Do you live in the past, the present, or the future? Depending upon where you are living, you may be creating unnecessary stress in your life.
Living in the past is like standing at the back of a boat, seeing all the turmoil the wake creates and believing that is what is powering the boat. That is putting your energy is something that is gone. That is putting your energy in the flotsam of your life…in something that cannot be changed. That is stressful!
Living in the future is living in the what-ifs. Unless you do have that crystal ball that foresees all, you are putting your energy into a guessing game with unknown answers and outcomes. Trying to plan for every contingency can make you nuts. Unpredictable and uncertain is stressful!
Living in the present is all there is. I don’t expect to drop dead at my computer, but this second is all I know for sure…and this second…and this second. All we have is the here and now. Worrying about the past or what may or may not come is stressful! Sure, the present may not be so comfortable, but you can work to create an attitude about the now which gives you control over how you respond to your current situation. Your response to a situation can make the difference between something stressful and something you value for how it can ‘grow’ you. Also, if you are not living in the present, you are losing it, losing moments you can’t get back.
One of the easiest ways to bring yourself to the present moment is to focus on your breath. Meditation teachers usually start there…teaching breathing techniques, getting their clients to be conscious of each breath taken in the now as a way of centering and letting go. You don’t have to breathe into a paper bag to realize the calm that breathing can create. Try the ‘double out’ breathing technique. Breathe through your nose for a count of 2, 3, 4, 5…whatever is comfortable for you. Exhale through your mouth, taking twice as long to let the breath out as it took to take it in. If you inhale, for 2 counts, exhale for 4 counts. Inhale for 4, exhale for 8 and so on. This can be done at your desk, in traffic, before a big meeting or interview, and definitely in bed before you go to sleep. (It can help lower blood pressure as well!)