Do you find yourself overwhelmed with life – all the time? Constantly worrying about an event that’s taking place next week, or stressing about a bad interaction with someone at work? This is where learning to live in the present can be beneficial to reducing stress and finding more happiness in your day.
Personally, I have been bad at living in the present which is why it’s something I am constantly striving to improve on. I’m a dreamer, a goal setter and I’m typically thinking of a million things at once. This can be seen as positive, but it also means that I may not be taking in the experiences, joy and meaning in life right now. This is why finding ways to live in the present has been a real priority for me over the last year or so.
If all of this sounds like you, read on!
First things first, let’s get into why living in present is so important.
The Benefits of Living in the Present
By thinking about what you are doing in the present moment in time, you are focused on the task at hand or a place of contentment. This means you aren’t worried about the future or the past. By finding ways to be mindful in what you are doing in the moment allows you to slowly release tension and stress.
You will be a better friend if you are truly present. This means you can be a better listener, offer valuable advice, have a good laugh and offer more love. Living in the present in your relationships means more happiness for you and your friend, family member or spouse.
If you are living in the present that means you can truly see what you have in life. The everyday simplicities that bring you joy, the people that are always there for you that you might currently be taking for granted. Embracing gratitude in your life leads to positive thinking about your current situation. Living in the present allows you to think of what you have and not focus on what you don’t yet have.
If you are being present that also means you are getting things accomplished! We all want this. There is no time to worry about the past or future if you are focused a 100% on the task at hand.
Whether you’re playing an instrument, writing, dancing, learning calligraphy or painting; being mindful of your actions allows you to 100% focus on your art. You’ll notice something new you haven’t seen before, or appreciate what you’re accomplishing right at the moment.Living in present allows you to think of what you have in life and not focus on what you don't yet have. #gratitude #liveinthepresent #mindfullness Click To Tweet
There are many more benefits to living in the moment:
- Improving intimacy in your relationship.
- You’ll get better at problem-solving.
- Idea generation enhances.
- You can focus easier.
- Food tastes better!
- You’ll be more aware of the good in your life.
- Overall mental health improves.
- You’ll feel more fulfilled.
If you want to begin to live in the present it starts with some habit changes. There will be certain places and times you can focus on being more present.
4 Areas of Focus to Live in the Present:
#1. When Interacting with People
We interact with people all day long, every day. Do you find yourself waiting for them to finish so you can speak? This is not a great way to interact – and don’t worry, we have all been guilty of this. When you want to try being more present in your conversations with others focus on:
- Eye contact.
- Active listening – head nods, smiles, gestures.
- Positive body language. Don’t cross those arms – open them up and welcome the conversation.
- Truly think about what the other person is saying. Put yourself in their shoes.
- Give them thoughtful answers, feedback and comments about what they are talking about.
Our interactions with others can be serious, funny, nostalgic and everything in between. When being present with someone the point is to get as much out of the interaction as possible. Don’t get sidetracked by something else. Embrace the moment, which benefits you and your relationships!
#2. During Your Tasks
When starting some big tasks you want to accomplish, being present begins with knowing what you need to do and being aware of what you’re able to complete right now. Don’t make a massive to-do list that isn’t achievable. Start with one task and decide what you can do to finish the task within a given period of time. I write about a way you can time block parts of your day which will help you achieve this.
You’ll find that being truly present when working on projects helps you complete them faster and more efficiently.
#3. In Your Environment
Here’s a scenario for you. You’re walking down the street and you notice a new coffee shop you haven’t seen before. You go in, buy a coffee and ask how long they’ve been opened. They say 4 years. Ha! This actually happened to me. Why? I seem to be in a zone when I’m walking in familiar areas. I don’t always notice what’s going on around me because I’m in my head, or thinking about a conversation I’ve yet to have.
Now, when I’m going anywhere, especially when enjoying the outdoors I make a point of looking up! Try doing the same. Take in what’s new, as well as what’s the same. Think about why you enjoy being in this place, or why you don’t. Make a point of looking around in new areas (up the street, around the corner). Take a different route. Truly explore your everyday surroundings. You’ll actually be amazed at what you might discover that you’ve not paid attention to before.
#4. When you’re in a tough situation.
Don’t sit on it. Do whatever you can to resolve the problem right away. If there is a conflict in your life, don’t shy away from it hoping it will disappear, as all it will do is get you worrying about what happened. Do what you can to make amends and if the other person doesn’t want to resolve or a situation doesn’t seem fixable yet, just know that you’ve addressed the issue and done what you can at this moment in time.
Quick Tips to Start Living in the Present
- Start small. Decide which parts of your day you’re going to be present. Perhaps, while eating breakfast, during a daily walk, or watching your kid’s baseball game.
- Set an alarm on your phone. This will help as a reminder to bring yourself into the present moment. Start by setting 3 alarms per day at times that work for you.
- Put your phone away. Going for dinner with a friend? Please don’t check your phone! Passing time waiting for someone? Try reading a book instead, or just take in the environment around you.
- Decide what you want to accomplish before starting an activity. Knowing what and why you want to do something will make it easier to stick with being mindful and accomplishing your task.
- Start a journal. Write down how you’re learning to live in the present. How does it feel? What have you learned? What do you find difficult? Capturing your thoughts around ways to live in the present is also living in the present!
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For those who are sceptical, know that living in the present doesn’t mean you are hiding from the future, that you aren’t setting goals and that you aren’t enjoying happy memories. What it does mean is that you have goals and plans and are actually acting on them instead of dreaming about them. You appreciate great times from the past but are also responsible for making great moments now.
I’d love to know what you think about living in the present. Do you find it difficult? Is it something you are mindful of? What ways do you try and be present in your daily life?
Let me know in the comments below!
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