Do you find yourself second-guessing what you just said or did?
Do you wake up in the middle of the night re-evaluating a decision you made and continue to play out different scenarios?
Do you anticipate having a difficult conversation by imagining what you will say and then how the other person will respond?
Do these after and before thoughts cause you anxiety?
To experience doubt is human, but to experience anxiety around our doubts doesn’t have to be part of our human experience. It doesn’t have to keep us up at night or create angst before entering a tricky conversation.
There is a lot of discussions these days around living for the moment and being present. Admittedly, I am hook, line, and sinker for this philosophy but it came through first realizing how to recognize and know when I am NOT living in the present moment?
Here are 2 of my big red flags that told me I was NOT being present and 3 ways I changed it.
1. Thinking of how I would respond while the other person was still talking. I began to understand that even in simple day to day conversations if I were thinking about what I wanted to say next, I really missed out on what the other person was saying in that moment.
Tip #1: BE in your conversation while at the same time observing if you are jumping in to respond or trying to understand what the other person is saying. In doing this, I realized I was jumping in…even interrupting the other person! So, I practiced by waiting until the other person had completely finished speaking, one second had passed, and then I would respond. The results were astonishing. My conversations started to flow even more fluidly and better yet, they reached greater depths in terms of substance and connection.
2. Replaying conversations that had already happened. I replayed what I said, what I wish I had said, what he said, what she said, my reaction, theirs, etc. Sometimes contemplation about past actions is good. However, my contemplation too often came while I was at work, or with friends or needing to focus on something else, which tah da! took me out of the present moment.
Tip #2: This is two-fold. When noticing the contemplation on the past, I simply took a deep breath and whispered silently, BE HERE NOW. If this didn’t work…
Tip #3: I gave myself a time limit, usually no longer than 3 minutes. I literally set a timer, gave myself permission to think all I wanted about that particular conversation or encounter and when that timer went off, that was it. I had to be done. Period.
Learning to be Present is a lifelong journey and along the way, we learn to trust our inner and outer voice, we experience more depth in our conversations and our relationships and we are happier because we are lighter; neither weighted down by the past or worried about the future.
Does your wandering mind take you out of the present moment? Is it affecting your ability to listen? Does it interfere with your joy in relationships?
I understand. This big wheel of time can be a complex system to navigate.
One present step at a time.
I’m here for you.