In this quest of trying to be as happy as can be on a daily basis, I’ve been thinking a lot lately of how much time we spend everyday daydreaming of the future, and not paying much attention to what we should be giving our full attention to which is the exact same thing we are doing right now. To give you an example how many times when you are having a nice quiet dinner with a friend, or family instead of being there 100% enjoying that moment you start pulling out your phone, checking your social media sites or email, or start texting some other friends about what you are going to do later in the evening. This used to happen to me a lot before I starting acknowledging it, and it happens in every situation, on Tuesday’s you are already thinking of the weekend, in October you are wishing for your December vacations to be here already and so on.
Don’t get me wrong, making plans for the future and being exited about an upcoming activity is all well, the problem begins when we stop living and enjoying the present moment. For all we know this very moment right now is all we have, so instead of wasting it being preoccupied with an unknown future make sure you enjoy every second of it. Be 100% mindful of what you are doing every day, if you are at work enjoy this time and be grateful that you have a job that pays the bills, if you are just sitting reading this on your phone, enjoy this exact moment and be totally happy that you have some free time and a good Internet connection. The moment you realize that life is much simpler than we make it seem you start enjoying every second of it and start living more intensively.
To get to the point I found this article from Harvard that says “People spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy. So says a study that used an iPhone Web app to gather 250,000 data points on subjects’ thoughts, feelings, and actions as they went about their lives.” “A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” (link) I don’t know about you, but I fall victim of this almost on a daily basis, we want something so bad in the future that we can’t seem to stop thinking about it until we get there, the problem is that we are always wanting something in the future so if we continue thinking like this we will never be happy. I assure you at some point in the past you were wondering about something that you currently have or have done, maybe it was the place you are currently living, the car or phone you currently have, etc, the point is now that you got whatever it was that you were spending time wondering about, did you stop wondering, NO!, now you have new things to think about in the future so this is a never ending process unless we do something about it.
Here are 3 steps to get your mind wondering less about the future and start living more right now!
1. The first step is to accept that we do wonder about the future all the time, once you do you will become aware of it every time you do it. Don’t punish yourself or feel bad about it, we all do it and it’s a normal thing to do, as you become more aware of your thoughts you will be able to better handle them.
2. Take time to think about the future, yes actually set some time on a regular basis, could be a couple of minutes everyday, sit down and write or plan whatever it is that you want in the future. Are you planning on buying a new house, take this time to search for it online and wonder about it, thinking a lot about taking a vacation next month, great take this time to plan for it and think about it all you want, after all if you are giving yourself time to think about the future you are in fact living the present moment by thinking of the future, how cool is this!
3. Now that you put some time into thinking about the future and gave yourself time to wonder all you wanted, now is time to be mindful of what you do every moment of every day in your life. I guarantee that once you start doing this you will become more appreciative of the things you do and have and will start living a more productive and happier life. One of the many things I always tell people is to always be looking for the positive outcome out of every situation, be grateful for everything that you do. Live and give 100% of you attention to the present moment, live intensively in the present, enjoy whatever it is that you are doing every single minute of your life!
It is sad but many people wait to start living mindfully of every moment once they have a “wake up call” due to a sickness or the loss of a loved one, or simply when they find out that they let life go by without enjoying the everyday simple moments it brings. Do not let this happen to you, be aware of every moment and every action in your life, enjoy and be grateful for every experience that you get to experience in this life.
Best of all is that once you start practicing living in the present and being aware of it you immediately become better at whatever it is that you are doing all the time. Your skills might improve because now you are devoting 100% of your energy in a single activity, your social relationships improve as well because you are giving 100% of your attention to the people you spend time with.
I leave you with this awesome song from Jason Mraz about living in the moment