People keep talking about it. But do you really know what it is and how to do it?
I love it when I talk to people about this and they just look at me confused.
Why? Why do I ask people to do this, or at least try it?
People come to me mostly because they are having problems with their drug or alcohol use. Then it’s the life stuff that comes next.
How do you live when you aren’t drinking or partying?
What do people do? How do they cope when things don’t work out?
The answers to this are too big for a blog or even a book. But maybe this will give you an idea of how to live in the moment, how to do it and what the benefits can be for you.
I got a text from a friend this morning. He is in the middle of a big life change and is finding things really overwhelming, feeling very emotional with lots of feelings of guilt and shame.
There is so much going on, change, insecurity, so much of it unknown.
Living in the moment can really help to deal with this.
Maybe you have just relapsed or had a blip. You have been doing well, not drinking or partying and feeling great, then for some reason or no reason, you have a slip up.
People can then give themselves a hard time about the blip. Feeling like they have failed, feeling awful, staying in the negative emotions of the event that may have happened yesterday or last week.
If you are someone that is dealing with a big life event, or even small ones that you give yourself a hard time about and feel bad, it doesn’t always have to be a big thing.
Break your week or day down into small chunks. However small you need to go. It can be as small as the next 5 minutes, the next hour, half a day, today.
Keep it focused on whichever small chunk works for you. For instance, if you pick 5 mins, what do you need to do? Make a cup of tea, take the dog for a walk, make the sandwiches, read a chapter of a book, pay that bill.
One small step at a time.
Learn to focus on that moment or small chunk you have chosen.
For instance, making a cup of tea. Fill the kettle, boil the kettle, tea bag in the cup, fill the cup, let it brew, add milk or sugar. Focus on each part. It may help if you have a lot of internal dialogue to say it to yourself as you do it.
In that moment when you make a cup of tea, you are ok. You are making a cup of tea. You are focused in that moment on that activity. It doesn’t matter what else has happened before or after.
The Dalai Lama sums it up brilliantly
“If you can solve your problem then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it then what is the use of worrying?”
Take the relapse, the blip. It has happened, you can’t change it. You can start again though and learn from it. Or do you choose to stay in the negative, beating yourself up about something that has already happened?
The sooner you can bring yourself back to the now and start again the sooner you will feel better and get back on track. Every day is a new day and all that. It may be a cliché but it’s very powerful!
Stephanie Chivers is a habit/addiction specialist. Author of There is no Magic Button