Mental Health and Living in the Present Moment

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The much venerated ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, once said, “If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious, you are living in the future, if you are at peace you are living in the present”. It means living in the present brings instant peace and happiness.

When you understand the secret of living in the present moment, happiness will never be an illusion anymore.

Probably that is why it is called the ‘present’, a gift to mankind. Living in the present moment means “mindful living” or mindfulness, which is now an integral part of the treatment in any mental health center.

Why practice mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness has both physical and mental benefits. Scientists and psychiatrists alike have now discovered the many benefits of mindfulness.

On a physical level mindfulness can:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Provide relief from stress
  • Treat heart ailment
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce chronic pain and
  • Ease gastrointestinal problems

Looking from the mental health perspective, mindfulness can treat:

  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders

A lot of patients coming to mental health centers bring a lot of pain and agony from their past. Living with those thoughts could be really tough. So, easing the pain of such patients is the first step in the treatment process. Combined with other treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapists also teach them mindfulness as a key element in the treatment. With the practice of mindfulness, the patients get a grip of the irrational, manipulative, and self-defeating thoughts.

Mindfulness meditation: It is a simple meditation technique where one is given a simple mantra to chant. You allow your thoughts to wander without any judgment. Just remind yourself that whatever happens to you at the moment is right for you.

Observing Body sensations: In this technique one has to notice any bodily sensation and not pass judgment on it.

Experiencing emotions: Experience your emotions quietly without being judgmental. See every emotion pass by without being judged as good, bad etc.

Urge surfing: It is a technique where one copes with the cravings for addictive substances or behaviors. The cravings are simply allowed to pass while noticing the various changes in the body during the process.

Practicing these simple techniques alone has delivered many from stress and anxiety with more and more people are adopting them by the day.


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