I’m guessing we’ve all been there…witnessing an epic meltdown because a child has been told, “no.” One minute they’re enjoying a delicious treat, an ice cream, and before the last bite is taken, they are asking for more. So focused on what’s next, they can’t even enjoy what’s right in front of them.
It does make me wonder….where does this response come from? Maybe kids just want more, are highly unsatisfied or just can’t stand to hear the word “no.” I don’t have children and understand very little about them. However, I wonder…I wonder how much dissatisfaction they witness in the adults around them. I wonder if it’s not just children, but all of us, that are constantly asking, seeking, striving for more, completely unaware of the good things in our midst. How many of us have thought life would be better if……if I just got that promotion, if I had a bigger house or better car, if my family didn’t have this dark secret, if…if…if. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting or desiring things or even striving for more. I just know that for myself, the more time I spend thinking about the future and all the “ifs,” I find myself more discontent and dissatisfied with what I have.
Unfortunately, what often happens as we focus on the future and what’s next, we completely remove ourselves from the present moment and as a result often miss the immense goodness that’s right in front of us.
I have found that practicing yoga is one of the key ways for me to stay in the present moment. Having time to be still, to focus on my breath and to be present to my mind, body and emotions all contribute to learning to be fully present in the moment. And these practices seem to foster a sense of gratitude, an awareness of so many good things in my life. So how can we apply these practices off our mats?
- Notice when your thoughts go to the future and how it makes you feel. Do these thoughts bring feelings of joy, excitement, hope? Or do they leave you feeling dissatisfied, frustrated or disappointed?
- Delay instant gratification. This is a tough one. We live in a world of instant gratification. We have fast food drive thru, Amazon deliveries, constant streaming of tv and movies. It seems everything we could possibly want is available with a push or a swipe. But what if we just hit the pause button? Rather than having a thought or feeling and instantly acting on, what if we just let it sit for a while? We might find that within a few days, we’ve forgotten about it or that with some time we realized it’s not really what we need or want.
- Be intentional about being grateful. Practice gratitude by expressing the goodness in your current situation. This could be by making a list (a gratitude journal perhaps) or even just sharing with someone else something you are grateful for. Studies show the presence of gratitude in our lives helps us manage and cope with illness and mental stress, improving our overall health.
So what’s one thing you are grateful for? Share in the comments. You could be a source of encouragement to someone else.