How can I reduce my stress levels?
Posted on 13th December 2022 at 15:23
Where is your head at right now?
Is it completely focused on the here and now as you read this article? Or is it skipping forwards a couple of hours, days or even weeks trying to prepare for a future problem or event?
This drive to plan ahead and prepare for every eventuality (whether it’s likely to happen or not) is built into our core as human beings. But, the pressure of always focussing on what could or might happen in the future can leave us feeling worried and stressed in the present, meaning we’re more likely to miss the good things when they occur.
So, what does it actually mean to be present in the moment?
To be present in the moment is to pay attention to the here and now without letting worry, stress, regret or a wandering mind distract you from living in the moment.
It all sounds easy right, and the people who have mastered this make it look so easy.
But don’t be fooled. Living completely in the moment is a skill that can take years to get good at. Especially when a lot of your life depends on you being able to juggle multiple thoughts at once. Your job, for example, might rely on you to be great at planning ahead, preparing for the worst case scenario or managing multiple projects at once.
Being present in the movement isn’t an easy feat. But, there are lots of small tweaks you can make to your day to make sure that you are there and present in the moments that really matter.
We spend a lot of our time on autopilot. Think about it, when was the last time you were really present on your walk to work or brushing your teeth or taking that first sip of coffee in the morning? When we’re on autopilot these are all things that completely change our outlook on the day but we often overlook them. So, next time you pick up your cup of coffee, pause everything else that you’re doing and focus on how great that first sip feels without any distractions.
Meditate often for short periods of time
Meditation is a fantastic tool to recenter yourself in the moment when things are all starting to feel a bit overwhelming. One of my favourite meditations when I’m feeling like this is to take a moment, close my eyes and carry out a full body scan. Starting at the top of your head or the tips of your toes, take a minute or two to mentally scan how your body is feeling. By taking this moment to notice each ache, tightness or even your posture you’re focussing on the here and now and what's most important - you.
Stop complaints or negative thoughts in their tracks
One of my favourite techniques comes from Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. In it, he suggests;
“See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it.”
It’s so easy to get bogged down in the negatives so making sure you deal with those thoughts and emotions as and when they pop up means that you’re not only focussing on the present, but also that you’re not carrying this negativity forwards into the future.
These tweaks may all sound small, but their results quickly add up.
If you’re finding it difficult to be present in the moment and feel like your brain is constantly running at a million miles an hour, please get in touch. We’re here to help guide you back to enjoying the here and now.
Share this post: