What will you notice about your experiences today?
What stories are being replayed in your head as you move through the day?
How do the stories influence your feelings?
Our lives have shifted dramatically in the last few months. We are in uncharted territory in all parts of our lives. And, the conversations we have with ourselves right now are going to be crucial in how we move through this shift.
We are in need of psychological fitness. As a Psychological Fitness Specialist, I support and guide folks into being open, aware, and present with reality in a way that allows for movement and action towards what is needed most.
We have three general areas of accessible wisdom as a human being – the thinking part of the brain, the heart-brain, and felt sense or intuition. For us to be fully present, we need to be open to it all. However, the thinking part of ourselves has become over-valued. We are being taught from a young age to “think about it”, whatever the “it” is. We learn very little about how to access and be open to wisdom through the heart and felt-sense. And this is exactly what we need more of.
Human beings think. We’re wired for it. The process feels constant, and at the same time, quite comfortable. We’ve had years of practice thinking about our lives, other people, the past, the future, problems, solutions, strategy, planning, and goal setting. To be fair, we are often just looking for certainty, safety, and security. Essentially, we tend to experience our lives from our heads most of the time, and actually, this is our problem.
We constantly tell ourselves stories and these stories tend to feel automatic because we’ve re-told them to ourselves over and over again. When the stories consist of critical and negative thought processes, we can experience increased stress levels and tension in our bodies. Additionally, we might experience increased frustration, reactivity, relationship problems, and low energy issues. This is the last thing we need right now.
Have you experienced an increase in your heart rate when thinking or worrying about how things will be in the future given all the changes we are currently experiencing?
The brain has a built-in protective function that allows us to easily notice what might cause us harm or what might be dangerous. Which is a good thing, if you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation which may be unsafe. However, when we have a pattern of processing that tends to be more negative or anxious this can create unnecessary cortisol in the body, stressing your immune system. We don’t need to be on hyperalert about all the things we actually have no control over.
In fact, focusing on what we have little control over tends to increase our stress levels and the chronic practice of this can wreak havoc on the body.
We don’t want to make this a habit. Present moment living isn’t possible when we are in our heads ruminating and over-analyzing. Our full experience is not in our heads, rather, it’s in our hearts and bodies.
The critical stories, although protective in nature, say nothing of the present moment. They often stem from past experiences, therefore, we are misinformed when we rely on them at the present time. They are often ego-based and the stories, if negative, take us out of our present experiences into a limited place and conditioned place.
Conscious thinking, however, is what allows us to observe and reflect on our experiences so that we can learn and grow from them. Being present requires us to be in our body, allowing our senses to take in all that is being experienced in the moment. It means we are aware of our experiences in real-time, without judgment, stories, and a running dialogue commenting on those experiences.
Mindful living is available to you at every moment. It can happen throughout your day, during virtual work meetings, while doing the dishes, while in communication with your partner and family and even while exercising. We must, however, be willing to open up to our hearts and intuition for this to happen. Wisdom sits in the heart and gut area as much as it does in our heads.
Present moment living requires us to open up our heart and gut/intuition, taking a break from the thinking, overanalyzing, and the re-telling of the stories we’ve accumulated.
Opening up to heart and intuition allows for connection with our emotions, our senses, and the energy that surrounds us. Opening up allows us to experience life and ourselves differently. It allows us access to wisdom that is not available in a thinking state only. It allows us to grow and experience our potential.
Present moment living is simple, but not easy. Experience it for yourself.