Sunday, 01 June 2014 00:00

Live Life Now

Article as it appeared in Bona magazine. By Keletso Modisakeng

“The secret of health for both mind and body, is not to mourn for the past or worry about the future, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha

We often worry about things yet to come, past mistakes we wish we could change, and time we wasted and will never get back. One needs to live in the now, focus on the present, and stop worrying about things out of your control. These things are major contributors to stress-related illnesses and can have a negative effect on your mental, emotional and physical health.

 Claire Newton, a psychologist, life coach and trainer, explains why living in the moment is important: 

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“If you live your life full of regrets, beating yourself up about mistakes you’ve made and can’t change, or even worrying about your future, you are missing out on life. By living in the present, we are accepting life as it is, not how we wish it could have been. When you’re living in acceptance, you can forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made and you can have peace in your heart knowing that everything that should happen will happen.”

Claire’s tips to improve your health and live life now:

  • Talk to yourself in the present tense “I am now reading an article”. This gives the command to your subconscious (thoughts in the back of the mind) to turn its attention to the present and stop wandering about in other places. For example: “I am reading an article”.
  • Don’t think that life will happen some other day, or that your goal is around the corner. This distracts you from taking action now.
  • Practice mindfulness. This means practicing awareness in everything we do. Whether you are washing dishes or tying your shoes, your mind is focused on what you are doing. You are not thinking about the bills that have to be paid, or the phone call you need to make when you get to the office. You are simply living in the moment.
  • Do one thing at a time, don't multi-task. When you're gardening, just garden. Don't try to achieve a few tasks while eating or bathing or driving. According to a Zen proverb: "When walking, walk. When eating, eat."
  • When you're talking to someone, be present. How many of us have spent time with someone, while thinking about what we need to do in the future? Or, thinking about what we want to say next, instead of really listening to that person? Instead, focus on being present, on really listening, on really enjoying your time with that person.

Claire Mawisa, assistant programme manager at Kaya FM

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“To me, living in the now means that I should stop stressing about what has happened, but appreciate and enjoy what is happening right now. At the end of the day no amount of stress and negativity can change the past. It’s not always easy, but I have to learn that the more one lives in the now the more peace we experience in our lives. I always ask the question: ’what lesson have I learnt from a bad situation to help me move on, so that I can focus on the lesson and not the hurt or anger from the past?’ Don’t live life worrying about what other people think of you, if they’re not in your inner circle, then they should not matter. Not everyone will like you in life and that is okay.”