This is a very self-explanatory skill: simply try to focus on what is happening in the “now” rather than dwelling on the past or future.
By doing one thing at a time
- Focus your entire attention on just what you are doing now, be aware of what is going on right now in the internal and external world and how you are experiencing it
- If other actions or thoughts or feelings distract you, pull your mind back to what you are doing.
- If you find you are doing two things at once, stop and go back to one thing at a time.
By being an encouragement to yourself
- Cheerlead yourself: repeat assurances over and over to yourself
- Enter into your experiences, let yourself get involved in the moment, become comfortable in the experience by continuously refocusing on the experience you are in
- Act intuitively with wisdom, do just what is needed to fully engage in the situation at hand
- Actively practice your skills as you learn them until they become part of you, using them without being conscious of it
By being non-judgemental about yourself
- Examine a situation, but don’t evaluate it. Take a non-judgemental stance, focus on the facts and not your interpretation of them.
- Acknowledge the helpful without critiquing. Acknowledge the harmful without always labeling
- When you find yourself judging, acknowledge it without beating yourself up for judging
By focusing on what works, what needs to be done in each situation
- Stay away from labels like “fair”/”unfair”, “right”/”wrong”, “should”/”shouldn’t”
- Act skillfully, meeting the needs of the situation you are in; not the situation you wish you were in
- Keep an eye on your objectives in the situation and do what is necessary to achieve them
- Don’t let your feelings make decisions for you
When I was sick, all I thought about was the future. “Tomorrow I’ll eat less.” “I better be this weight by ___.” “I can’t try to replenish my weight because I’ll become obese.”
My thoughts revolved around the future, it was impossible for me to try to focus on what I was doing unless there was food in front of me and I needed to figure out how to ration myself. It is sick to think of all the thoughts and obsessions that ran through my mind at any time.
To help myself try to be in the moment better, I tried to switch my focus on the future from worries to goals. Instead of dreading weight-gain, I set my goal of getting back to school. I won’t lie, I still stressed about the future but it was more immediate things, like “I hope that when I wake up my clothes will still fit me.”
Being a college student, it is hard not to think about the future. There’s always assignments due, there’s a graduation date to keep up with, there’s the period of waiting to get papers and tests back. It can all be so overwhelming. To help myself with that, I don’t stress over things that I know I’m not working on at the moment. I assign days for me to de certain things so I know what I need to do, and if I miss those deadlines for myself, then I know I can worry a little, but I don’t let it get to me. I know that in the grand scheme of things, my future employers won’t look at my full transcript from college. All they will look at is my diploma.
To help myself stay in the moment, I sometimes just need to close my eyes and take a deep breath, remembering what I truly need to focus on.