The alarm goes off and I roll out of bed. Already I am thinking about the day ahead.

  • Did I get the copies I needed for the workshop made?
  • Will everyone be there?
  • Oh, did the name tags get made?
  • I don’t want to forget to grab those books out of the bookroom.
  • Did I remember to tell Jim…..
  • Next week I need to….

My mind is into the day and week ahead as soon as I hit the floor.

How do you start your day? With a myriad of questions, thoughts, and ideas flying through your mind’s eye about the day ahead of you…..? Do you even see your face as you put on your makeup, determine what to wear or comb your hair?

Or are you far into the day or week ahead? Or even ruminating about the discussion you’ve had with your husband last night or the dilemma you have with your daughter?

What is your thinking focused upon?

All of those thinking patterns are not bad in and of themselves, but they rob you of living now, or mindfulness and the joy of being present. Learning to live a hopeful, healthy life right now can have you stay more fully present in the moment.

When I slow time down to “smell the roses” and pay attention to what I have around me I can be grateful for that moment.

By changing your thinking and staying present, you can reduce your stress as well. You are no longer in the flight or fight mode.

The moments we have, day to day, are the realities of our lives. We can’t undo the past and we don’t have control over the future nor do we need to live there. We can fully enjoy the present when we pay attention to it. That’s the secret!

Imagine these moments in your mind’s eye: the beauty of a sunrise, the aroma of coffee brewing, the laughter of a small child,

 the beauty of flowers, the smell of fresh baked bread, the delight of a song, the smell of freshly laundered sheets, the smile of a friend — those little things each day that make up living.

How can you pay attention to the gifts around you?

Sometimes, we have to search for them more diligently but each day has gifts to provide and hope for healthy living when we begin to pay attention to the now. Science is showing us that it’s also good for our physical health as well.

It might be something as simple as deep breathing and noticing how your breath comes in and out and slows down your thinking.

How can you sit still and listen to sounds or stillness?

It could be taking the time to have coffee with a friend or choosing to read a favorite book for 15 minutes. Anything that slows down your racing thoughts, focuses your attention on your surroundings and the people you care about and be grateful helps you live more fully present in the now.

The Take-Away

Living in the now conceptually is staying in the moment, learning from the day and noticing the gifts of that day, not racing to the next day, month or year.

It’s discovering your own rhythm of living, leaving room for quiet, down time and personal reflection of the gifts of life to reduce your stress.

How can you begin to find places for each day be lived in such a way that brings changes to yourself and others, a different pace, a hopefully, healthy, fully present life?

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