3 Simple Steps to Stop Mental Time Traveling

You can create daily routines that help rewire your brain for present moment awareness and free you from ruminating about the past or worrying about the future.

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What do standing in line at Starbucks, stop signs, and stairs have in common?

The answer — each are opportunities to integrate the experience of awareness into your everyday life.  The trick is to develop the habit of transforming these everyday experiences of modern life into opportunities to skillfully direct your attention to what is happening right here, right now.

If you’re reading this article, you may have already experienced this acute state of present moment awareness. You know what it’s like to be fully engaged in a conversation with a loved one, to become absorbed in the flavors and textures of your food, or to lose yourself in the sight of a beautiful sunset. And you may know the profound feeling of inner calm that accompanies these sublime moments, which, as it turns out, are always available to us.

The problem, of course, is that, for most of us, this rich experience of being fully here now in the present moment rarely arises in the course of everyday life. The natural habit of our minds is to leave this current moment and to instead get caught up in an elaborate game of time traveling. (A part of your brain might even be…