You think a lot. I know that.
You wonder how you are going to pay that electric bill next week and how your youngest will survive when she starts school. Maybe you think back and regret taking that job or those harsh words you said to your work colleague.
Perhaps you drive to work with all these thoughts in your head, but when you arrive don’t actually recall the journey itself.
This is how most of us lead our lives. We are continually thinking of the past and the future, yet we forget about the here and now.
But this is not good for our wellbeing! (source)
Living in the present, or mindfulness, can be an amazing boost to your health!
Let’s see how!
It Helps Digestion
How often have you picked up a piece of fruit and sat down in front of the TV to enjoy it whilst watching your favorite programme? After a couple of minutes, the fruit has been eaten and you have no recollection of it passing your lips.
Often we are occupied with one task whilst simultaneously doing another. We do not take time to enjoy the job in hand, which is a great shame!
Being in the present we can savor the food in front of us through mindful eating.
Take an orange. Consider its texture as you hold it in your hands, smell the aroma as you begin to peel. Carefully separate one segment and place into your mouth, feel the juice as you gently bite and enjoy the taste. Do this with every piece.
You will be eating an orange for the very first time!
Being in the present and thoroughly enjoying the food not only creates a feeling of contentment and happiness but can also aid digestion, reduce your BMI and help with dieting! (source)
It Can Prevent Illness
When we are stressed, the body struggles to regulate its own inflammatory response (source). If this becomes out of control, and the body finds itself in constant inflammation, the risk of developing diseases such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are increased (source).
Incredibly, being in the present moment can reduce this inflammation and therefore lower the chance of disease! (source)
So next time you are washing the dishes, think about washing the dishes! Not what you are going to do afterward. It could be life-saving!
It Can Prevent Depression
The reliance on social media, a desire to meet societal expectations and modernization are all causes that have raised depression to epidemic proportions (source).
However, spending time in the present and being mindful of your thoughts and actions can help prevent depression from taking hold!
Recent research found that mindfulness was as effective, and in some cases better, than traditional techniques (source). By concentrating on the present moment, our minds are not caught up in a thought process of how negative things are (‘my boss hates me’, ‘maybe he will sack me’, ‘i will then have no money’, ‘i will lose my house’ etc.).
Instead, we appreciate the small things in life!
And the more that we do that the happier we are! (source)
It Can Reduce Stress
Whether we suffer a serious life crisis, or simply the internet doesn’t work, at some point we all become stressed. If not controlled, it can have a profound impact on our lives. Stress can raise blood pressure, inhibit the immune system, increase the chances of respiratory disease and lead to depression (source).
But living in the present can help reduce stress!
Stress occurs when the hormone cortisol is released. Usually, this is for good reason as it forms the fight-or-flight response. If there is a real danger, and you do literally fight or run away, there is no problem as the energy is released.
But cortisol is also released when we fear something intangible, like losing our job. There is then no physical release (unless you go and punch your boss I suppose), so the cortisol builds up in the body which causes the above health issues.
By focusing on your immediate experiences, not worrying about the past or the future or ruminating on problems, the level of cortisol is lowered and stress reduces (source).
Living in the present is the best thing you can do for your health. It is free, doesn’t involve medication and can be done anywhere!
Take time throughout your day to enjoy every minute, don’t work on autopilot. The more you do it, the easier it will become!
Not only will you generally appreciate every moment more, you also have the peace of mind you are helping both your mind and body!
Image Credit: Shutterstock (licensed)/By Bruce Rolff