How to Live in the Present Moment

This mindfulness technique can help you stop stressing about the past and worrying about the future — by bringing you back to the present.

Do you ever feel irritable or frustrated for no apparent reason? Perhaps your patience is thin and you find yourself lashing out at those around you. Often, this reactivity stems from ruminating over the past (Why did I do that? If I could just change that one action . . .) or worrying about the future (What if this or that happens?).

Yet it’s futile to relive the past and impossible to know what tomorrow will bring. Ruminating and worrying distract us from truly showing up for ourselves and others.
Mindfulness meditation, however, can help us tame these negative thought patterns. The foundation of a mindfulness practice involves residing in the present moment without judgment or expectations. Acknowledging the past from this place of neutrality can empower us to work more ­effectively toward our goals.

Meditation can help ease anxiety and pain as well as quell irritability and depression. Most important, it can help us appreciate each moment.

To harness this power, start each day with at least five minutes of silent meditation. You can use the CRAB technique, described below, to get unstuck first thing in the morning, then revisit it throughout the day to ground yourself.

CRAB Technique

C: Connect with your intention to be truly well.
R: Recognize whatever emotions are within you in the moment, without evasion or judgment. Take a few calming breaths. Smile slightly.
A: Accept how the emotions feel in your mind and body, exploring them with compassionate curiosity. Allow yourself to move past internal tension, acknowledging your own natural wish for the body to be comfortable.
B: Bring forward a few phrases to connect with your intention, such as I choose light, or May I be free of this negativity.

This article originally appeared as “Practicing Presence” in the October 2022 issue of Experience Life Magazine.