I recently had a wake-up call that taught me about living in the here and now.
I’d been spending all my time thinking that if I could just lose 20 pounds I’d feel so much better about myself, or if I could just fast-forward the next few months, life would be so much easier.
One day as I was spiraling in my thoughts of “if only…” I had a big realization. I was wasting so much time wishing I was enjoying my life when I could be using that time to do something about it. And, actually enjoy life in the moment.
I was spending most of my time focusing on the negative things in my life and it was bringing me down and keeping me from being present for the people I loved.
If you’ve ever struggled with wishing life was different, you probably know what I mean. It just plain sucks!
But life is way too short to be living like that (I don’t even care how cliché that sounds).
If you’re like me and you’re ready to just live in the moment, be happy, and be more present in your life, the following tips are for you.
3 Ways to Start Living in the Here & Now
1. Start Today
Here it is: If you want to start living in the here and now, you have to stop procrastinating and just do it.
Put your excuses aside, stop waiting until you’re skinnier, and allow yourself to accept that it’s OK to start where you’re at.
HOLY. This is hard to do. BUT, you CAN do it!
Think of how many times you’ve told yourself the diet/exercise program/happier self starts tomorrow. And does it? If you’re like me, the answer is never. So, use that as the fuel to begin now.
Just pick one thing you’ll start today and do it.
It’s not a race and you don’t have to do everything all at once. Go for that walk, or read that book, or write in your journal.
It’s amazing how much more in control you’ll feel when you finally start to focus on consciously being and acting in the present.
2. Practice Mindfulness
A great way to keep you grounded in the here and now is to practice mindfulness.
There are many ways to do this but here’s a quick and easy trick I use. (It was actually given to me by a therapist a few years back and I find myself using it often.)
When I find myself in a tailspin thinking about everything that is out of my control, this is what I do:
- List three things I see
- List three things I hear
- List three things I feel (touch)
This can be done silently or out loud but, you have to make sure that your lists are purely observational.
Don’t pass judgments. For example, if you’re on the bus when you’re doing this exercise and one of the things you see is a girl with pretty long brown hair. Just note long brown hair.
You don’t need to focus on the fact that it’s beautiful and it must have taken an hour to do.
I know this seems kind of silly, but it really helps me. Sometimes I turn my lists into lists of 5+ (depending on how unfocused I am) but it always brings me back to my surroundings and back into the present.
Once I’m in the better headspace it’s much easier to focus on things that I can control right now!
3. Take Notes!
The power of writing things down is incredible. Actually putting your thoughts into writing gives your ideas greater clout and meaning.
So, write down the ways you’ve been living in the present. It doesn’t matter how you do it, whether it’s a daily debrief or one-liners during the day, but do it!
As you write down the moments you’ve embraced the present your focus will shift and you’ll find yourself worrying less about all the “if onlys” the future holds.
Start Living in the Here & Now
Learning to live in the here and now can be a big challenge, but with practice it can become a regular part of your life, and it’ll be worth every ounce of effort.
So start today, practice mindfulness, and take notes of your success. Soon you’ll find yourself living in the moment and experiencing more happiness on a daily basis.