Many alcoholics and addicts find it incredibly difficult to stay present in the moment. This trait isn’t unique among those afflicted with addiction issues, but for those in recovery, attempting to live in the moment is of vital importance for a sustained and happy sobriety. Yet doing so proves more and more difficult with each passing year, as technology seeks to give us instantaneous escape, and the lightning speed with which the word changes leaves us struggling to keep up and find harmony.
We have so many distractions to contend with in our lives— there are smartphones that are constantly beckoning us to pick them up and search mindlessly through social media, there are more channels on the TV then we know what to do with, and streaming media services that allow us to be sucked away for hours at a time. There are jobs that require all of our emotional energies for 40+ hours a week, there are social responsibilities, family responsibilities, selfhood responsibilities, and the list goes on and on, and with all of this swirling around it can be tremendously hard to not get caught up in what we have to do tomorrow, or the day after—it can be tremendously hard to not sink into a wormhole of distraction, forgetting that the life we lead is happening now.
That is where practicing mindfulness comes in, as it is a concerted effort to be present in the here and now. It is the training of the mind, body, and spirit, to recognize what is going on at this moment and to fully appreciate it for what it is.
How many times have you looked back on a period of your life, that at the time seemed tremendously difficult, and said, “that was the best time of my life.” Part of the reason for this is because without practicing mindfulness we lose sight of the good things in our life and allow fear and anxiety to wreak havoc on our senses, but when incorporating just a few simple things into your life you can come to appreciate your life today, and not have to wait 5 years to look back and remember the good times.
10 Ways to Practice Mindfulness Everyday
Meditating is possibly one of the best ways to practice mindfulness. It allows you to quiet your mind and connect with the silence spaces in between your thoughts. By doing this you will slow your thinking down and be more apt to pay attention to your surroundings.
Listen When Someone in Speakin
Often times when we are worried about the future we will be unable to be fully present in a conversation. A good way to break this anxiety and bring yourself back to the here and now is to fully engage in a conversation and truly listen.
Watch Your Breathe
If you find your mind wandering off to the past or the future, a good thing to do is to take 3 deep breaths and afterward really pay attention to your breathing. By doing this you allow your mind to return to the present and you practice mindfulness by doing so.
Go for a walk
Sometimes if you are inside for too long, the walls can begin to constrict your thoughts. It is as if the physical closeness actually causes a claustrophobia of thought that cannot be undone unless the surrounding change. A great way to break out of this is to go for a walk and pay attention to the sights and sounds around you. If the sky is blue appreciate it. If the flowers are blooming stop and smell them. Doing this mindfulness practice will bring you back to the present and allow you to appreciate what is going on now.
Anyone who has ever done yoga can attest to the fact that it is almost impossible to practice yoga and not be present. The act of stretching and holding poses commands all your attention and very often afterward you will notice that your mind is still and relaxed.
Eat Slowly and Purposefully
Very often we eat on the go or eat without actually tasting our food. By slowing down the eating process and enjoying every bite, you force your mind to join you in the slowing down and be present with you through the meal.
Pause Before Acting
We live in a solution-orientated culture where we have to think quickly and on our feet, but with this comes the inability to pause before we act. The reality is that there are few circumstances in life that cannot wait for thoughtful contemplation before acting, so pause before you act and appreciate the present.
Observe Your Thoughts
This suggestion for mindfulness is interesting because it is important to be in touch with your thoughts, but it is equally important not to succumb to them. Observing your thoughts does not mean indulging in overthinking, it just simply means being an observer to the actions of your mind and what it is doing.
Exercise is a great way to bring you back to the present because it not only forces you to be present in the actions you are taking, but it also releases a lot of nervous energy that causes people to worry about the future or the past.
Accept Circumstances as They Are
The single most important thing you can do in order to practice mindfulness is to accept life as it is. If life throws something bad your way, you don’t have to enjoy it, but you have to accept it if there is nothing you can do to change. We very often lose sight of the present moment because we are too worried about trying to change outcomes or people. By accepting life for what it is, you remove this worry and are better able to live your life as it is happening.