Living in the Moment Makes You Happier
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition & Job Search Coach | Stress Management, Sleep Science, & Holistic Wellness Coach
We all know that living in the past can drag a person down. Most of us have watched people we know make themselves miserable re-living the past. You can even make yourself sick rehashing a mistake from the past. People get lost in the “What if’s?” and “If only’s” that make up the regrets in their lives. It isn’t healthy. Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we have all done it to some extent. And we certainly recognize it when we see others doing it.
The same can go for trying to live in the future too much. Anticipating things that don’t happen can lead to disappointment. Worrying about things in the future that you have no control over is also just as bad for you.
We need a balance between learning from the past and preparing for the future. Living in the moment is something we should all focus on more, though, if we want to lead happy, healthy lives.
Living in the moment is the best way to be and stay happy. And here is why.
You Can’t Change the Past
Almost every one of us has regrets about something in our past. The fact is, though, that there is nothing we can do to change the past. What is done is done. Don't waste your moments regretting situations that are behind you. It is a much better use of energy for you to live in the moment. Of course, we should learn what we can from the past, but we need to learn to move on and live in the moment.
You Can’t Predict What the Future Holds
There is also no point in worrying about the future. You cannot predict what it will bring. You can only prepare to a certain extent for certain situations. Being fearful about what tomorrow holds only causes unnecessary stress. That stress will contribute to the potential of health and mental problems down the road.
My mother is an excellent example of worrying. She worried about all sorts of things that never happened. She was always bracing herself for the worst. Sadly, she experienced the worst when my dad died in an accident. She had, in fact, worried about that happening. And then it did. The thing is her worrying about it didn't keep it from happening.
When the worst possible thing finally happened to her, she was furious. She was angry with my dad for dying and leaving her. And she was mad at God, too. She had prayed and "put it in his hands," and in her opinion, God had failed the test. It was hard to decide at times whether she was more angry at my father or God. But the truth was she was teed off at both of them.
She was so mad, in fact, that she eventually made herself sick with colon cancer.
That is what stress that is left unchecked can do to your body. She didn’t see that coming. But it served as a wake-up call. She realized she needed to let go of her anger and resentment at last. Instead, she needed to spend her time and energy in the present moment. She needed to concentrate on getting herself well. And she did! She lived for another 26 years after that incident. And while she was always sad and missed my dad for the rest of her life, her health scare woke her up. She expressed less anger and resentment. She became more accepting. But she remained a worrier the rest of her life. She was always trying to anticipate the next shoe dropping. She let many moments slip by when she might have been able to enjoy her life more had she been more focused on the moment.
Live in the moment and choose to make the present your focus.
Instead of fearing repercussions of your choices on your future, make decisions based on your life right now. This will reduce possible tendencies towards depression and unreasonable fear.
Living in the Moment Forces You to Be Present
When we think more about the past or the future than the present, we ignore what is right in front of our eyes. Maybe your present involves a work project that demands your full attention. Perhaps your present consists of caring for small children. Maybe your present requires you to concentrate on healing from an illness.
When you embrace your present, you will get more out of your life.
You will also be able to stop sabotaging your present joy. When we fear what may come next, we can't be fully present in the moment. The same is true if you yield to feeling the guilt about decisions that are now in the past.
Be thankful for the people in your life right now.
Also be thankful for the opportunities that are knocking on your door at this very moment. The moments you learn to cherish and be present to will enhance your experience of the present. And they will enhance your future with the warm memories you will carry there. Moreover, you will have no regrets over misplaced focus.
Having a Balanced Outlook
Living in the present is essential to your well-being and welfare. Having a balanced focus is important too. When you think about the future, make the plans that are necessary for you to enjoy that time later. After all, someday the future will be "in the moment." Don’t neglect your planning for the future. But don’t let it consume your life in an unhealthy way, either. Balance is the key, and it will help you manage your stress better, too.
Living in the moment is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself
It takes a little bit of practice, though. We tend to get lost in our thoughts, and those thoughts may be of the past, or they may be of the future. Happiness is achieved when we choose to live and enjoy where we are right now. Avoid pining away for a different time and place. By using the time and the life you are given right here and now, you will learn to know true happiness.
Until next time.
Are you experiencing joy in your current job or career? Or do you awake in the mornings with a sense of dread?
Studies indicate that up to 70% of Americans are unhappy in their careers. They are just going through the motions. They don't feel any passion and they don't feel that they are fulfilling their purpose in their current jobs.
If you happen to fall into the 70%, perhaps it is time to do something about it. I have thought a lot about this whole idea of "purpose and passion." There are some naysayers who scoff at the idea that you can live a life of purpose and passion in your career.
I am not one of those people.
In fact, my purpose is centered on helping people identify their passion and purpose and connect it to a career path that feels fulfilling and satisfying.
If you want to make the most of your future, join me for a new, live (free) Master Class on how to identify your purpose and passion and connect them to your career. See the registration information below. Join me on Saturday, July 28th, at 11 AM EST.