Do you often find yourself thinking about what happened or went wrong yesterday, or what you have to do tomorrow?
When we think too much about yesterday, we miss out entirely on the present moment. While our body maybe present, our mind could well be thinking about your to do list for tomorrow.
It’s extremely easy and normal to get caught up in these thought processes because our brains are wired to focus on the negatives that have happened or could happen either side of the current moment. We end to live in fight or flight mode 90% of the time. By practicing mindfulness, we improve our self awareness of these thought processes and can slowly re train our mind to feel and be more present.
While staying present might not feel safe for some (those who have experienced trauma of any kind, need to check with a professional if practicing mindfulness is safe for them), for many of us, it can alleviate our anxieties of all past and future.
When it comes to letting go of the past, we must remind ourselves that we no longer have control me our previous actions. With the future, we must remind ourselves that it will be shaped by our current actions, that are created in the present moment.
Some tips to bring yourself back in the present moment, include re-engaging with your senses (taste, sight, hearing, smell, touch). You can quietly perform this Mindfulness exercise as you drink a cup of tea or coffee. Allow yourself to be fully immersed in the drinking experience.
Secondly, reconnect with your breathing. Notice if it is short or shallow? Take a few deep breaths (breathe in for 4, hold for 4 and exhale for 4), make your exhales longer to help you feel more relaxed. Our breathing is so important and yet we often take it for granted.
If we continue to incorporate these mini mindfulness exercises into our daily lives, we can reduce our stress levels as they happen and reduce our anxieties too.