Being present is the art of living in the now. It’s not worrying about what happened yesterday. Nor is it dreading what’s going to happen tomorrow. Living life in the moment is a conscious effort. Just because you’re laying back, scrolling through Facebook, not thinking about anything, doesn’t mean that you are in fact being in the moment.
It seems that many have lost the ability to be in the present. There are too many distractions. Notifications and television shows fight for our attention. These mind numbing activities leave us coasting through the moment. The question as to what we are going to do with our lives is ever present and makes us stress about the future. Fear of judgement and consequences generates the dread we harbor for our past action.
What Does Being Present Look Like
Living in the moment can be a welcomed relief. I’ve compiled a list of what being present is like and why you should master its art form. Feel free to add what it means to you in the comments below! I would love to know how being present benefits you.
- It can reduce stress
- Your relationships will improve
- You’ll be happier
- It becomes easier to be yourself
- You’ll notice more
- You’ll have more time to do things
- Focus on what’s important
- There’s no wrong way to do it-besides to not to
- Reduces anxiety
- You’ll experience less anger
- Life will seem more beautiful
- Being present lets you forget the negative
- Meet more people
- Can pursue new and old hobbies
- Lose the fear of yesterday and tomorrow
- You’ll make more memories
- Discover new passions
- Experience new and different things
- You’ll sleep better
- You’ll develop inner peace
- Being present is easier than you think
Sounds pretty awesome doesn’t it? That’s because it is! Learning how to be present in the moment really does allow you the opportunity to live your life the way you want to.
How to Be Present
With a little practice living in the moment can be easy. It doesn’t take a lot of time to practice it either. Getting in the rhythm of being present just takes some conscious effort and perhaps a few deep breaths.
1. Rethink Multitasking
Constantly being on the go is working against you. Multitasking is a skill that is usually honed and encouraged. I know I used to be a multitasking pro. There was never a moment that I wasn’t trying to accomplish at least two things at once. But to be present means to focus on the single increment of time that you are currently in.
Instead of trying to think of the multiple things that you should be doing or that needs to get done, think about this single moment.
Multitasking is inevitable though and it’s a good skill to have to get things done. But there’s a time and place for it. Try limiting the time you multitask to only when you are working. I know this is easier said then done. Scheduling your day is a great way to figure out exactly when you will no longer have to be multitasking. If you limit the time that you multitask to work when you get home your brain will naturally start to relax. Just like when you get to work your body will know it’s time to get stuff done.
Whether you’re doing tasks for work, errands/chores, or simply relaxing at home, be deliberate in your actions. Put your full focus into what you are doing. Not only will this make completing these tasks easier but you’ll also be more efficient. Giving your fully attention to what you are doing instead of thinking about what else could be done is exactly what living in the moment is all about.
3. Become a Better Listener
It’s hard to listen when your mind is being pulled in twenty different directions. Between work, friends, family, and everything else, focusing on just one thing can be difficult. Especially if you’re not truly interested in that thing. I think this is why we have a hard time listening sometimes
It’s not because we don’t care about what they’re saying or about that person. It’s because we care too much about everything else that is going on with our lives. We listen to say something back rather then to really understand the message. The next time you’re having a conversation with someone take the extra time to see how they say, hear everything they’re saying, and feel what they’re trying to say. Did you see where I was going with that? Being present involves using all of your senses in every given moment.
4. Savor Everything
Close your eyes. Activate your five main senses; hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste. These are the only tools that you need in order to live a life in the present. For each moment, to truly immerse yourself in it, tap into these senses. You may not be tasting something while you are having a conversation with someone but your other four senses should be fully activated.
When you are living life through your senses it becomes easier to savor the moments. You can truly enjoy what is going on around you if you are paying attention to what they are. The same way that when you take the time to taste your food its amazing, the same can be said about life. Truly listen to the music playing, figuratively and literally. Feel the rhythm in your body, let it sway you. Let life take you on the same little musical journey. Savor every little moment that you can.
5. Forget About the Future
These last two steps are easily the most difficult. Most of us spend our lives with the thought of tomorrow constantly lingering over us. Whether we are thinking about what we need to do to achieve our goals or worrying about what might happen the next day, thinking about the future is second nature. Goals and aspirations are important but they can coexist with the present. Instead of thinking about what you can do tomorrow, think about what you can do today. What can you be doing right now to be happy or to make decisions that will benefit your future?
No matter what we do, we can’t control the future. Things will happen that will completely throw us off the path that we had pre-established for ourselves. And thats fine. These unforeseen things give us a chance to grow and learn. All we can do is live today.
6. Let Go of the Past
Building off of forgetting the future, let go of the past. There is absolutely nothing that we can do to change the past. If something is truly bothering you then the only thing that you can do to change that is to address it. But when you go to address something from the past the best thing that you can do for yourself is to be in the present. Don’t repeat the past or try to fix it, come to terms with it and let it go.
Letting your past actions control your present can prevent you from living life the way that you want to. It can create unneeded stress and anxiety, leading to feelings of unhappiness. Take back control of today but letting go of yesterday and forgetting about tomorrow.
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