The Art of Living in the Present
Your whole life, you’ve worked toward that dream of retirement. Now that it’s finally here, you might find yourself somewhat paralyzed with a mix of anxiety and trepidation. Maybe even asking yourself, “now what?” or “did I save enough?” or “what happens if my needs change?” This is perfectly normal. Transitions in life have never been known to come without a range of emotions—and retirement happens to be a fairly significant one. So, what do you do with this new wave of feelings that has you questioning—if not reconsidering—many of your preconceived notions about retirement life, or life in general?
First, it helps to take a minute to appreciate where you are and what you have. All too often, that appreciation for the here and now gets lost in the mind-consuming worry of what if, what was, or what will be. It’s in those deep folds of past and future contemplation that so many of our inner insecurities seem to take root, at times pulling us farther away from the peace of mind and happiness we desperately seek. In those instances, it simply helps to refocus on being present. But what does it mean to be present? More importantly, what can be gained in retirement life from striving to live more in the moment? Surprisingly, a lot. Here are seven benefits of living in the present.
Less overthinking, less worrying
To be present, you must learn to control that which is actually in your control. But all too often, we allow things that are out of our control to take charge. This is certainly true of those who go the rounds in endless mental circles, overthinking things. In many cases, these thoughts, worries, and fears impede anything from being enjoyed or even accomplished. In contrast, being present offers a great release from this habit. It can give you the much-needed break to stop agonizing over what may happen next and, instead, allow you the opportunity to take wise, decisive action under your own control. By doing so, you will actually be able to live more in the moment and experience what happens, when it happens, rather than miss it all together.
Greater appreciation for the world around you
One of the biggest advantages of becoming more present in day-to-day retirement living is a subsequent decrease in the amount of analyzing and labeling you might do to the things or people around you. In contrast, those moments of judgement-free mindfulness often turn what may have once seemed ordinary, routine, or even boring into something more interesting and wonderful. Think of it like looking at the world with the eyes of a child again. You’ll see more energy in nature, more awe in invention and, most importantly, more significance in associations with others.
Lose the stress
Living in the present carries with it a certain stillness and centeredness, inside and out. Not only will you be able to de-stress from many of life’s challenges but finding calmness in the moment will also remove much of the distress that often comes in tow. One of the best ways to calm down mentally and physically is to take a minute or two and breathe. By focusing on your inhale and exhale breaths, not only will you be able to better connect to the present moment for clearer thought and action, but you’ll also be able to melt off past or future event concerns that may be causing you stress.
Improved social skills
It’s said that depression lives in the past, anxiety lives in the future, and peace of mind lives in the present. That can certainly be the case when you consider all the worries that come with being social. When you are living in the present, your thoughts are no longer occupied with the insecurities of “what did they mean when they said that?” or “what will they think if I say this?” Instead, you let go of self-consciousness and, instead, focus your attention on the people you are interacting with in the moment. Being present can also improve your ability to listen by decreasing that instinctual need to be considering what you’re going to say next rather than listening to what is currently being said. Additionally, being present will also help you better tune out interruptions or distractions, allowing you to focus your attention on the conversation.
If you’ve ever done anything artistic—be it writing, painting, or designing—you may have found your best work happens when you aren’t thinking too hard about it. In those moments, the ideas just seem to come. Retirement life is much the same. The more present you are in any given moment, allowing worries and distractions to take a back seat, the more you’ll find inspiration and ideas to flow more freely. This ability to bypass the mental roadblocks that often cause us to second-guess our thoughts or question our decisions has the power to unleash inner creativity and ingenuity in numerous ways.
As previously mentioned, being present has the ability to remove many of the labels you put on people and things. Only when those preconceived notions are removed are you able to truly open yourself up to new people, new things, and new experiences. This openness can play a significant part in everything from how you choose to communicate with those around you to how you choose to express yourself in any given situation. Ultimately, the more barriers you are able to effectively remove within your mind, the easier it will be for these discovery opportunities to rise to the top, producing a richer, more fulfilling retirement.
Perhaps one of the most impactful results of becoming more present is the increased sense of liveliness that comes with it. Being present in the moment has an underlying capacity to inject energy into everyday life. As you do so, your mindset will shift from worry and concern and you’ll begin to see things from a new, almost playful point of view—often making daily challenges and struggles seem easier to handle. Most importantly, you’ll be able to let go of stress’s heavy weight and connect more fully with the present.
Experience the Height of Senior Living at Summit Vista
From getting birdies on our putting green to unleashing your creativity in our art studio, there’s always something interesting to do at Summit Vista. Contact our retirement counselors online or call 801-758-3138 to book a tour and discover more about our senior living community.