Being Present: The Importance Of Staying In The Moment

May 12, 2010 — 26 Comments

If you are familiar with addiction recovery, you know that living life one day at a time is a major part of a successful recovery.

I’m here to say that in order to be happy, healthy, and have a little peace of mind in life you need to not only live one day at a time…you need to begin being present. Learn to stay in the moment.

When was the last time that you sat down to eat a meal and actually concentrated on the act of eating? Usually we are doing other things besides just eating that take our minds miles away from what we are actually doing. We’re not staying in the moment…we’re somewhere else.

How many times have you sat down to read something just to realize that you haven’t actually been absorbing the last few paragraphs that you just read because you were preoccupied with past thoughts? For me, it used to happen quite often.

If you think about it, all of our thoughts are made up of either our memories or our imaginations. So basically we are either remembering something or imagining something. It can be hard to rein either of those thought processes in…but it can be done.

The act of taking control of our thinking and our internal dialog is what allows us to be present and stay in the moment. It takes some practice but once you are even aware of your internal dialog…you are on your way.

Remember this important fact, you are never going to stop your mind from wandering. Don’t set yourself up for an expectation that will not come to fruition. Are minds are wanderers…that’s just the way it goes.

What you can start to do is train yourself to bring your thoughts back to the present moment once you have realized that they have wandered.

Start with something simple like brushing your teeth:

  • Think about how the toothpaste looks as it is coming out of the tube and you are putting it on your brush
  • Notice what the toothpaste first feels like as it touches your mouth
  • What does it taste like?
  • What does the brush feel like going over your teeth?
  • How does the brush feel in your hand?
  • What sensation do you get to know that it is time to spit?
  • What does the water feel like while you are rinsing your mouth?

Boom! You have just stayed in the moment while brushing your teeth. Your mind may have wandered here and there but once you realized it, you brought your thoughts back to what you were doing.

So, how does staying in the moment while brushing your teeth benefit you? It’s a way of training yourself in the art of being present. After learning how to stay in the moment during mundane situations you can begin to apply this thinking to bigger and better things.

What you will find is that you’ll begin to be aware of negative self talk, of replaying bad situations in your head, and of worrying about the unknown. Once you are aware of these things…you can stop them.

Stopping this type of thinking in it’s tracks will leave you with the opportunity for a little peace of mind. Peace of mind is the most beneficial gift that someone allows themselves in life…in my opinion.

26 responses to Being Present: The Importance Of Staying In The Moment

  1. Even for us in Al-Anon, it is very important to be present. Great post but then again all your posts are great.

  2. Oh Pat…you’re the best. You know, I was noticing just how hard it is to stay in the moment. I was taking a walk with my son and found myself worry about my finances.

    Isn’t the point of taking a walk to de-stress, enjoy the outdoors, and feel good about improving your health?

    I guess I’m better off than I used to be because I actually realized that I was thinking negatively and changed that around. I concentrated on listening to the sounds of the birds and the wind in the trees. And…back to my happy place.

  3. This is good because when people talk to me i’m somewhere else and i just say “uhum” to look attentative

  4. So true! I love your walkthrough about brushing my teeth. I journal a lot. At least, that’s the goal. When I journal a lot I think about what I’m doing in complete sentences. It reminds me of the narrator in the film, Stranger than Fiction.

  5. Yeah they call that ‘ mindfulness’ A skill I haven’t learnt yet

  6. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find
    It really helpful & it helped me out much. I’m hoping to
    present one thing again and aid others such as you aided me.

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