Most of us have a tendency to live in the past or the future. How often do you find yourself thinking about what happened yesterday, or what might happen tomorrow? How does this affect your life and well-being?
The easiest way to explain living in the present is to start by explaining what it means to not be present, since this is the state we have become habitually used to.
When you aren’t being present you become a victim of time. Your mind is pulled into the past or the future, or both.
Your thoughts are of the past: what has been, what could have been, what you thought happened vs. what actually did happen. Or, your thoughts are of the future: what will be, what could be, what might be, if…
Of course, it’s natural to spend moments of thought in the past or in daydreams of the future. Identifying impending dangers through associations with things that have happened in the past is important for self-preservation.
But when our lives become dictated by thoughts and emotions attached to past events and potential future outcomes, standing peacefully rooted in the present becomes increasingly rare.
The idea of “living in the moment” has inspired a lot of motivational posters and T-shirts, but it’s really an important concept. You’ve probably heard several variations: Live like there’s no tomorrow. Live as if you’ll die today. Living in the moment takes practice, but when you learn how to live this way, you will lead a fuller life and appreciate the beauty in every activity every second of the day. Learn how to live in the moment with these six ideas.
1. FOCUS ON THE NOW
In order to live in the moment, you need to focus on the now. Focus on what you’re doing. Shut off the TV, turn off the computer, slow down, and savor the present.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO THE SMALL THINGS
Notice the world around you: the small things. Be thankful for them. Living for the moment and taking notice of the small things will help you cultivate more positive experiences.
If you want to know how to live in the moment, you just have to take a look in the mirror and smile. Smile — it can influence how you feel.
4. PERFORM RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Random acts of kindness, those selfless acts that help others, help you live for the moment of making others smile, and making you smile as well. Random acts of kindness are just that — random. They are spontaneous, in the moment, and a great addition to your daily life.
5. GIVE THANKS
Be thankful. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But it isn’t always. It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving for you to feel grateful and express that gratitude.
6. DON’T WORRY
It’s much harder than it sounds, but try to remember that worrying today won’t change what happens tomorrow. Every second you spend in worry about the future is a second of the present wasted. Because worrying takes you out of this moment and transports you into the realm of future possibilities, it’s impossible to live in the moment and worry at the same time.
Instead, if circumstances are troubling, focus on ways you can solve an existing problem now or otherwise improve the current moment. Spending time focused on what may happen down the line robs you of fully experiencing what is happening now. Life in the moment moves quickly — don’t miss it.