Are you living with dreams of the future or memories of the past? People who live in the moment are much happier and more self-confident. Living in the here and now sounds pretty simple, although it actually takes a lot of practice. Read on to learn how to let go of the what-ifs and start living in the moment.
1. Change your mindset
Realize that you are here. Accept the fact that you cannot be in the past or in the future. You are in the present, at the moment. It is never too late to learn how to live for today, the main thing is to realize that everything is happening right now, at this moment. The main task is to direct your thoughts to what is happening at the moment in order to become more attentive. Mindfulness or “true awareness” develops when we notice and acknowledge the present. How often does it happen that our thoughts about a recent conversation or event swirl in our head? Look at your hands, how do you feel? Are they warm or cold? Pay attention to what thoughts are holding you in the here and now. It will also help you accept what is happening in the world around you. Look out the window and observe carefully how the leaves move in the wind, how birds fly from tree to tree. When you notice what is happening around you, you become closer to “true awareness.”
Don’t think too much. You are not your thoughts. Your worries, fears, guilt and other negative emotions are not you. With these thoughts, you create great obstacles on the way to the present. If your emotions start to dominate you, the first thing to do is not to dwell on your own thoughts. Don’t think too much about the future. Of course, planning can be useful but there are many things in this world that we cannot control. The future is unpredictable, no one knows what will happen in 5 or 10 years, so try not to waste your time. Stop worrying about this, concentrate on the present. Don’t think about the past. It’s useless. It cannot be changed.
Don’t be self-critical. When you criticize your behavior, you disturb the harmony between your mind and body, as a result, it becomes even more difficult for you to live in the present. Imagine that your friend told you something very funny and you laugh, but suddenly you start to worry. Do you look stupid or laugh too loudly? From that moment, your thoughts control you. If this happens, try to banish negative thoughts immediately. If you criticize yourself a lot, try to do what you do well. Do what you love and don’t worry about how you look or how well you do it. Plant flowers, paint the walls a new color or practice your musical instrument. Challenge yourself to a small but manageable challenge. When you are in control of your emotions, your mind and body interact as one, rather than opposing each other. Practice this state as often as possible in order to find inner harmony.
Be a good listener. Instead of thinking about your problems and worries while talking, try to focus on the person. Look closely at the person and be grateful for the conversation. View communication as an exchange of knowledge, where you have the opportunity to learn something or teach others. A sign that you are currently distracted is if you are thinking or waiting for a pause during a conversation to end it. As you talk, look the person in the eye, watch his/her expression, and think about your relationship with him/her. Even unpleasant conversations or conversations with strangers are of exceptional value. Each has its own story, dreams, desires. In order to feel harmony with the world while talking with people, you need to live in the present moment.
Accept people for who they are. Do you depend on someone else’s opinion or desire? Why waste time and worry about what others think of you. You still cannot control anyone but yourself. The best way to get rid of this is to learn to accept people as they are. Some people say yes when they mean no, and vice versa. Sometimes people say something, but in fact, they think differently. In any case, you should not try to read people’s minds, and if misunderstandings occur, then this is the problem of the person who needs to express himself more clearly. Accept compliments. Do not deny the compliments told to you, and do not respond with a compliment but simply thank the person. This does not mean that you need to be naive and trust everyone you meet. Body language, history, and personality traits should tell you if you can trust this person or not.
Embrace the pain. When a tragedy occurs in life, living in the present means experiencing that pain, not trying to ignore or run away from it. An important part of living in the present is allowing yourself to feel and experience negative emotions such as guilt, fear, sadness, or anger. Try not to let emotions from the past affect your present moment. If you’re worried about breaking up with a loved one, sadness may be part of this period in your life. But there is no need to think about the what-ifs and torment yourself with memories. Look at the person’s photo or write what you think. This will help connect your emotions to the present. Don’t berate yourself for experiencing negative emotions. The more you try to get rid of them, the further you will move away from the present since your emotions are part of it. Troubles happen, so you need to go through them, just like any event in your life.
2. Find a variety of ways to spend time
Multitasking reduces work efficiency. When you are doing several things at the same time, you cannot concentrate on any of them since your thoughts are constantly jumping from one task to another. Focus on one task and you will get a much better result. Try to finish whatever you start. Find enough time to do your job, and don’t move on to the next task until you’ve finished the first. Some projects cannot be done in one go. In such cases, you will need to divide the work into several parts that you can do in one sitting. For example, if you are writing a book, then set aside 3 hours during which you will be focused only on this task.
Do not hurry. Rushing, like multitasking, prevents you from being in the present and really doing your job if all you think about is getting it done as quickly as possible. Your mind and body must act like one until you do your job.
Look at the routine work differently. As you do your daily household chores, like washing the dishes, cleaning the apartment, you have a good opportunity to practice “true mindfulness.” Do your work slowly and systematically, focusing on your body movements and how you change the space around you, making it cleaner, more attractive, and more positive.
Do nothing. Take breaks between work and just do nothing. Do not look at your computer or read mail from your mobile phone. Just take the time to take a deep breath, sit down and be grateful for that moment, no matter what it suggests.
Pay attention to the world around you. Go beyond your inner world. Stop, look around and observe. When you go to work in the morning, look people in the eye. Look carefully at their faces. What can you read there? Follow the news. Pay attention to the events taking place in the world. React to the world around you. If you see an empty bottle on the sidewalk, pick it up and throw it in the trash. If you feel a sudden surge of salty wind from the sea, stop and close your eyes for a few seconds. If it’s a warm and sunny day outside, open your blinds and windows.
3. Improve your physical ability
Develop your senses. People who sense the world around them have a stronger connection with physical reality. Therefore, well-developed 5 senses will help you appreciate every moment in the present. To heighten your sense of smell, smell your favorite essential oils every day. Your receptors will become more sensitive and after a while, you will be able to distinguish more subtle odors. To improve your hearing, listen to music with distinct sounds, such as jazz. Learn to distinguish between musical instruments by ear. To improve your vision, try to notice details that you might not have noticed before, such as the color of people’s eyes. To heighten your sense of taste, add spices and herbs to your meals that you don’t normally use. Taste dishes from around the world. To improve your sense of touch, learn more about fabrics. Note the differences between cotton and polyester, satin and silk.
Learn to enjoy. When you are in a beautiful place or have a wonderful event, how many times have you thought that it would be over soon instead of enjoying the moment? Use your senses to learn to enjoy the moments that are happening now. Be grateful for moments of enjoyment. Imagine spending a whole day with your friends fishing and the sun starts to set. Be grateful to the water, the sun, your friends and everything related to this moment. If you are upset that you will have to return home soon, you reject the moment that is happening now. Learn to enjoy your food. Eat your favorite food slowly, and do not worry about the choice you have made, but just enjoy every bite.
Move. Running, swimming, cycling, yoga, walking, team sports, and other physical activities usually require full attention and concentration. You may feel good, or you may hurt yourself. In any case, movement and sports will enable you to enjoy the present moment. Dancing is a great way to have fun in the moment. To move rhythmically, you need to listen carefully to the music, not criticize yourself and not worry about what people think of you. Sex is another good way to enjoy the moment. Smell your loved one, focus on his / her feelings. Drop all worries and just have fun. Massage will help you better understand your body. After the massage, you will have a renewed sense of being connected to everything around you.
Get creative. It doesn’t matter what kind of art you prefer: painting, sculpture, photography or crocheting. It’s a great way to connect your thoughts to the present moment. Creativity requires increased attention, so worries and problems will fade into the background.
Take a deep breath. When setbacks occur and your thoughts jump from problem to problem, you cannot concentrate on the present. Take 5 deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Concentrate on your breathing, feel the air fill your lungs.