Grateful For The Now: 3 Ways To Stay Grounded And Live In The Present

by Jessica Moran

The majority of our lives are spent wishing for the next thing. When you don’t have a boyfriend, you wish you were in a relationship. When you have a boyfriend, you wish you were engaged.

When you’re engaged, you can’t wait to get married and have all that stressful planning done and over with. It’s always "on to the next," and I’m completely guilty of this.

I was recently diagnosed with leukemia, and I am now receiving chemotherapy treatments.

I constantly think about how much I can’t wait for this time period of my life to be over — how I can’t wait until I’m “normal” again.

I can’t wait until I can have drinks again. I can’t wait until I don’t have to go to the hospital every week. I can’t wait until this darn port (a permanent IV) is out of my chest. I can’t wait to have a dog. I can’t wait to get rid of my long commute to work.

I can’t wait.

I’m wishing away my life because it’s “hard” right now. But then, I sit and think about it and realize it’s always going to be hard.

Life will always have bumps in the road and obstacles to overcome. You don’t go over one big wave and then have smooth sailing the rest of the ride.

Navigating those rocky breakers is part of being human. So, I can hope this time in my life will be the most difficult, but I need to stop pretending like this is the only complicated thing I will experience in my life.

I need to start living in the now and appreciating the day in front of me.

I feel like the expression, “live in the moment,” is so overused and rarely ever acted upon, but it’s the only way to truly express how I feel. You have to embrace and be grateful for each day.

Because as wonderful as tomorrow looks today, who knows if you’ll ever get there? That sounds bleak, but it’s the truth.

Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so if you spend all of today looking forward to tomorrow, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine that’s beating down on you right in this moment.

Saying this and living this are two different things. It takes practice and a lot of effort to actually feel happy and to wholeheartedly accept the day.

I’ve realized being happy isn’t something that just happens; you have to make a conscious effort to attain it.

I believe being thankful for the many blessings you have in your life really helps to achieve this joy.

I've noticed a few easy practices have helped me take on each day with a better mindset:

1. Meditating

Meditating for a few minutes in the morning before I get out of bed is extremely helpful.

My type of meditating doesn’t consist of any Om chanting or special rituals that take a considerable amount of time.

Rather, I sit up straight with my legs crossed, close my eyes and think about how grateful I am for this day, for my life and the people in my life.

Doing this starts the day off on a positive note. It is a reminder to feel thankful for simply being alive and getting to live this day.

2. Deep Breathing

Another thing I’ve been trying to do more often is take deep breaths. I know this sounds so simple, but it can be so impactful. It physically calms your body down when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out.

Breathing deeply — in through your nose and slowly out through your mouth — can help reduce anxiety, which is something we desperately need.

While I’m doing my breath work, I often say to myself, “I am strong. I am loved, and I will get through this.”

These three sentences have sort of become my mantra that I’ve been telling myself since the day I was diagnosed, but yours can be whatever you want.

You mantra should be whatever makes you feel more at ease, gives you confidence and makes you feel like you can get through whatever life is handing you.

And, the beauty about pairing deep breathing with a personal affirmation is that it can be done anytime, anywhere.

3. Embracing Nature

The last thing I’ve found that helps to ground me and bring my mind to the present moment is to look up at the sky.

You need to really look, throw your head back and embrace its beautiful openness. See how big it is.

Think about how small you are in the world compared to it. It’s a humbling feeling, and I find that it helps to give you a sense of much-needed perspective.

That being said, I don’t want to act like I don’t realize the importance of planning ahead or being excited for the future.

Being excited for what’s to come is what motivates us to push ourselves to be the best we can be. It’s just important to remember to be grateful for the now, too.

Be grateful for this moment. Even if it’s a difficult moment, be thankful for it.

It might be tough, but it’s making you stronger. Simply said, be grateful for your life — it’s a beautiful one.