practice being present

Living in the Present Boosts Happiness

 

If you are depressed you are living in the past.

If you are anxious you are living in the future.

If you are at peace you are living in the present.  – Lao Tzu

How many times have you thought? If I had just done this, my life wouldn’t be this way. Or, what if I don’t have enough money someday? What if I can’t survive?

If you’ve had similar thoughts as these, you are not living in the present. You are either living in the past, or you’re living in the future. Either one of these means you’re depressing yourself or making yourself anxious.

“How is that working for you?”

If you’re feeling these ways, it’s obvious it’s not working well for you. You’re not happy. You probably spend many of your days searching for happiness. You try to change the past in some way, or you are doing what you can to prepare for the future. In either case, you end the day feeling just as crummy as you started or you may temporarily feel better, but then end up feeling a similar way the next day.

If you don’t like the way you’re running your life, it’s time to change it. Changing it may end up making you happier than you ever imagined changing the past or protecting the future would make you.

Living in the Present

The first thing you need to do is start living in the present. This means stop thinking about the past and working on it. What you need to do is focus on what you have to do today – not what you SHOULD have done yesterday. Do what you have to do today – that’s it.

The same goes for those of you who have a tendency to focus on the future all of the time. Yes, the future needs some preparation such as setting up a retirement account. However, the future doesn’t need to be dwelled upon. Simply thinking about what needs to be done today and doing it suffices.

How to Do It

Make a list of what you NEED to do today. As you go about your day, be sure to focus on the tasks you have to do, and don’t allow yourself to get distracted by thinking about the past or the future. You just need to do the tasks for today. Close your eyes and imagine what that would feel like for you – just being able to do what you need to do today. Chances are, it feels so relieving and good inside. It may just give you some motivation to get those tasks done in much less time.

If you’re looking for additional help, please contact me. I am a personal consultant who helps people like you with situations such as these. We can work together to create a life that will make you much happier.

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Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M. Licensed Psychotherapist (Retired)

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