As a culture we tend to be future oriented and forward moving. Planning and setting goals are helpful to being the person we want to be, although we often miss the wonder and beauty of the present moment. As I deepen my study of the practice of yoga, I am reminded of the value of mindfulness and meditation. Being present in each moment as it happens is not an easy task, yet beneficial to calming our minds and bodies. Most often the stress and suffering we experience is from our future focus or dwelling in the past.
From a cognitive psychology perspective, our thoughts are what influence our feelings and actions. These thoughts again, are often of the past or the future. For example, how often do we have the thought, “I should have done better” on a given task and shame or frustration fallow. If we instead acknowledge that we didn’t do as well as we would like (present moment) and follow this with a more balanced thought, “ I did as well as I could at this time” we decrease the suffering we experience.
By taking time, even five minutes a day, to sit quietly and non-judgmentally watch our thoughts, we can begin to cultivate a new outlook and experience of life. Sit in stillness or walk in nature and be present to the sensations in your body or the sounds around you. Notice thoughts that are stuck in the past or projecting you into the future. Create a balanced thought that grounds you in the present.
Laura Sferra is a licensed counselor in private practice and a registered yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance. She weaves the many benefits of yoga into her counseling practice, offering alternative ways of managing stress, depression, anxiety, depression and other emotional concerns. Laura also specializes in the treatment of eating disorders and food/body issues. She offers private yoga sessions and yoga classes through Garden Street School of Yoga in Coeur d’Alene. For more information go to www.SferraCounseling.com