“Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.” – Wayne Dyer
This quote reflects the power of living in the now. Right now, this very moment is the one we are given. The past is over. The future isn’t guaranteed. But today, this very moment is. Learning to live in the present moment gives you the power to live your best life, to the fullest, every moment of the day.
(This article is not intended as medical advice or expertise on the topic if needed please contact your personal doctor if you need further assistance. This article is only general suggestions to encourage thought.)
What does “living in the moment” mean?
To live in the moment or live in the now, means you are being conscious, and aware of your present using all your senses. It means you aren’t living in the past nor are you worried about what the future will be.
When you concentrate on being present, you focus your attention on the task at hand. You give it your full attention and let go of the outcome. Seizing the moment allows you to make each moment more meaningful and valuable, savoring every minute for quality over quantity of time.
You still need to plan, set goals, and prepare for the future. But you can do all these things and still enjoy living in the moment. For instance, you may set a goal to exercise every day. You can do this while enjoying it while you are doing the exercise or at the very least be in the moment as you do it.
Too often we put enormous expectations on ourselves. We’re always rushing to do this or finish that or hurry up doing something else. We never actually enjoy the process. We’re rushing and we don’t even know why most of the time.
We don’t stop and think about where we are, so we miss the point of being there. Instead with the power of living in the now we learn to appreciate each moment and gather the lessons from each moment. We are living consciously, purposefully, and responsibly.
On the other hand, when we live in the past, hanging onto painful experiences, difficult times, or wrongs we perceived done to us, we are condemning ourselves to live the same now and in the future. Coming to terms with the past, knowing you cannot change it, helps you move on.
Living in the now means letting go of the past. It means you trust in the future. You’re positive and optimistic in the present leaving you open to the possibility of a promising future.
The power of living in the now allows you to begin to notice the beauty and wonder of the moment and the things around you. You learn how to focus and manage your energy. This is just one of the benefits of living in the now.
In this guide, you’ll discover there is a multitude of other benefits you will receive from practicing the mindfulness of living in the now. And you’ll discover how to put it into practice. It’s not as easy as just saying you’re going to live in the moment from now on. But it isn’t as difficult as you may believe either.
This guide will help you discover what not to do and how to make simple techniques you can begin using to live a more mindful life. We’ll discuss what it means to be mindful and give you some tips for doing it.
Benefits of Mindful Living
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha
Living in the moment is beneficial in many ways. From your physical health to your mental status, being mindful enhances your life. Here are several ways of living in the moment benefits you:
By reducing stress and anxiety you are able to avoid the health consequences associated with them. This includes high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.
Being mindful improves your psychological well-being because you are more in tune with what is happening around and within you.
Most of us have been with someone who is with you physically, but their mind is a million miles away. This makes the relationship extremely difficult. But when you are with someone who is fully present is enjoyable and creates a deeper connection. By living in the now, you can be the person others enjoy being with and make your relationships easier.
When you are living in the moment, you are in better control over your mind, your body, and your emotions. You no longer have a racing mind and unpredictable emotions controlling your life.
Living a mindful life allows you to stay focused on what’s happening in the present. You are not worrying about what happened in the past or stressing about what might happen in the future. You’re able to focus fully on the now.
Being mindful helps you prevent binge eating. Instead, you make healthier food choices because you are paying attention to what you choose to eat and how much you eat. Food tastes better because you’re paying attention to all the sensations of each bite. You savor each bite by putting your fork down between bites.
Living in the now helps you make better decisions. You are more aware of your circumstances and opportunities.
Living in the now helps you see what needs to be done now instead of being overwhelmed by the scope of a large project.
You’re More Relaxed
You are more in tune with the world around you instead of being lost in your own thoughts all the time. You are able to identify what bothers you and not stress over it.
Living in the moment has an abundant number of benefits that can help you improve your life. It helps you stay healthier, have less stress and be more aware of each moment of the day.
Why Living in the Moment is Difficult
Even though there are many benefits of living in the moment, it can often be difficult to do. All our lives we’ve been encouraged to think about the future and remember the past. Advertising, notifications, messages, reminders, alerts are all geared to what’s coming up or what happened previously. We tend to get caught up in what’s going on around us that we don’t pay attention to what’s happening at the moment.
Why is this a problem? The problem comes from the stress, strain, wear and tear of living on a day-to-day basis causing us emotional and physical problems.
Here are other factors that contribute to living in the now:
When you’re in the flow, fully engrossed in what you’re doing and end up getting pulled away from it by a notification or message on your phone. This pulls you away from the present and being aware. This is one reason living in the moment is difficult.
The basic nature of our mind is to dwell on our past and worry about our future. We face a lot of uncertainty that causes anxiety when we live in the moment. When you are fully into the moment you aren’t thinking about what will happen in the next, which can cause some stress about what is going to happen.
We have a hard time keeping focused on the moment. Our minds naturally wander. We have an innate ability to always be thinking, wandering, asking, pondering, and just having random thoughts.
We don’t worry about the present moment because it’s already decided. That means our mind naturally goes to the past or to predicting the future. We use our past as the basis for what the future will be. This tendency can get out of control and we begin to see dangers that are not actually there.
There is comfort in the possibility of what’s to come, something that lies beyond today – hope. We have hope that tomorrow will be better than this moment, this now. So, we are constantly thinking about what is next.
These thoughts, assumptions, and fears keep us from living in the present moment. It can be hard fighting these issues, but we are can change the tendencies of our brains. Practicing mindfulness helps us get stronger at it and makes it possible to overcome the harmful or destructive choices and make better ones.
How to Start Living in The Moment
Now that you know why it’s difficult to live in the moment but that it’s beneficial to you, how do you start doing it? Here are 21 tips to put mindfulness into practice.
- Slow down. Before beginning any activity, no matter what it is, take a deep breath, and focus on the process.
- Start making an effort to live in the moment. Make the commitment to begin changing your habits of rushing, not paying attention, and functioning by going through the motions. Notice where you are not being mindful.
- Practice being mindful. Practice by doing tasks you normally do impatiently or unconsciously mindfully instead.
- Notice when you aren’t in the present moment. When you are in a present moment that is stressful, notice how your thoughts and emotions are affecting your body. Turn those thoughts into more positive ones that keep you in the now.
- Engage in what you are doing. Feel into it and enjoy the process.
- Learn relaxation techniques to help you be calm. These include meditating, deep breathing, and visualization.
- Train your mind to focus on the current activity.
- Listen attentively to your conversations, music, and the silence around you.
- Take notice of your surroundings. What do you see, hear, smell, and feel?
- Savor your food and drink. Slowly chew, enjoy the taste, and set your utensil down between bites.
- Think about the past, but only in small doses. Be sure to focus on the past for a specific reason such as to relive a happy experience, figure out where you went wrong or to identify a key to a past success.
- As with the past, think about the future small amounts at a time. Focus on the future in a healthy way. Leave the worrying out of it. Just visit the future long enough to prepare for it then return to the moment.
- Get rid of unneeded possessions. Minimalism helps you live in the present. You aren’t living in the past from items associated with past memories allowing you to live in the moment.
- Start each day with a smile. Each day is full of possibilities. You can control your attitude every morning. Keep it optimistic and intentional.
- Be fully appreciative of the moments of today. Soak in everything about today- the sounds, sights, the smells, the emotions you feel, the wins, and the sorrows. This is living but we often forget to take them in and appreciate them.
- Let go of past hurts and resentments. Choose to forgive and move on. Don’t let the harm impact your present mood.
- Love what you do. If you just survive your work and are constantly waiting for the weekend to get here, you’re wasting a good portion of your life. Either find a new job you enjoy or find things about your current career you can appreciate.
- Stop worrying about tomorrow or what might happen. Realize that tomorrow will happen no matter what. Redirect your mental energy into enjoying this moment.
- Listen to your body. Your body will tell you if you are stressing, worrying, or not taking care of it.
- Change your beliefs and thoughts. Think positively and calmly.
- Let go of outcomes. When you live in the moment you don’t stress or worry over how something will turn out. Take action, focus on the task, and let the outcome happen.
Learning to live in the now is an essential part of living a happy life. Start with one thing you can implement daily and work up to being present in every way.
Train Yourself to Be Mindful
Living in the now helps you be more appreciative of what you have and look forward to the future. There are ways you can train yourself to be more mindful no matter whether you’re at home with your family, out for a walk or during work. Start becoming more mindful today by implementing these 7 ways to train yourself to be more mindful.
- Create what you desire. What do you genuinely want to experience in life? What journey do you want to be following? Being mindful starts with having a vision of what you want your life to be.
There are so many distractions in life that can easily take you off track of your dreams, goals, or ambitions. To accomplish what you want, you have to stay focused during the good and the bad days. On the days you feel like giving up, be mindful of your desires, and continue on.
- Be in alignment with your beliefs and values. Knowing what matters most to you, deepest beliefs and values keep you on your path. Live every day in alignment with them. When you do this, you are making the decision mentally to be mindful of your life and consciously aware of your life.
When you are mindful in life you are aware of why you do something. You know and understand the reasons why you get up in the morning and go work. You have a purpose for living.
- Disconnect from society and connect into your mind. We live in a world that’s constantly on. Facebook, the internet, messaging, Instagram, emails, television, fast food, billboards, advertising. All these things are noise that is constantly inundating our minds and our lives.
Train yourself to be more mindful by disconnecting from society every once in a while. Instead, connect to your own mind. Discover your emotions, thoughts, and feelings going on in your mind. Reflect upon what changes you need to make in your life if you are off course.
- What is your legacy? What do you want to be remembered by? You can easily get stuck in a routine and forget why you do what you do. Take the time to think about the end and why you do the things you do. Doing so keeps you mindful of your goals and values.
- Have mindful actions. Express yourself through your actions by becoming more aware of the moment. You can be more mindful in a negative way or a positive one. To be positive in your mindful actions, be in the moment, aware of your body, your actions, and your thoughts.
For example, when you walk, about the way you walk. How is your posture? What do you see, smell, hear? Apply this way of being in the now in everything you do.
- What inspires you? What is your purpose in life? Do you have a reason that inspires you to get up and start your day in a positive way? Or are you living by routine? These routines are draining and take you away from living in the moment.
Get clear on your purpose in life so you can start living each day mindfully. You’ll know that everything you do is connected to fulfilling your chosen purpose.
- Know who you really are inside. Be real in everything you do. It’s impossible to live a more mindful life when you are materialistic and fake.
Always remain true to who you are. Stay connected to your inner being. Don’t conform to society’s expectations of who you are. When you know who you are, what you value, and what you stand for, it’s easier to live in the now.
Strengthen Your in the Moment Awareness
Besides training yourself to be more mindful there are other exercises you can do to boost your mindfulness and strengthen your “In the now” awareness. These exercises are good ones to try.
- Do a mindful body scan where you get in touch with your body. Do it in the morning to help you start your day on a good way. Begin by sitting or lying down on your bed. Take a few deep breaths. Take note of how your breath enters and leaves your lungs.
Now focus your attention on one part of your body, beginning with your toes. Pay attention to how it feels and any sensations you are feeling. Continue up the body to the next part of your body. This exercise helps put you in a mindful state and helps you notice when your body is feeling differently.
- Visualize your daily goals and write in your journal. Each morning make an entry into your journal. Then before you start your day, visualize your goals. See yourself taking action on each day and completing your goals.
- Take a mindful walk in nature. Be intentional with your awareness on your walk. Notice your surroundings, feel your feet hitting the ground with each step you take and listen to all the sounds around you. Feel your breath with each inhale and exhale.
- Do a mindful review of your day. By the end of the day, you’re tired and worn out. It can be easy to let things fall down. When this happens, try doing a review of your day before going to bed. Think back to the beginning of the day and remember how your mindfulness exercises started the day. How did that make you feel?
Then go through the rest of your day, making note of any particularly mindful or memorable events. What was your mood like throughout the day? Write these thoughts down in your journal or a diary.
Using these exercises on a daily basis helps you strengthen your awareness of being in the now. Use them together to get into a habit of being mindful throughout your day.
Simplify your Life
We live in a materialistic world, always wanting more and more stuff. But did you know having all this stuff clutters your mind along with your space? It keeps you from enjoying what you have, wastes time, and weighs on your mind the amounts of money you’ve spent on everything. Simplifying your life is a trick to help you make mindfulness easier in your life.
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris
Eliminating nonessential possessions. But simplifying also means taking control of finances, your time, and your commitments and routines.
Here are 5 great ways to help you do just that.
- Learn to say “no” more often. Sometimes we want to accommodate others at the expense of ourselves. But this doesn’t actually help you or anyone else in the long term. It drains you, fills up your time, and makes you less joyful. Be discriminate in your commitments.
- Clear the clutter. You’ll feel lighter when you get rid of things you don’t need. Grab some boxes and go through your home, from bottom to top, closet to closet, drawer to drawer, garage and storage areas sorting out everything you have. Trash what’s broken, useless, stained, and donate what’s still good. If you don’t use something or look at it more than once or twice a year, it’s probably time to give it to someone who will enjoy it.
- Simplify what’s left. Now that you’ve done away with the unnecessary stuff, it’s time to re-organize what’s left into a workable system. Use closet and drawer organizers with labels. Color-code your clothing so it’s easy to see what you have and grab what you want. File papers you have to keep and scan the rest into a software program on your computer.
- Do you really need all the space you have? Is it just a trap causing you to fill it with useless things? Consider getting a smaller place. Downsizing saves you money, energy, and resources and is often easier to maintain.
- Stop multi-tasking. This scatters your energy. You can’t focus on what you’re doing, and it takes longer to do three things at times. Divided attention keeps you from living in the now.
Living in the now means finding joy in everything. Simplifying your life in every way allows you to focus on the moment by decluttering what’s taking up your time and focus.
Do This Next
“Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.” – Oscar Wilde
The power of living in the now has many benefits. Learning how to implement these techniques in your daily life brings those benefits upfront. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, try to be in the moment.
Let go of the past. Much of the mental noise that keeps us from living in the moment concerns what we did, said, happened or should have done in the past or what we want, plan, worry about, or fear in the future. Make it a point to focus solely on the now as much as possible.
When you feel yourself getting stuck in the same old routine or are in fear of the past or what might be, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you enjoy your work? Do you focus on getting it finished too much to enjoy it?
- Are you stressed trying to do your best?
- Are you distracted by work and don’t spend weekends with your family?
- Are you stressing over regrets of the past that you miss opportunities in the present?
- Do others’ opinions stop you from being genuine?
- Do you feel stressed and anxious all the time?
When you are absorbed in the now your mind becomes peaceful and life becomes enjoyable.