I get anxious a lot. Since having kids, it’s gotten much worse. I think all of the jugglings of the daily tasks has turned me into a much tenser person. This increased anxiety is not good for me, my kids or my marriage. It makes all of us stressed and on edge. This week, I realized its all becoming too much and I need to be more present in my life. I need to learn to let go of the anxiety and live for the moment. It is very hard, but I hope these five tricks can help me be more present in my life.
To be clear, I am no mental health expert. I read articles about this stuff because I want to be better, for myself, and for my family. If you’re having extreme anxiety or difficulty functioning in your life, I highly suggest you seek medical help. These tips are only meant as ideas to help you consider ways to live a more present and happy life. I don’t know if they will work for you, but I’m going to give them a try! It is very hard to live in the moment, but I hope these five tricks can help me be more present in my life.
1. Pay Attention to Your Breath
I read in this article that the only two constants are change and breathing. This struck me. We can’t control everything around us, but taking a breath and really thinking about the breath can bring a sense of calm. Breathing in and out through the nose brings on relaxation.
2. Ask Yourself What You’re Doing Right Now
To be present in the moment, stop and ask yourself what you’re currently doing. The last few days, I’ve tried much harder to stop my brain from wandering and simply stopped my thoughts and concentrated on my kids.
Just this morning, I was running around the house like a crazy woman, getting lunches ready, breakfast ready, etc. Then I stopped. I stood there, watching my daughter as she was dancing to a song that my husband was playing in the background. It was the most precious thing. Not only to watch her exploring her body and enjoying the music but to be present and witness her joy.
3. Let Go of the Past and the Future
When you want to be more present, you have to just live in that moment. You have to let go of the past, let go of the future, and forget about all of your worries. This. Is. Hard. I’m starting very small with this one. I have the toughest time of letting go of my to-do list after work. It’s the time when I should be doing laundry, cooking, meal prepping, giving the kids a bath, writing my next blog story, etc. etc. However, there is never a time where I let this list go. It haunts me at work, on my commute and when I should be more present with my kids.
As I write this, I made a deal with myself. After my kids eat dinner and they put on their PJs, I’m going to force myself to let go of that list for the hour I have with them before bed. It’s a small step, but it is the only opportunity I have with them during the weekdays to get uninterrupted quality time. I’m going to carve out that hour to be there for them. Talk to them, read to them, just be with them. I’m going to put my phone away and I’m going to just be. I’m sure many thoughts and new to-do-list items will pop into my head, but that’s when I’ll try to return to my breath and remember why I’m doing this – so I don’t miss these precious moments with my kids.
4. Experience Nature
One of my favorite things about my new job and commuting in #Boston is getting to walk a lot more. I love exploring the little neighborhoods around campus. Today I got to see these beauties 🌻🌻🌻 . #bostonblogger #bostonlife #bostonblog #bostonmom #commuting #commutinglife #walking #sunflowers #sunflower #newjob #citylife
One of the best parts about moving to Boston is that I commute to work. I know that might sound odd, but I really enjoy my commute for two reasons. First, I get to walk a lot more to/from the train station. During that time, I regularly pay attention to the changing leaves, the billowy clouds in the sky, and the flowers planted along the path. Even in this very urban environment, I get to experience nature on a daily basis. There are a lot of health benefits to being in nature. I wrote this article about the importance of letting your kids experience nature, but it holds true for adults too!
5. Find Time to Meditate (or to be quiet or to be alone)
Meditation gets a bad rap as too crunchy or self-indulgent, I think. When I refer to meditation, I actually just mean time to be quiet, to be alone with your thoughts and to try to be present. The other reason I really enjoy my commute to work is that I get 25 minutes of pure alone time on the train to/from work. I often listen to music, catch up on social media, or just sit there and stare out the window. Even though it is not traditional meditation, for me, it is calming, balancing and re-centering.
If you need some ‘me time’ activities, I wrote an article about that earlier this year.
This list is not exhaustive – I’m sure there are other things you can do to be more present. For me, this article is a jumping off point and a self-experiment to see if I can be more present in my daily life. I’ll keep you posted!
Do you have other mindfulness techniques that help you live in the present? I’d love to hear about them.