Being Present in the Moment
How often do you drive while talking on a cell phone and miss your exit, or walk into a room and forget what you were going after. Remember when you’ve worried about a future event and forgot to pick up something after work, or you ate dinner as you were thinking about something, then forgot what you ate? How often does your mind drift while you’re conversing with someone, then realize somewhere in the middle that you didn’t hear a word they said? Is this ADHD? Probably not this time, but ADDers do experience this a lot.
Most people with ADD find that their minds wander off into never-never land, rather than be present in the here and now. As a result, you forget things, become distracted or stressed, react to demands of others, and feel overwhelmed at the end of each day. Your boss needs a project done yesterday and the kids need to be picked up in a few minutes. Your email in-box has thousands of requests and comments waiting to be read and you have 8 missed messages on your cell phone. All week you have been running in fifth gear and there seems to be no relief in sight. When do you make time for yourself?
If there is one word I can share with you today to help ease the confusion and frustration in your daily life, that word would be this: simplify! Stop trying to be everything to everyone and realize what your limits are. Once you become aware of the habits you have created (not saying “no” when you need to or filling your day with everyone else’s priorities) and acknowledge your limits, then you will find it easier to learn to be in the present.
I’d like to share with you some ways to focus on the present moment.
- Think about what is happening right now—at this very moment. What are you doing? Where are you? What are you thinking about? Is it something from the past? Are you worried about something in the future? Your mind will take a thought and run it into the ground if you allow it to. It will remind you over and over that you did something wrong in the past, or that you lack confidence to accomplish something in the future. If you realize this and accept the fact that it will happen, then you can do something about it. You can focus on the present and push aside past and future negative thoughts and fears. Just close your eyes now and focus.
- Take some time to think about the past things that your mind wants to constantly haunt you with. Analyze what happened and ask yourself what you can do next time or how you might change the outcome. Take that information, learn from the mistake you made and move on. Let it go as another one of life’s learning experiences that has made you wiser. This is a much healthier way to stop those thoughts.
- If it is a future thing that has you worried, realize that we have no control over our future. We only have control over what we can do at the present moment. All you can do is put forth your best effort and have confidence in knowing that you will do your best. Take time to practice in front of others; write out what you’ll say or do, ask others for their opinions and constructive criticism, and imagine yourself accomplishing your task and how great it will feel to get it done.
- Accept the fact that you are not perfect. You have flaws, I have flaws, and that’s okay. Don’t try to be perfect, especially if you are not using your strengths as you perform your task. Things can change at any time, so make room for anything to happen that may toss a hurtle in your way. And now that you know you’re not perfect, try to enjoy the task as a learning venture and learn from it.
- And now it’s time to focus on the here and the now—the present. Because you can spend so much of your time beating yourself up for past mistakes or worrying about what’s to come, you have to make a choice to think about simply being present in the moment. This is how you enjoy life! If you want to get the most out of life–out of each day—you must take time to ask yourself what’s important right NOW. If you practice this, it becomes easier. This exercise truly helps the ADD mind to focus.
Breathe in the moment right now and sense how good it feels. As you breathe out and relax, you get rid of the frustrations and negative energy you’re feeling. After only a few minutes of breathing deeply and slowly exhaling, you will find it much easier to focus. You’ve just given your brain more oxygen and blood. You’ve opened up channels of thought that have been closed. And now you can intentionally make decisions that will take you further into your day. You have just given yourself a gift of time—all for you.