A little closer to feeling thankful for your now every day
Lao Tze said it, Osho said it, Benjamin Franklin said it — there’s probably an endless list of smart thinkers who in one way or another had something to say about living now instead of yesterday or tomorrow. And yet, we find ourselves dwelling in our past or dreaming of a future in which we’re finally happy and content.
We cannot say it’s completely useless to mentally travel back and forth. Past experiences are important to learn from and to get a sense of self.
Thinking of the future helps us to plan upcoming events and make decisions that (hopefully positively) influence our future self.
However, it is also true that “one today is worth two tomorrows” — as Benjamin Franklin said — since we are living now.
The question remains how do we become better at enjoying what we experience now?
Meditation is a way to sit still and experience the now consciously. The aim is to not get distracted and keep your mind still. And while the benefits of meditation are scientifically proven and clear — it’s surely not for everyone… or let’s say it takes a lot of practice that not all of us can/want to put in.
So, where to start? What could be easy to integrate into your everyday life that doesn’t need more than a few minutes?
What about practicing gratitude? Why not make it a habit to take 5–10 minutes each day and think about what you’re thankful for. There are a few ways to go about it. Chérie Carter-Scott describes the following ones:
Make a list each day of all that you are grateful for, so that you can stay conscious daily of your blessings. Do this especially when you are feeling as though you have nothing to feel grateful for. Or spend a few minutes before you go to sleep giving thanks for all that you have. Imagine what your life would be like if you lost all that you had.
Look for a gift in each challenging incident.
Spend time offering assistance to those who are less fortunate than you, so that you may gain perspective.
The above will help you to appreciate the present moment.
Include thinking and writing about what you are thankful for in your morning routine or tie it to another habit. It’s been shown that new habits are sticking best if you combine them with existing ones.
Start your new gratitude habit and keep doing it for a week. Then it’s time to take stock and ask yourself:
- What impact has practicing gratitude had on my mood?
- How much did practicing gratitude help me to enjoy the moment?
Consider if you want to change something about your gratitude routine and decide consciously if you will continue next week.
Carry on and see how your life changes.
Let me know how it works out for you and write me at carolin @ freedomxx.com