7 Ways to Stay in the Moment When You Feel Yourself Drifting Off Track
It’s easy to get caught up in things that happened in the past or what we’re worried will happen in the future. But the fact of the matter is that the only thing that is relevant, or that we have any control over, is the present.
Living completely in the moment might seem impossible or only for adrenaline junkies with no responsibilities. We would argue, however, that learning to stay in the moment is something that we should all be doing.
It can reduce anxiety, make each moment special, and help us stay mindful of what truly matters. Drifting off track or down the rocky road of worrying about the past or the future doesn’t have to be your reality.
Keep reading to learn some of the best techniques of how to stay in the moment and live in the present at all times.
1. Practice Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness is the practice of being conscious of everything around you at the present moment. Most people spend the day checking their phones, thinking about what they’re going to do after work, worrying about what they said in a meeting the day before, etc.
Practicing mindfulness will help you let go of these extraneous thoughts and stay grounded in what’s around you.
Set 10 or 15 minutes aside each day to dedicate to mindfulness. Sit in a quiet place and simply allow yourself to breathe. Think about everything around you, how you’re feeling right then, and just allow yourself to exist as you are in the moment.
If you find your mind drifting to worries or anything other than the present moment, acknowledge that and bring yourself back to the present.
You can do this throughout the day to ground yourself in the moment.
If you aren’t sure exactly how to meditate, we have a complete guide to help you out. You can also download meditation apps on your phone that will bring you through guided meditations.
Not only will meditation help to bring you back to the present moment, it will also help you let go of any negative feelings, fears, or worries that might’ve caused you to stray from focusing on the present.
3. Change Your Diet
This might seem random, but hear us out. The food you put in your body can have a huge effect on your mood, your health, and your cognitive abilities.
Certain types of foods can make your thinking feel clouded, make you feel sluggish, and severely impact your ability to think clearly and in the present moment. Processed foods contain high calories with few nutrients, which can impact your thinking.
People who eat a lot of red meat, dairy, and fried foods experience cognitive decline, and it can affect long-term cognitive function.
Focus on eating a diet full of natural and unprocessed ingredients. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and a lot of water will fuel your body with vitamins, nutrients, and minerals to keep your mind clear and focused.
4. Focus on Your Senses
A great way to focus on the present is to take the time to notice what each of your senses is feeling exactly as you are right now. This will force you to notice your current situation and surroundings, which will snap you right back to the present.
What do you smell right now? Hear? Do you taste anything? What are your eyes focused on? How does the ground feel beneath your feet? The clothes against your skin?
Go through each of these questions and physically think or say the answer to yourself. Answering these questions to yourself will snap you out of any drifting off or daydreaming you were doing that was taking you out of the present moment.
5. Completely Engage With Your Current Task
In a world where having 10 tabs open on your Internet browser is the norm, it’s hard to imagine focusing on one thing at a time. Doing work, or even everyday tasks, one thing at a time forces your mind to completely focus on that particular thing.
You won’t be able to drift off track when your entire attention is focused on writing that work e-mail or brushing your teeth or speaking with your loved one, but definitely not all those things at once.
Focus your mind on that one task in order to prevent any drifting.
6. Live Slow
We tend to become hyperfocused on completing tasks so we can get onto the next thing. This constant fast-paced lifestyle will condition you to be thinking about the next thing before the current “thing” is even done.
Let yourself languidly enjoy your current task. Take the time to notice every detail of the moment.
Allow yourself to take the time to notice what’s happening with whatever you’re doing. Slow and steady isn’t inferior to quickly getting something done. In fact, if you’re trying to live completely in the moment, living slow is by far superior to rushing through life.
7. Self-Talk the Present Moment
We already mentioned taking the time to live slow and notice all of your senses in each moment, especially during times you notice yourself drifting away.
Try thinking or saying those things out loud to really ground yourself in the task at hand. Even if you’re just driving to work, think to yourself, “I’m driving to work now.”
This will cement yourself into whatever you’re doing and put you back in the present.
How to Stay in the Moment and Be Present: Bottom Line
The first step to mindfulness is to recognize that you need to be more mindful. Many people are content to float through life, rushing from one task to the next, constantly thinking somewhere else besides where they are right then and there.
Once you decide you want to learn how to stay in the moment, you’re halfway there. You’ve made the conscious decision to live mindfully, and these 7 tips will help you do that.