Have you noticed that we generally tend to stress about future events? Typically, we stress about the exam next month, the company restructure next year, the “having to buy a house” at some point in life, the presentation that’s due next week… And have you noticed what happens when all of these events become a fact of the Now? We usually become resourceful, we pull ourselves together and we deal with it! Success is inevitable eventually, even if we have to veer off course temporarily. Why then do we have to spend countless nights awake worrying about what is to come? How does that help us achieve a better outcome? Of course it doesn’t, and we all know it. So let’s do something about it, let’s stop worrying and start living. It is actually not that difficult. All you need is awareness and willingness.
Assuming you are already willing to do away with your stress, the key to building your awareness is mastering your ability to live in the Now. You can’t be where you want to be; you can only be where you are!
Living in the Now is a muscle that we have to exercise consistently. Here is an easy three-step approach to doing so. Practice this daily and you will become more and more present and release the stress as a consequence:
- At the beginning of each day create a goal related to how you would like to feel that day. Let’s say today you would like to feel peaceful.
- Immediately after you’ve set your goal, spend some time engaging all five senses: smell something that gives you peace; taste something that gives you peace; look at something that gives you peace; listen to something the gives you peace; touch something that gives you peace. You can either do this “for real” or you can imagine smelling, touching, tasting, hearing and seeing something peaceful. The brain doesn’t know the difference between doing something for real and imagining it, and your body will react the same way (i.e. by getting out of Fight / Flight and activating the parasympathetic nervous system which helps us rest, digest and regenerate).
- Now that you have engaged the five senses, you have altered your state of mind and you can be present. From that space, you can go about your day feeling happy, and you are far more likely to complete your tasks successfully.
Remember: Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.