Insanity can be defined as the state of being seriously mentally ill; madness; extreme irrationality; or repeating the same behavior over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Procrastination, compulsive shopping, drinking or eating too much are just some of the behaviors many people repeat over and over even after having promised themselves next time would be different. You tell yourself that you will think rationally about these things next time but when the time comes, you impulsively do what you've always done. So how can we change that?
Today I'm going to talk about living in the present. To live in the present means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift. Living in the present helps you take control of the behaviors, thoughts and actions that hinder you from growing by placing your attention and focus on the task at hand. Think about it...if you struggle with procrastination, being present means that you are focusing on what you need to do and that task will remain your focus until it is completed. If you tend to shop compulsively, by practicing being present you are able to stop yourself from buying things you don't need because you have taken the time to put thought into what you are doing in order to make a more rational decision.
"If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been,
you will ignore what is."
Here are 10 steps for defeating insanity by living in the present.
Breathe. Stop and take 3 deep breaths before proceeding with the task at hand. Being aware of your breathing helps slow down your heart rate and provide a sense of calm.
Be a minimalist. Remove unneeded possessions. Can someone say Spring Cleaning? Physical clutter turns into mind clutter. Having an uncluttered space helps provide a sense of tranquility.
Smile. This is one of my favorites and I teach it to my own family members all the time! The simple act of smiling triggers the release of mood-boosting neurotransmitters that help elevate your mood. Smiling basically tricks your body into thinking you are happy. Tell me that's not some cool stuff?
Forgive the past. By failing to forgive past hurts, you are setting yourself up to fail moving forward and to be present in the moment. Forgiveness is a personal choice but when you take that step you will feel a great sense of freedom.
Do one thing at a time. Ok, I will admit that I am often guilty of "multitasking." I feel like I do it ALL the time. However, to live in the present means that your attention is not divided between 5 or 10 different things. Being in the present means that your attention is 100% on the task at hand.
Do less. Take on less projects at work, say no to some requests for volunteer work, make a list of what you need to do and do one thing at a time. Being present means that you are focusing on being in the moment for each task. If you have too many things going on at the same time, you cannot give each of them your undivided attention.
Meditate. To meditate means to focus one's mind for a period of time as a method of relaxation or to think deeply or carefully about something. If you struggle with just sitting to meditate, try doing a mindless task such as washing the dishes or cleaning out your dresser. The goal is to put your full attention into the task, concentrating on it, and taking your time to complete it.
Spread love. Do something nice for someone everyday. Smile at strangers. Hold the door open for the person behind you. Pay for someone's meal at the drive thru. Compliment someone. Spreading love will not only help you be present and uplift your spirits but it will also help the receiver to feel loved. It's a win-win!
Avoid worrying about the future. Sometimes we are so worried about the past or the future that we miss the present. Take time to be aware of and experience the present.
Daily gratitude. The first 5 to 10 minutes of your day should be devoted to daily gratitude. This involves writing down what you’re grateful for. Even if you feel like you have nothing to be grateful for, find something. Don't just think about what you are grateful for, write/type it out.
There you have it...10 steps for defeating insanity.