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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Part 8: Plugged into the Present

by jussiecatwriter (follow)
Mindfulness (59)      Awareness (28)      Present (6)      Senses (5)     


an electrical powercord
To stay 'plugged into the present' you need to be connected to it. This means you first need to disconnected to unhelpful thoughts or those with no utility concerning the past and future. Image courtesy of jigjoga at freedigitalphotos.net


The “Happiness Trap Pocketbook” (the abridged version of “The Happiness Trap”) recognises that there are two ways our mind can work by “Thinking” or by “Observing/Noticing”. Our “Thinking self” is busy all of the time, analysing and coming to conclusions.

This is useful if we have a problem to solve and our thoughts are therefore useful to us. However, if we are trapped inside our heads when there is no need to be – like when driving through the country, or going for a scenic walk we are going to miss out on a great deal of beauty that surrounds us.

Sometimes we are busy inside our minds when we our engaged in a conversation with someone else, and miss the majority of what the other person is saying. Even if this is unintentional, we lose out on really connecting with others.

When we have a delicious meal in front of us, we can be so absorbed in our thoughts that we don’t savour the tastes and flavours of what we are eating.

Many of us have had the experience of having to read the same sentence in a book over and over because we aren’t paying attention to the words on the page before us.

All in all, if we can come up with a rough figure of how much of the time we are present and actively involved with an attitude of curiosity and openness during the day, we would realise just how much we are missing out on!!

Being connected to the here and now enables us to be fully engaged in what’s going on around us – and to get the most out of life!

We spend so much time regretting the past, when we can’t change it. There’s nothing wrong with making plans for the future, which can inspire and motivate us in the present. However when we spend our times worrying about it, we are wasting time which we could use instead for changing the present, so minimising some of the concerns we may have in the future anyway. We miss out on the present – where life is happening – right here, right now!!

It’s in the present we can take action to create the lives we want. It’s in the present we are with the ones we love, moulding the relationships we want. It’s in the here and now where there is so much beauty present we can notice.

Here are some exercises that Russ suggests to help your connection muscles become better at fully engaging with the present moment!!

1. Using all five senses each day take a few minutes to observe 5 things you can 1. See 2 Hear 3 Feel 4 Touch 5 Smell.

2. Awareness of your body. Notice the position your body is in and notice the sensations throughout different parts of your body for 30 seconds.

3. Be aware of your breath entering your nostrils. Notice how it is cool and sharp on the way in and how it is warmer when you exhale.

In these relatively banal sensory experiences you would have noticed so many things that normally you aren’t aware of – think of what you can notice in life by becoming plugged in to the present moment!!

Remember Fusion from earlier articles? When we fuse with what’s in our minds, our subjective reality, we can’t fuse with what’s really happening in life!! We can’t connect with both what’s going on in our heads, and the richness of life around us. The more we do this, the more opportunities we all miss to take part in what life has to offer.

Plug yourself into the present and start living life in all its richness and fullness!


# Present
# Mindfulness
# Senses
# Awareness
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