Covid-19 lockdown effect: Can't stop worrying about the future? Experts share tips for 'living in the moment'

In your times of anxiety, you might have often come across these words of gem from friends and peers:

“Don’t ponder about the past or the future—live in the present!”

“All you have is this moment. Don’t let it pass.”

“Live in the moment! Make the most of it!”

Ultimately, all these maxims drive us to one simple point: to attain true happiness and harmony, it is important to drop all that you hold within and live in the present moment.

What exactly does it mean to 'live in the now?'

“Present moment means 'HERE AND NOW' — noticing what's happening inside you, and around you right now, in this moment. What thoughts you have, what feelings you have and what kind of sensations that bring to your body,” answers Dr Saloni Singh, Gurgaon-based Life & Self-Mastery Coach and Author.

In our prevailing troubled times, it’s easier said than done. The new norm is filled with anxiety, schedules gone haywire, work from home (WFH) mode, uncertainty and indefinite future of children, as misery and discontent seem to have taken reins of our lives. We are either caught up in our past or worry about our indeterminate future. It leaves us feeling sapped and drained physically, emotionally and mentally. The antidote to this condition is mindfulness and a promise to stay in the “moment”. Living in the now is the password to a predicament, that fluctuates between the past and the future, you may not have realised you had.

Dr. Saloni further explains, “Simplest way is to bring your attention and awareness to your breath, which is always with you in any moment. Just feel the movement of air, movement of your chest and abdomen, and be in the present moment. Say to yourself, right now I am doing this, for example, right now I am drinking tea, I'll plan or think about others later.”

Practise mindful living

According to Life Coach Geet Batra from Magic Possibilities, “There is yoga, meditation, pranayaam, Tai Chi and mindful exercises; whatever works for you is good.” However, most of these require discipline which faces inherent resistance to the past way of being in comfort zone. He says, “Mindful living is possible when you have an empowering belief that your choices can create a life of ease, joy and glory and it was always available to you.”

Digital detox, nature walk, disassociation with negative people, and learning to accept situations, help us get closer to mindful living.

Go with the flow

Isn’t the oft-repeated saying ‘go-with-the-flow’ cringe-worthy? It exudes the feel of us yielding, being putty in the hands of yin and yang devoid of any charge over our lives.

“Going with the flow is letting yourself come to grips with the curve balls thrown at us,” informs Mumbai-based Clinical Psychologist Kaavya Iyer, “We have to take hold of the conditions and circumstances in an unbiased manner, with an open mind to all options and opportunities. Don’t hesitate to grasp change, and adapt to situations, understanding that everything is a passing phase and nothing is permanent.”

To be rivetted in our focus on what is happening now, we need to remain in the present. This will help us understand that every single day may not be as alarming and horrible as we visualise.

Maintain a diary

One of the best drills to keep yourself in the ideal state of mind is to transfer your thoughts in a journal. It will help channelise your energies to a more mindful day ahead. It lets you self-reflect and stimulates your creative juices. “It helps a lot, when you pour down your thoughts and feelings on a paper, it's therapeutic. It helps you release a lot and many times it brings the clarity you're seeking that can never come from thinking and overanalysing. Bring it out on a paper,” avers Dr. Saloni.

Find bliss in small things

It is essential to concentrate on small things that bring a smile on your lips. For example, digging into a burger, dancing to a tune, walking in the rain, as these can change the way you feel, in a positive way.

Smile: As our demeanour interrelates our emotional state not only to ourselves but to others also. Our smile radiates happiness. Just smile to make yourself gladder which in turn inspires you to enjoy, appreciate and live in the moment.

Be grateful: Count your blessings they say. Nothing can be more relevant than this. Gratitude and thankfulness should be expressed as and when you feel it around you.

Stop worrying: Anxiety will only take you away from living in the moment. Try to come out of a prevailing distress now or else fix the existing moment.

Be kind: The benefactor always finds contentment and happiness, hence practice random acts of kindness.

Clinical Psychologist Kaavya Iyer suggests, “To offset the past liabilities and worries of the future, mentally embed these markers,” pointing out, “of course, it is not a breeze to follow these guidelines, but practice will make it easier.”

  • Reflect upon days gone by in small measures and target pleasant experiences like recollecting a success mantra or something you wish to rectify from the past, for instance, to identify a mistake you would not want to repeat.

  • Again, when you contemplate about the future, the spotlight should be in a healthy, unapprehensive way. Make plans just enough to be equipped to face it and then proceed.

  • Remain in the present instant for a larger part of your time.

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