NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT

FROM MED­I­TA­TION TO BE­ING THANK­FUL FOR THE LIT­TLE THINGS, THESE FIVE TRICKS WILL HELP YOU LIVE IN THE MO­MENT

Central and North Burnett Times - - WEEKEND - KELLY REN­NIE Kelly is a per­sonal trainer, mother and au­thor of Busy Mum Syn­drome. She spe­cialises in on­line train­ing pro­grams for busy mums, which have earned praise from Kate Mid­dle­ton. READ MORE AT busy­mum­fit­ness.com

We all have jobs and to-do lists, re­grets about the past and wor­ries about the fu­ture, but we owe it to our­selves to spend more time in the mo­ment.

When we be­come present in the right here and right now we feel a deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion for our ex­is­tence. If only for a sec­ond, we es­cape the thoughts and judg­ments of our minds and re­ally live. Then the ques­tion be­comes: how can we stay present for longer? Try the tech­niques be­low to keep your­self out of your head and in the mo­ment where you be­long.

1. BE­COME AWARE OF YOUR BREATH

We in­hale and ex­hale all day with­out think­ing about it. Breath­ing is so automatic that we for­get how use­ful it can be as a gate­way to the present mo­ment. Ob­serve your mind for any length of time while con­sciously con­trol­ling your breath­ing and you will see that the breath is in­ti­mately con­nected to the stream of thoughts that run through your mind. When in the midst of a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion, bring your at­ten­tion to the breath and count how long it takes to in­hale and ex­hale. Pur­pose­fully breathe slower and deeper, in­hale for four se­conds and ex­hale for four se­conds. Do this for a minute and you will be calmer, more grounded and bet­ter able to han­dle the sit­u­a­tion at hand.

2. MEDITATE THROUGH­OUT THE DAY

There is a mis­con­cep­tion that med­i­ta­tion is only ben­e­fi­cial when prac­tised for long pe­ri­ods of time. So many peo­ple miss out on its ben­e­fits be­cause they don’t have the time for daily hour-long ses­sions. The truth is, med­i­ta­tion doesn’t re­quire hour-long ses­sions or a tran­quil en­vi­ron­ment. You can prac­tice it any­time, any­where, and you do this by be­com­ing con­scious of your breath­ing. Rest your at­ten­tion on the gen­tle ris­ing and fall­ing of your chest and away from any ten­sion that may be re­sid­ing in your body. This time, don’t try and con­trol your breath­ing – let it flow.

3. PUT THE PHONE DOWN

Smart­phones and tablets are won­der­ful things but they are of­ten se­ri­ous ob­sta­cles to re­sid­ing in the present mo­ment. Not only do they split our at­ten­tion be­tween many things at once, which ag­gra­vates our stress lev­els, but they also block us from deep­en­ing our con­nec­tion to the peo­ple who phys­i­cally sur­round us. Make a de­ci­sion to turn your phone off at meal­times, or dur­ing a cer­tain time of the day, so that you can ap­pre­ci­ate the nat­u­ral still­ness of life.

4. STOP JUDGING YOUR­SELF

It may be hard to be­lieve, but thoughts are ac­tu­ally pain­less – it is the emo­tional judg­ments be­hind the thoughts that cause us to suf­fer. By be­com­ing mind­ful of our thoughts and our automatic re­ac­tions to them, we can be­gin to dif­fuse the emo­tional con­nec­tion. When we can ob­serve our thoughts im­per­son­ally we will see them for what they are – imag­i­nary fakes, for the most part. Be­come the witness of your own thought stream and stop judging your­self for its con­tents. Most of it was pro­grammed un­con­sciously and has noth­ing to do with you as a per­son.

5. CUL­TI­VATE GRATITUDE

We have the abil­ity, at any mo­ment, to view our lives through the lens of gratitude. We can say “thank you” to the small, sim­ple things that make our lives in­fin­itely richer, such as a hug from our chil­dren, or that early morn­ing cof­fee. By learn­ing to use gratitude in this way we re­train our brains away from ru­mi­na­tion on the past and fear of the fu­ture to ap­pre­ci­ate what we have in the mo­ment.

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