Every single morning you have a choice. Face your day with trepidation, or excitement. Be enthusiastic, or lethargic. Look forward to what lies ahead, or dread what’s coming.
This is a choice. You might not always feel as if that’s the case, but it’s the truth. You get to choose how to begin your day, and where to take it from that point.
If you decide to approach your day from a negative perspective, chances are you will draw in a negative day. Conversely, if you begin your day from a positive approach, odds are you will draw in a positive day.
Yes, this is a generalization. A great many of the things you encounter on any given day are completely neutral. Neither good nor bad, they just are. However, if you are feeling down that will impact your overall experience.
This is why mindfulness matters as much as it does.
Awareness of your mindset is telling
When you are aware of what you are thinking and what and how you are feeling, you gain the power to influence and control them. Often, the basis of both thought and feeling is rooted in your subconscious. What that means is that everything you have encountered previously, as well as anticipation or anxiety about upcoming matters, will create your mood.
Mindfulness is a product of the now. Being aware of your thoughts and feelings, in the now, helps you to really know them, and work with them. A lot of the time, because you have routines and schedules to keep and errands to run, the day goes by with your thoughts and feelings driven subconsciously. When you do that, you actually lose mindfulness of what you are thinking and what and how you are feeling.
Without that present mindfulness, the past and future overwhelm the subconscious.
Why does being present in the now matter?
Last night, when I went to bed, a bunch of different things were running through my head. Concerns about my finances, my weight, and trying not to disappoint the people who care about me. When I woke up this morning I felt as if someone was sitting on my chest. Not a physical discomfort, it was a sinking feeling, an intangible dis-ease, and I just was not sure what to do with it.
I was thinking about disappointment, both from myself and those I care about. My feelings were down, low, a mix of unworthiness, concern, and other negative emotions. I found myself lamenting mistakes of the past and anxious about the future.
I have to make a choice here. Continue to allow my thoughts and feelings to run subconsciously outside of my influence and control…or stop, analyze what’s going on inside my head, and be present in the now.
Once I am present, I can explore what has caused me to think and feel this way. By bringing this to my consciousness, rather than leaving it in my subconscious, I am now aware, in the here-and-now, of what I am thinking and what and how I am feeling.
The why is not as important as the what and the how of the subconscious mindset, at least not immediately. Getting to the why in time, though, helps you understand the point of origin for such a mindset, and work to change that in the future.
The point of this is that I am no more or less worthy and deserving of choosing to have a good day than you are. I have a choice, and so do you. This can be a bit of a challenge, and it can be super uncomfortable — but it is utterly worth it.
Being present can make or break your day
When you allow your subconscious behind the wheel, it can and will take you to places you’d rather not visit. Shady neighborhoods, vast and empty deserts, and any other metaphor you can think of for an experience you’d like to avoid or not have at all. Because your subconscious is almost entirely based on a combination of past thoughts and future concerns, it has the potential to drive your new day into negative places.
Why? Because if you are anything like me when you are not present in the here-and-now, conscious of what you are thinking and what and how you are feeling, you tend to revisit past experiences and “what if?” future happenings.
Does this seem familiar? You look back at things you did in the past — maybe only yesterday — and feel disappointment, annoyance, embarrassment, or some other negative emotion related to a thing that happened, and worries about it. Then, with that worry, you feel anxious about making the same mistake again, or going forward making some new error or another experience that will go badly.
When your subconscious takes you there, THIS day, as in today, is affected.
Maybe you are fortunate enough to largely experience positive thoughts of the past and excitement for the future. That’s great if you can. I am looking to do that myself. The best way to do that is through mindfulness in the here and now.
As Lao Tzu said:
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
This is why being mindful of the here and now is so important to your day.
How do you be present in the now?
Let me caution you right off the bat — there is no quick fix, no One True Way to be present. Getting your mindset into the here and now requires intentional action. Further, because change is constant and ongoing, you cannot do this only once and be done. This requires constant vigilance and actions.
I struggle with this myself, in part because I will neglect my own suggestions such as I am making here. Yet when I have been good about my practice and done these things, it has pulled me into the present and helped me to take a better approach to my day.
Practice is the key, and only through ongoing practice can you get better at this. I have to laugh at myself here because I need to do everything I am suggesting here more regularly.
Methods to draw yourself into the here and now
1. Ask Questions. This is so huge. You need to ask yourself, What am I thinking? How am I feeling? What am I feeling? Just asking these questions pulls your mind into the here and now. Drawing yourself to the present with these simple questions helps your mindfulness, and impacts your day.
2. Pause. You don’t need to meditate or take a long time to get your head screwed on better. Take a deep breath or two or three. Stop, close your eyes, clear your mind a second. Consider your breathing. Meditate for 5–20 minutes. Just pause, and allow a moment to get clarity and be present. It’s rather stunning how powerful this can be.
3. Redirect. When you wake up in the morning, do you feel rested? No matter how much sleep I get, I seldom do. So I have to choose if I am going to be grumpy about waking up and getting out of bed, or good-natured and ready to take on my day. If you find yourself filled with trepidation, concern, and lethargy, CHOOSE to redirect your thoughts to more positives.
Ask the above questions and pause to help with this process. But just recognizing the need to redirect and taking action to do it is vastly helpful.
4. Express Gratitude. Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools you have. When you say THANK YOU and feel grateful for anything at all, it opens you up to both giving and receiving more to be grateful for. Say Thank You out loud for anything and everything that you can think of. Feel the thankfulness when you say it. Thank you for this new day and all the possibility it represents.
Gratitude also can bring you into the now by making you mindful of tons of thoughts and feelings about things that you are and can be grateful for.
Today can be an amazing day
You get to decide whether this statement is true or not. When you are mindful of your thoughts and feelings, you gain awareness of where your mindset is in the here and now. Being present gives you more influence and control over your day. This, in turn, empowers you to choose what kind of day you are going to have.
Yes, I recognize that all sorts of things might happen during the course of the day that suck. You have no control over the outside world. But when your starting mindset is conscious and present, rather than allowing subconscious thoughts to drag you down and latch onto negatives, you can cope with, handle, and overcome whatever happens along the way.
You can make today amazing. Be aware of what you are thinking, how and what you are feeling, and see how that allows you to choose to approach the day.
Have an amazing day today.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, and your day can and should be incredible.