I think we can all agree that we live in a world filled with distractions – and even though we think we may be living in the moment, we’re usually stuck behind our phones trying to capture that special moment instead.
Being present is one of the only ways to enjoy life to the fullest, but it only works when you’re actually aware of the current moments. Not only will you become more mindful of your time, it can make you more productive and make everything around you more enjoyable. Food will taste better, you can enjoy your friends and family more, sleep will come easier and you’ll have more free time. Things that you may have thought were boring and dull in the past, like work, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, will start to feel more pleasurable.
Here are some steps you can take to start living more in the moment and enjoying life.
Focus On The Present
I’m usually not one to stick to new years resolutions, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to better myself in 2018. My first step in achieving this goal is to stop worrying about the future and focus on the present. I’m guilty of getting trapped in the past or spending too much time thinking about what’s to come, and because of this, I often forget to acknowledge the experiences I’m currently having.
This year, I’m taking a few minutes from each day to actively savour something that I normally hurried through. This may be enjoying my morning coffee on the patio, spending an extra few minutes in the bath reflecting on the day or something as simple as spending an extra few minutes with Derek at dinner. By experiencing the simple pleasures, happiness and other positive emotions in life, I’ll be more aware of the things that bring me joy.
In our ever moving world, multi-tasking has quickly become the norm. We feel like if we’re not doing ten things at a time, we’re not being productive. This year, try to focus on the task at hand. If you’re enjoying a slice of pizza, just enjoying eating. If you’re watching your favourite T.V. show, try not talking to your partner or being on your phone. If you’re taking a hot, relaxing bath, focus on your breathing and nothing else.
Also, try setting goals that are challenging, but not unattainable. Focus on tasks that you can achieve and match your ability level without being so difficult that it leaves you feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Just make sure these are not so easy that you won’t grow from the challenges or leaves you feeling bored. This will bring you back into the vicious cycle of doing too many things at the same time.
When you’re talking with someone, actually pay attention to what they are saying. We’ve all been there, half way through a conversation our minds start to wonder, and we start thinking about work, deadlines, chores and to-do-lists. We also tend to start thinking about what we’re going to say next, instead of really listening to the person. Try focusing on being present and really listening to what that person has to say to truly enjoy your time spent with that person by avoiding these unwanted distractions.
There’s probably not a day that goes by that we don’t worry about something. We tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the past and how we wish we would have done something differently. We also spend a ton of time stressing about what’s going to happen in the future. Spending too much time thinking about what was and what could have been means you’re skipping out on things you could be enjoying in the moment. You can’t fully appreciate today if you keep worrying about what may happen tomorrow. We can’t change the future, but we can focus on the present. Take a moment to look at what’s right in front of you.
Practice deep breathing and acknowledge you’re alive. Whenever you’re feeling stressed or anxious, try meditating and taking a few deep breaths in to help calm your nerves. Don’t spend too much time overanalyzing every situation or every mistake you’ve made in the past. Instead, pause for a moment and focus on the sounds of your breath to bring you back down to reality and into the moment. Deep breathing can instantly lower your stress levels and leave you feel peaceful and relaxed.
Although I don’t think I’ll ever become a minimalist, removing items associated with memories, things I no longer enjoy, or items that take up too much of my free time, can help me achieve my goals of not living in the past and begin living in the present. By simplifying your life and getting rid of clutter, you’ll be left with things that give you the most value and more free time to spend with loved ones. Spend some time recognizing the items that serve or add value to your life and let go of anything that doesn’t do this.