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How To stay In the Present: A Guide To Living One Day at a Time

woman writing on a journal in her desktop

Chances are you have heard the expression, “one day at a time.” While you might understand this expression, putting it into practice is where many stumble and lose sight of the meaning. 

When you experience major changes in your life, such as beginning the journey of addiction recovery, taking it one day at a time is recommended. Changing your perspective to slowing down and controlling your emotions will take a lot of practice. Let’s look at three ways to help you understand what it means to live one day at a time.

What Is Preventing You From Living in the Moment?

Living in the moment means focusing and concentrating on the present with little thought to the past or future. There is much importance to being present such as better relationships, health, mood, and self-control. If you are having trouble living in the moment, it is important to look at what might be preventing you from doing so. 

  • Troubles of the Past: The past is often home to some of the most painful memories. It can become so uncomfortable and painful to remember these unpleasant moments that you try to seek a way to escape from these memories. Attached to these memories are emotions that can still influence you today. You may turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, or food to cope with these painful memories.
  • Triggers or Outside Influences: Peer pressure and social media can also prevent you from living in the present. You might become preoccupied with comparing your life to another’s life rather than focusing on your needs to maintain good mental and physical health.

Don’t Focus On the Big Picture, Focus On What Is Next

Grief, sadness, loneliness, and anxiety feel unpleasant when you are in the moment. Such feelings could cause you to wish you could speed up the process and get to the good moments. However, when you focus on the end goal, it can become overwhelming to think of what you must do to get there. Therefore it is important to focus on what comes next, not the overall result.

If you tend to rush the process and achieve the satisfaction of reaching the end goal, you stand to perpetuate feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Therefore, you must learn how to break things down into smaller, more manageable goals. You can start by learning to leave the future and focus on the now.

Take It One Challenge at a Time

Another aspect of taking life one day at a time is taking it one challenge at a time. In life, you will inevitably face challenges and even experience setbacks. These moments can leave you feeling defeated and even cause you to want to abandon your dreams, hopes, and desires. While making mistakes is not bad and part of the learning experience, allowing them to keep you from moving forward will do more harm than good. 

Addiction recovery requires you to acknowledge and sort through all aspects of your life that have been affected by substance use. It may mean identifying damaged relationships and friendships, academic setbacks, and health issues. Therefore, the urge to try and fix everything at once may consume you, and you can grow overwhelmed. However, when you change into the perspective of taking it one problem at a time, you will understand that you don’t have to solve all your problems at once. Start by identifying which problem needs the most immediate attention from you.

Practice Mindfulness

Being mindful means being completely conscious and aware of where you are physically, mentally, and emotionally. Focus on becoming aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical and mental health in relation to your immediate surroundings. When you are mindful, you can control your thoughts and behaviors and learn about what triggers your impulse to use substances.  

Start incorporating mindful practices into your daily routine and lifestyle. You can research or read about different tools to use that allow you to stay in the present. 

A few things to start practicing are:

  • Meditation
  • Putting your phone down
  • Journaling
  • Yoga
  • Showing gratitude and compassion
  • Breathing exercises

Making the necessary changes to help you stay grounded in the present will allow you to enjoy the small moments in life. Incorporating mindful practices into your daily routine will get you into the habit of making more time for your current responsibilities and commitments. Identifying what is causing you to lose focus of living in the moment will show you where you need to change your current lifestyle.  

In recovery, the goal of maintaining sobriety can feel impossible. You may be dealing with feelings of shame, regret, and guilt about past substance use that distract you from your current goals. Practicing mindfulness will help you stay grounded on your road to recovery. If you or someone you know is looking for an addiction recovery treatment center that offers a safe and empathetic environment, Clearfork Academy is here to help. At Clearfork Academy, we understand how unique the addiction recovery process is for each individual, which is why we tailor our treatments to meet your specific needs. We offer a detox program that helps teenage males get on the road to sobriety, followed by treatment programs that help heal and navigate new lifestyles. To learn more about how we can help you get on the road to recovery, reach out to us at Clearfork Academy today by calling (866) 650-5212.