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Don’t Pause Life, Find Joy In The Present

Life over the last year has not been all we expected. Events, holidays and memories have been paused until we regain some sort of normality. There are still many restrictions on travel and social events, but why should life wait? Why wait until after the pandemic is over to learn a new skill, start a new hobby or work on self-growth?

The Covid-19 crisis has stretched out longer than we all anticipated or wanted, and unfortunately, there isn’t a clear end in sight. Don’t sacrifice your own happiness or wait for life to resume. See lockdown as an opportunity to work on things and find joy in the present.

“Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

-Benjamin Franklin

One of the things we may have learnt is the importance of time. In the past, we may not have ‘found the time’ for self-care, hobbies and household maintenance. The truth is, it was never really about a lack of time, the problem was how we prioritised our time. We would shop when we were bored, attend social events that didn’t serve us or find comfort in our smartphones.

In a digital world where everything is at our fingertips, the virtue of patience is lost and that is reflected in every aspect of our lives. We live in an age of instant gratification, where we can order something, and it will be with us the next day. The true value doesn’t come with a click of a button, learning a new skill or achieving your fitness goals takes time, patience and focus. Living in lockdown with most of our daily activities taken away from us, what can we truly achieve given the time to prioritise what we actually want? Learning a new language, beginning a new exercise program or establishing a new healthy daily routine? Why wait for normal?

We can choose to be happy today. We dream of finding happiness once we achieve financial freedom, and abundant lifestyle and success but until then we are overworked and overstressed. We do not need to wait until the lockdown is over or win the lottery or even when we have that dream job to be happy.

By shifting our focus and eliminating the negative influences in our life we can choose happiness, such as limiting media exposure, cutting out negative people and focusing on gratitude. Focusing on gratitude and practising mindfulness are the fastest ways to live more joyfully. The practice of mindfulness involves awareness in the present moment internally and externally. Internal awareness allows us to connect with our bodies and minds, whilst external awareness extends our connection to our physical space. Taking time to notice the simple joys in life through mindfulness and gratitude can really help connect to the present moment which is a key element in stress reduction and happiness.

“Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.”

– Buddha

Each moment is a new beginning. Events in the past and future only exist as a concept in our minds and what truly matters is the present moment. When the future arrives, it will happen in the present moment and if you are not present you will miss it. As people, we spend too much time mulling over the past and the future, whether we are looking to the future for hope and prosperity or looking to the past for answers and comfort. Our minds are constantly daydreaming about a better place where we can feel fulfilment and purpose, but that only truly exists in the here and now. Bombarded by a surplus of marketing on a daily basis, we feel a sense of disappointment and discontentment when life fails to deliver the perfect image of happiness that we were promised. Only when we disconnect from the false hope for the future, we can truly appreciate and live in the moment. Happiness doesn’t reside in the future or the past but in the here and now. So don’t pause life make the most of today, make the most of lockdown and live happier.

By Rachel at Cheswold Park Hospital

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