Think about it. If we lived “in the now” all the time, we wouldn’t get much done.
Intellectually we know that things happen in the now. In fact, that’s the only place things happen. But we continuously fluctuate between thoughts about the future, past, and present all day long.
Common sense tells us that we need a balance.
If we spend too much of our attention outside of the now – in the future or in the past – then we risk not only missing the present, but we have a higher propensity toward anxiety, fear, and stress.
Why? Because we’re usually trying to change things in the past, or manipulating things in the future that don’t exist yet – both of which are completely futile.
And we know what too much anxiety and stress does to our body . . . ugh.
Speaking of body – let’s apply this past, present, and future thinking to when we are making strides to either change our body, or maintain a fit body that we’ve worked hard to get.
Focusing on the past helps us anazlyze the habits that have gotten us here. Remembering events or situations can help us identify road blocks.
Future-thinking is important because we need to visualize where we want to go. It’s got to be concrete for us in a five-senses kind of way (how does a fit body smell, anyway? I digress ;-)).
That’s where a lot of us stop.
We fluctuate back and forth, like a park teeter totter, between everything we’ve done up to now that we wish we wouldn’t have done (past), and how we think our lives will be when we finally reach that goal (future). The healthy food and workouts are simply a means to an end.
But, if we gave the present moment at least as much respect as we do the past and future, it can add gasoline to the body-changing fire.
Being in the now gives your mind a break – it doesn’t have to worry about what it shouldn’t have done in the past (“Man, you shouldn’t have eaten that!”), or about what it’s expected to make happen in the future (“After all this work, that scale better be down!”).
It only has to focus on the moment, which your mind can do effortlessly. The result is lower blood pressure and stress hormones. (Can you say bye-bye body fat?)
And it’s great for being able to tune into what your body tells you (full? stomach upset?). Remember, your body already has all the right answers. We just need to learn how to get quiet and listen.
So here’s the takeaway:
- Do a little inventory of which of the three your thoughts are in – past, present, or future.
- Estimate how much time you’re spending in each.
- You’ll likely find that you’re spending an overwhelming amount of time in the future.
- Carve out little chunks of time to be in the moment. Find your breath.
- Focus on what’s right in front of you. Stop and smell the flowers.
Over time you’ll experience better balance. You’ll have frequent breaks from stressful thoughts. You’ll savor the moments when things can just slow down. You’ll create an interval environment that fuels the healthy changes you want to make, or maintain.
You’ve got nothing to lose, and peace and balance to gain.
Love to hear your thoughts – leave me a voice message at the right.