This Is How You Can Live In The Present Moment
Too often, we let the beautiful moments of life slip away because of how noisy our minds are.
Or worst, how busy our lives are. We’re wired to think 24/7, use our phones without even thinking, get into our Gmail accounts the second we open our eyes in the morning. The list is endless, really.
Can you think back on the most recent date you had? Did you get on your phone? Take a picture of your drink? Maybe your food? Maybe the atmosphere?
Did you go to the grocery store and skim through your phone beforehand in the car?
Are you waiting in line for your coffee right now reading this article? Or maybe you just scroll through Instagram instead?
Everything I mentioned above are things we all do, myself included, on a daily basis. I’m a content creator; sometimes, I feel like it’s my job to think 24/7.
I create lifestyle content for YouTube, which means I’m probably filming all the time. Too engrossed in the camera’s view of the sunset to actually look up and enjoy the view through my own two eyes.
I’m a writer, and thinking about writing is part of the process, so even when I’m doing something like cooking — or yoga, I’m actively thinking about my next story.
Journalist Jay Dixit says,
Life unfolds in the present. But we let the present slip away, allowing time to go past us unobserved and unseized and squandering the precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future and ruminate about what’s in the past.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of letting precious moments go by. You wait for Friday to come, and then when it does, you don’t even enjoy it because you’re stuck in your head about what else you’re going to do over the weekend.
It’s time to start enjoying every moment for what it is, a moment. One that will never repeat itself. With that being said, here’s a few strategies I’m implementing into my life to be more present.
Stop thinking about it.
I went to a hot yoga class today as a way to “detach” from my usual day-to-day routine and relax.
I’m an avid gym-goer, but doing something outside of my comfort zone (like sitting in a hot room with a bunch of other people doing random poses that I really don’t know how to do) is always my go-to when I’m feeling stuck.
For an entire hour, I was a nervous wreck. The room was dark; I could barely see the instructor. I’ve done Bikram yoga before, but this was different, and the class was called “free-flow,” which meant that after a couple of poses, you got to do whatever you wanted.
Oh, Joy, I thought to myself, I don’t even know how to yoga, and they want me to come up with my own stuff? I need guidance!
Here’s the problem with this type of thinking, you think so hard about what you’re doing that it actually makes the whole situation worse. If you’re doing something that makes you nervous or anxious — focusing on your anxiety will only heighten it and make it feel scarier.
As the yoga session continued, my mental chatter was nonstop. I thought about the weird pose the grandpa in front of me was doing; I mean, it was dark, but he was definitely killing it. Meanwhile, I was struggling to stretch out my hamstrings because I did kettlebell swings the day before.
When you learn to focus on your current experience without attaching it to your self-esteem or people making fun of you for not knowing how to do a child pose, whatever you’re doing starts to feel less threatening.
Psychologist Stephen Schueller says,
Focusing on the present moment also forces you to stop overthinking. Being present-minded takes away some of that self-evaluation and getting lost in your mind — and in the mind is where we make the evaluations that beat us up; instead of getting stuck in your head and worrying, you can let yourself go.
Savor your present moments.
I’m the type of person who will go somewhere, for instance, a restaurant, and before we’re even done with our meal, I’m scrolling through to see if I can make another reservation the following weekend.
I’m also someone who gets more excited about her second bowl of cereal rather than thoroughly enjoying the first one.
What’s wrong with being excited and giddy about the first one? It’s not like the second one will taste any different. Sure maybe it will hit different, but this is probably one of the easiest ways to let precious moments go to waste.
We put so much focus on the future and what we’re going to do next or eat next that we completely bypass how great our current situation is. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve chugged my first margarita without tasting it because I was so excited to try the next flavor.
Learn to savor the moment. The next time you’re sipping a glass of wine, going on a vacation, doing something fun, or doing whatever it is that you do, don’t think to yourself, oh I can’t wait for the next one, or oh next time I’ll try this. Instead, focus on that precise moment — just relish in what you taste, feel and experience that very second.
Whenever I go out for dinner and drinks, or even simply at home whenever I’m eating, I’ve made it a priority to be more mindful of the flavor of my food. By putting my focus into it, I take my time — relishing every bite.
Savoring will inevitably force you into the present, so you won’t be able to worry about things that are going on around you or things that haven’t even yet occurred.
Stop avoiding issues.
Whenever something inconveniences you, how do you respond to it? Do you face the issue immediately or sweep it under the rug?
I do a little bit of both; if it’s something like going to the dentist or returning an important phone call, I will usually do the latter.
However, that can really prevent you from enjoying life because when you’re out and about, you’ll still have that nagging thought in the back of your head reminding you that you still haven’t scheduled that nasty dentist appointment you’ve been avoiding.
You usually tend to avoid unpleasant thoughts, circumstances, and feelings, but those types of things can’t always be avoided, and resisting them will only magnify the problems at hand.
Something that could have easily been fixed with a teeth-cleaning and some flossing could turn into a cavity if it’s not addressed.
The next time something frustrating comes up, instead of avoiding it, hiding from it, judging it, wondering why on earth it fell onto your lap and not your neighbors — accept it and address it. Figure out a solution for it, and move on.
I’m currently trying to work on this by not putting anything important off as well as not avoiding things I feel in my day-to-day life. If I feel frustrated or upset, I don’t ignore it; instead, I get to the root of the issue to avoid a blow-up later on.
Avoiding it will only prolong it — which will result in your current happiness being temporary because inevitably, the issue will surface, and it might be even bigger than it was initially.
Being more present is a habit like anything else, one that you will have to learn over time because it certainly doesn’t happen overnight.
You’ve been trained to worry, think 24/7, avoid, ignore, and race through life, so resetting yourself will be a journey but will eventually add up to greater peace and happiness as you start living in the moment.
Once you do, a whole new world will open up for you.