Tricks for staying present—when you need it the most
Showering isn’t good for me; neither is putting on my makeup. Car rides are a big problem, even when there is a decent song on the radio. The thing is, I can’t be by myself for too long- well, at least while doing mundane tasks. I get lost. Whatever fantasy, memory or thought that is swirling around in my head is way more interesting than waiting for a friend to come back from the bathroom. Even during conversations I tend to… what? What was I saying? Oh, yeah, daydream. That’s what I do.
This is a bad habit, a really bad habit. First, life is all about the physical experience. Meaning, the here, the now, the touching, the feeling, the people around you. Second, those fantasies and ideas can just be plain distracting (did I mention that thing about life being a physical experience?). Finally, sure all those thoughts are fun now, but they tend to lead to more thoughts and more thoughts that almost always lead to worrying. Anxiety, fears and nonsense scenarios that haven’t actually happened seem to creep their way from the deepest depths of Who-Knows-Where-sylvania just to make me feel frustrated and stuck.
Now, we don’t want that. Nobody wants that. So how do we get out of it? Meditation is cool. Meditation is very cool. I say you do meditating. Focusing on your breath. In, out. You get it. But sometimes you need a “right here, right now” fix. Trust me, I’ve been there before so I’ve got your back.
Using the senses
The senses are a helpful tool. When you notice your brain going off, stop. Focus on the that’s song playing, the sight of the tree on the corner of the street, even the weird smell emitting from the air vents of your car. Wait, there’s a weird scent coming from your car? You should get that checked, dude. If you’re eating alone, and you find yourself in a daydreaming haze, stop. Focus on that delicious sandwich you ordered from your favorite cafe, because darn it, you deserve the deliciousness. It’s not just time to be in the present moment, It’s treat yo’ self time.
Do something. Anything!
Night is another problem for me. The day’s work is done, meals have been eaten, so… what’s next? Look at my phone? Check Twitter to see if I’ve gotten a notification on that hilarious tweet? Do nothing until I get lost in the idea of the glamorous and star-studded wedding I’m going to have someday with Chris Pine? No to all of the above! Instead, I read, write, or draw. Yeah, I’ve got hobbies, and you should get some too. Read a book, write a book, or dance around in your undies until you get sleepy. Get it done, girl.
Say Something Nice
You’re thinking about a situation where you did or said something awkward. Something you shouldn’t have said. The negative talk has set in. I’ve been there, friend. Don’t worry, we’ll get out of this together. First thing’s first, you have to stop. I know it’s hard. I know the bad feels are addictive, but you got to kick this habit stat. So take that deep breath and think these magical thoughts: I release this situation with love and blessings. It’s over, it does not define me. I am free of it. I now choose to focus on the present moment (shout out to Louise Hay and her masterful affirmation tricks). Then do that thing where you use your sense to focus on the here and now, because you deserve it.