People these days seem to be living extremely busy lives, working hard to make ends meet and repeating the same cycle day on day of ‘eat, work, sleep’. The word stress is mentioned more than ever and we are continually bombarded and distracted by the many diversions that are present in life such as social media, current political situations etc.
It seems that the way society functions is by living anywhere but in the present moment. People are either living in the past going over old memories which can consequently bring up feelings of pain or regret. Or alternatively, people are in the future, worrying about how they will create the life that they want, leaving them feeling fearful and stressed.
However, what I have come to discover is that being anywhere other than here in this present moment causes us to be in pain. It’s normal to drift in and out of different states and to be moving between the different time frames of past memories, future scenarios and being in the moment. The difficulty arises when we find ourselves constantly in the past or future and not truly experiencing what is happening for us right now. This means that rather than being present in our bodies, we are in our minds pondering over what could have been and what could be.
I used to be a heavy planner. It was required for the jobs I had in the corporate world and it easily translated into my daily life where I planned my holidays, outings etc. Over time I begun to see that having goals and being very attached to the outcome was causing me a lot of stress. I didn’t trust myself to handle/cope with situations were they to turn out differently to what I was hoping for. As a result, in order to mitigate this fear of the future, I tried to control it instead. And as it’s impossible to control our outer world, this created additional stress, worry and fear. All of this was a result of overthinking and fear-based thoughts.
What has come to me recently however, is that perhaps uncertainty is meant to be a part of our lives. Maybe we’re not meant to do anything about it but instead accept it. And as much as we may want certain things in our lives, if we’re really meant to have them then we will. Nature, the universe, life (whatever you may want to call it) has a way of providing us with whatever we need though perhaps not always what we want. As much as life is about joy and pleasure, it is also about learning and experience. Getting what we want doesn’t always serve our highest good and our purpose for being here.
After coming back from a few weeks’ holidays last month, I noticed that I had had a change in perspective. Prior to my break, I hadn’t even realised that I had been stressed. It was only when I came back that I saw the change in my outlook; that worrying about a future which I had no control of was pointless and the best way forward was to be here now in the present moment. Yes, I believe we have control over certain things in our lives, such as daily decisions about what to eat, routes to take etc. But overall, life can throw us curve balls that we had never expected and all the planning in the world would not have prepared us for it.
So my approach now is to live each moment (as much as I can), to be here now. I still have my goals and desires; however, I have let go of how it will look and arrive into my life. Doing so has freed up my time to be more present in life and to enjoy what is around me. I trust that when the time is right to act, I will get the intuitive nudge to do so and this will lead to the right things to come in my life. I have seen this time and time again but it never seemed to really click within me until now. Perhaps it was difficult at the time to fully let go, to believe that I could do that and know that whatever happened I would be safe and well. We’ve been so conditioned to believe the opposite that it takes time to acknowledge and see that a different way of living is possible.
If you’re ready to reduce your stress and leave your worrying behind, try these techniques to start your shift to living in the present: