How often are you really present?
John Lennon said that life is what happens when we're making other plans. If we are always planning (or worried about the future), we are not really living. We feel tired, burned out or stressed. These are symptoms of not being present.
For example, depression is worry about the past, anxiety is worry about the future, and mental health exists in the moment. We rarely exist in the moment, probably because we have not been taught how.
Listening is a way to be present. For instance, when we listen to someone else, really listen and demonstrate understanding, that is a gift we give another person.
Never miss a local story.
Listening to ourselves and being present with ourselves is a gift we can give ourselves. The present moment holds a power that most people do not use even though it is a way we can access everything we need to be happy. As Buddha said, we have everything inside ourselves in order to be happy. Fortunately, training ourselves (or retraining ourselves) to be present is possible, if not simple.
Sometimes being present is a matter of doing absolutely nothing, noticing and observing thoughts that come and go, noticing emotions that come and go. Doing nothing is very underrated in our culture, but not giving ourselves this break can rob us of peace of mind.
Also, at any given moment we can choose to use our imagination. Our subconscious can't tell the difference between what is real and not real. When we imagine the most beautiful and relaxing place we can, a good part of our senses thinks we are there and it can improve our mood in a short period of time. It's as though we can be "on vacation" any time that we want. Having a creative outlet requires imagination (painting, playing an instrument, keeping a journal) and it is healthy for your mind because it keeps you present.
As I have learned in my counseling practice, most distress is based on shame (of the past) or unmet expectations (what you thought the future would be). I also have learned that mental health, or emotional well-being, is facilitated by gratitude, love, appreciation, acceptance, and enjoyment — all of which are accessible at any given moment if we choose to attend to them.