. In fact, it will hurt.
With my clients, learning how to be in the present is a skill that we work on a great deal. It’s not a once-done thing. The mind wanders. That’s what it does. What we work on is learning how be kind to ourselves and skills to focus on the now, and not the what if.
Keep going. You showing up each day and doing your best is what counts.
Photo Credit (not me)