By Sandra Corelli, Vice President, Corporate Class Inc.
Have you ever heard the saying “don’t let the future steal your present?”
It can be challenging to do, especially during times of uncertainty. The COVID-19 crisis has many of us worried about a number of factors like our health or the health of our loved ones, financial commitments, and our jobs…just to name a few. Our minds can easily get distracted by worrying or feeling anxious about things that we “think may happen” in the future. This impacts our overall mental and emotional well-being and our ability to make effective decisions in the present, which will help our future.
Try these five tips to help you stay present: ⠀
1. Conduct a “What if?” detox
The words “What if?” can be very powerful and can often lead to creating your own narratives about what may happen in the future. Most worries, anxieties, and fears start with “What if…?”. What if I catch the COVID-19 virus? What if I fall very ill? What if I lose my job? What if I can’t pay my rent? What if the economy does not recover? If not properly harnessed, all of these “What if’s?” can destroy your confidence and ability to stay present.
Try replacing “What if” with “I can” or “I will”, to help you stay focused on what you can control. For example: “I will practice social distancing and wash my hands regularly to mitigate the risk of me becoming ill.”
2. Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness means being more in tune with your thoughts and emotions and recognizing what your body needs. Focusing on your breath will draw you back to the present moment. This allows you to more effectively communicate whatyou are thinking and how you are feeling with others, which helps minimize your anxious thoughts. Listen to what your body is telling you and give it what it needs. If it is feeling run down, rest. Maybe you need fresh air or a glass of water.
3. Minimize News and Social Media
During a crisis, it’s important to stay informed on what’s happening in the news; however, it can be easy to become completely consumed. When you check social media or listen to news first thing in the day it becomes a lot harder to concentrate on anything andit’s harder to not be dragged into a negative loop. Limit the amount of time you’re spending watching the news and scrolling on social media. Give yourself limited time slots during the day to check-in. ⠀⠀
4. Feed the Senses⠀
Focusing on your five senses can be one of the best tools to bring you back to the now. If you find your mind wandering, take control of your thoughts by asking yourself: What do I hear? Taste? Feel? See? Smell? This helps take you away from ruminating and reminds you that what matters most is what’s happening right at this moment.
5. Create a Reminder⠀
Creating a reminder for yourself can give you the nudge you need to get back to the present moment. You can use sticky notes, screensavers, set an alarm on your phone, or a picture of something that grounds you and helps bring you back to the present moment.
Get Present. Pause. Connect.