Every day, we wake up to social media and the news. When we drive to work, we’re thinking about work or tasks we have to complete. At night, when we go to sleep, our thoughts are occupied by what people said, what we have to do tomorrow, and in creating mental images of things we wish would happen. In fact, we seldom spend any time actually being present and truly occupying the current moment we’re in.
Not being present is so common that we have to make an effort to be mindful of our environment and sensations. Thanks to smartphones and social media, we can escape into stories and images that are often a distraction rather than content that builds us up.
As a result, we end up procrastinating with our work and study. We have shorter attention spans and find it difficult to focus. And perhaps the biggest problem of all is that we lose our sense of time and don’t realize the good things happening around us because we’re so distracted.
In this post, I’d like to share tips on how to stop overthinking and start living here and now. We’ll get more out of life and even make better decisions for ourselves.
Start with awareness
When trying to make a significant change in your life, start with a small step. In this case, being more aware of your thoughts as you about your daily life is a good way to begin. As you’re driving, do a quick check-up and ask yourself what you were just thinking. Were you actually focused on driving or were you thinking about a party from a long time ago?
A little bit of awareness can help you feel more grounded and take the next steps to become even more present than before.
Reduce your social media use
Social media, as it exists today, is optimized to be addictive. When you watch a video, post an image, or get a like on your own posts, your brain releases a small amount of dopamine. This creates the feeling of pleasure and the human brain begins to desire more of the same.
It’s little wonder that social media is so frequently used. When we spend time on social media, we lose track of time, fail to live in the moment, and also experience emotions triggered by events that have little to do with our own lives. Although social media feels exhilarating when we use it, it also creates stress over time.
Reducing the use of social media, or in fact, removing it altogether can be the single most useful action you can take to become more present.
If there’s anything that can make you feel more present, it’s getting in touch with real and physical objects. There are two specific ways you develop the ability to live in the moment:
- Focus on your breathing patterns. Paying attention to the movement of your body as you breathe forces you to let go of thoughts that usually occupy you. Do this on a daily basis, and you’ll notice the difference in the way you think and feel in a very short time
- Practice a technique called PQ Reps developed by Shirzad Chamine, the author of Positive Intelligence. Here, you practice intense concentration for just 10 seconds. During this ‘rep’ you can wriggle your toes, listen closely to your environment, or otherwise focus on the moment with great focus. Do this 100 times a day and your unhelpful thoughts will stop having as much power as before.
There are other steps that you can take to be more present. You can meditate every day and also use art as a way to ground yourself. Painting, writing, Yoga, or any other activity that engages your senses will compel you to live in the moment.
With the ideas given here, you’ll soon find that any tendency to overthink reduces. And that you’ll feel energized and capable of doing more with your time.