It doesn’t matter if you’re coming home from a long day at work or you’re finishing up a wearisome stint spent cooped up laboring in your home office, once you’re back on the homefront, it can be difficult to detach from your responsibilities and be present.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance and learning to simply be in the moment can be challenging — but it isn’t impossible. Here are a few tips and suggestions to help nudge you towards a less stressed, more wholesome lifestyle that focuses on enjoying the here and now.
Detox from Tech
Once the workday is done, it’s tempting to pull out your phone or nab that tablet so you can catch up on the news or, even worse, mindlessly scroll through your Facebook feed. If you’re looking for a way to genuinely connect with those around you, though, you need to avoid the tech as much as possible.
Try to cultivate a habit of unplugging from tech during your free time. Look for productivity apps to limit time spent on your gadgets. Tech is incredibly addicting, and looking for ways to eliminate it from your recreation can free up time to focus on the moments that you can never get back. This is such an issue, in fact, that there are even phones for kids that are aimed at controlling this habit young.
Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude
The duo of mindfulness and gratitude provides a powerful one-two punch that can help to slow the nonstop current of life down to a trickle. Though often used in concert with one another, the two terms serve distinctly different yet supportive roles in the fight to live in the present:
- Mindfulness involves taking the time to gently yet steadily remain aware of your environment, your thoughts, and even your feelings and bodily sensations.
- Gratitude is akin to appreciation and is, at its core, an emotional sensation that evokes feelings and a deep appreciation for someone or something, producing a long-term sense of positivity in the process.
The combination of these two mental activities can allow you to slow down, become aware of your surroundings, and ultimately find thankfulness and a sense of appreciation for the things in your life.
This, in turn, fosters a sense of positivity that is genuine and deeply rooted in more than just a passing feeling. The ability to maintain a simultaneously mindful and grateful state of mind can do wonders in helping to tether you to the present.
Most of the modern world operates in a “do” mindset. Where are you going? What are you going to accomplish? How are you going to succeed? What is your plan? How will you eliminate a problem? While all of these questions have their appropriate places in your thought processes, if they become your modus operandi, it can be very difficult to slow down and be in the present.
One way to pump the brakes on the “always doing” lifestyle is to practice the art of active listening. That is, the ability to focus completely on someone as they speak, receive and understand their communication, and then respond in a thoughtful manner. If you can take the time to practice slowing down and focusing on others when they speak, it can not only develop your communication skills, but it can also help you relinquish control of your surroundings and truly exist in the present.
Look for the Little Things
It can be hard to appreciate everything you have around you when you’re focused on that big meeting that didn’t go as planned or the fact that your house is a wrech. That’s where looking for the little things comes into play.
As you cultivate a grateful mindset, start to look for the little things that you take for granted. Everything from air conditioning to family game night, your bed, and even pizza delivery, can be easily overlooked. But each of these “little things” has inherent worth — worth that often can’t be identified unless you’re focused on the present.
One of the best ways to quiet your mind and separate yourself from worrying about the future is by looking for the small things that you take for granted on a daily basis.
Living in the Present
From unplugging electronics to actively listening to others, mindfully practicing an attitude of gratitude, and looking for the little things, there are plenty of ways to ground yourself in the present.
The key is putting in a genuine effort. The “present” is an elusive concept that can only be discovered when you’re truly willing to find it. Fortunately, the path to the present lies within your own mind, simply waiting for you to utilize the tools at your disposal in order to start living in the here and now.