Mindfully Rejuvenating in the Present
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | February 2019 (edited 9-21-2021)
The present moment can rejuvenate when we mindfully experience the here and now, without the worries of tomorrow or regrets of yesterday
The present moment is exactly what it is. Moments don't just happen; they are constructed. At the foundation of each moment, lies all the proceeding moments. We can fiercely fight the present but not reject it; the moment still remains—just as it is.
As we accept the present with openness, curiosity, and kindness, the questions shift from, "why did this happen?" to "being this is the way it is, how shall I proceed?" By accepting the present instead of engaging in a bitter fighting of it, we free mental energy to discover new creative responses. We, then, may use the present moment to constructively build a better future; and not waste precious energy seeking vengeance on a past that is already gone.
"By accepting the present instead of the bitter fighting of it, we free mental energy for creative responses."
When grappling with the moment, we misdirect productive energy projecting blame, building resentments, and wallowing in self-pity. Our energy flow should productively be blazing a path to a flourishing future. When feeling helplessness against the challenges of the present, we get discouraged.
Reflection on the Past
Valuing the present moment isn't suggesting we don't plan for the future or learn from the past. Time travelling to the future and reflecting on the past each has value and dangers.
We may sorrowfully revisit past choices to identify where behavioral drifting began, valuable wisdom is gained through reminiscing; but regret also looms there. Reminisce with kindness, not self-condemnation; we are human, frail and imperfect. Time traveling to the past must be done with care to discover better how to better act in the present.
"You may not even realize it, but this tendency to get sucked into the past and the future can leave you perpetually worn out and feeling out of touch with yourself."
Courtney E. Ackerman
Planning for the future also is fraught with dangers but essential for wellness. Plans limit unnecessary downfalls, invite blessing that take days, months and years of work, and give value to sacrifices that have sizable payoffs.
The cognitive tasks of learning from the past and planning for the future can drain energy. Too much cognitive time travelling leaves us anxious, depressed, and unhappy. The cure is returning to the present, escaping the normal chatter of our mind, and mindfully dwelling in the eternal "now."
Books On Present Moment
Just as athletes must manage energy to perform at a high level for the entire race or game, we must budget mental resources. This means fretting over the past and worrying about the future must be limited, leaving enough energy for refueling in the present.
Present Moment Thinking is Science Backed
Courtney E. Ackerman explains, "Living in the present is not just an arbitrary term or a popular phrase—it’s a recognized and evidence-backed lifestyle that psychologists are quick to recommend for those struggling with anxiety and stress in their day-to-day life" (2021).
"An easy hack to do something mindfully is to do it slowly and bring your awareness to it."
So, yes, when life is speeding up, breaking our wellness barriers, we must slow it down. And we can only slow it down in the present. Push a pause button on the cognitive time travelling, feel the moment, enjoy the sounds, feel the warmth of the sun. Your problems are gracious, they'll wait for you to recharge. Our present moments may not be exactly as we would like, but each moment is richly endowed with calming remedies for our ailing souls.
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Ackerman, C. A. (2021). How to Live in the Present Moment. Positively Positive. Published 1-30-2021. Accessed 5-25-2021.