Do you often spend time thinking about the future, or reminiscing on the past? If your answer is yes, then, unfortunately, you probably squandered tons of precious seconds being in the present moment. The good news is: you are not alone.
We often let the present moment slip away since we spend too much time worrying about the future or being stuck in the past. “Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” Yes, this quote may be overused, but it is true. We need to live more in this moment, right now. Here are some tips on how to help you ground yourself and stay in the present.
Stop thinking about your performance.
You may have experienced something similar to this: during the prom, you felt somewhat uncomfortable on the dance floor because you felt like other people were judging your dance moves. You did your best to handle your limbs, but you found out it made you even more awkward. This is a great example of how thinking too hard about what you’re doing actually might actually make you do worse. When you find yourself embarrassed when dancing or giving a presentation, start focusing more on what’s happening around you, such as music, and less on what’s going on in your head.
Relish in what you’re doing at the present moment.
We often compare and contrast so much that we get trapped in a cycle of thoughts of the future or the past. For example, when you sip coffee, you often compare the taste with cups you had before and think that the coffee doesn’t quite compare to the day before. That will probably influence you to worry about the future — will my next cup of coffee taste even worse? The probability that your next cup of coffee will taste even worse is only one in three, but the feeling of the moment is 100%! People experience more happiness and positive feelings when they actively savour something they usually hurry through, such as eating a meal and drinking a cup of tea. That’s because savouring forces you into the present.
Feel free to lose track of the task.
Sometimes we feel that time passes very slowly, and sometimes we feel that time passes very quickly. When we are fully engrossed in what we are doing, we often lose track of everything around us, including time. When you are focused, distractions such as time, scent and even exhaustion cannot penetrate. Therefore, it’s good to keep your attention narrowed and only focus on the task. This is when you may experience your awareness merge with the action you’re performing, and you become totally in control of the situation.
We live in the age of distraction. As professional long-term care staff, we are sometimes unable to move on from the guilt of the past. Just remember, there is only now. Live in the moment!
#THERAPEUTICTHURSDAY, Let’s Talk About Mental Health and Support Resources!
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Every Thursday, CareStory will discuss mental health issues that long-term care and hospice caregivers may face.
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