Getting caught up in the past or the future brings worry and anxiety and can really mess up our day or make us to have a low output, in terms of work, at the end of the day.
We are supposed to remain in the present moment and make the most of it even as we try to solve our past mistakes as well as plan for the future, if we wish to live a happy life.
There are many ways we can train ourselves to be aware of the present moment and dwell there. Here are 15 top tips on how to live in the present moment.
Tip #1. Take a mindful body scan – A body scan helps you be aware of yourself much faster. By taking time to go through the parts of your body, one by one and being aware of the sensations, feelings and thoughts you have, you become more mindful and you can even notice some hidden health issues like an injury. Doing a body scan only requires you to sit in a comfortable place and then mentally scan your body. Slowly by slowly, from your feet all the way up to your head.
Tip #2. Don’t worry – There are many things that we go through in life that makes us worry at times. And while it is hard to avoid worrying, you should try to reduce the moments of worry in your life as it takes you away from the present moment and makes you more focused on what will happen in the future. Instead of letting worry overwhelm you, try to focus on the thing that is worrying you, get to understand it and work on it so that you solve it once and for all and get rid of the worry completely.
Tip #3. Have a mindful review of your day – Reviewing your day gives you the space to see how your day was and understand your mind and life better. After the day’s work, maybe before you go to bed or when you get home from work, take your time and take a full review of your day. Start from when you woke up or from where your levels of mindfulness were high and go through everything you did during the day while taking note of the times when you were mindful. Doing this not only helps you improve your level of mindfulness as you do the exercise but also makes you more aware the following day as you go about your day.
Tip #4. Visualize your plan for the day – When you create your plan for the day, you should also put in some effort to visualize the activities in the plan and see yourself achieving them in your mind. Go through each activity at a time and see yourself doing it. Visualize yourself undertaking that task and checking it off your plan. Go ahead and do the same for all the tasks in the plan. This technique improves your mental preparedness of taking on the tasks, increases your energy levels and also makes it possible for you to get the tasks done.
Tip #5. Smile – Smiling often helps you improve your moods, which makes it easy to be in the present moment. If you smile, you improve the way you feel, which makes you appreciate “the now” moment. Even if you are feeling like you are in low moods, faking a smile can really go a long way for you in making you feel better. So the next time you find it difficult to be in the present moment, make yourself smile even when you don’t have any reason to, and you will notice that you will start feeling better.
Tip #6. Don’t get stuck in past achievements – When you achieve something in a certain day and that day passes, you should let the achievements pass and fade away together with that day. You should only take motivation out of the achievement and know that, going forward, it is possible to achieve anything you put your mind to. If you dwell in the past achievements, you will never get the chance to do more than what you achieved. But if you let it go, you will be focused in the present moment and work on achieving more.
Tip #7. Eat mindfully – We are used to eating mindlessly which keeps us from enjoying the real benefits of mindful eating. When you pay attention to your eating and become fully immersed into the activity of eating, you get to enjoy the food more and find yourself wanting to eat healthy food not to mention desiring to love a healthy lifestyle. Keep your phone away when you are eating and reduce distractions such as television or music and concentrate on the food you are eating. Be aware of the smell, texture, color and flavor and also chew mindfully.
Tip #8. Walk mindfully – Mindful walking is yet another way to keep in touch with the present. We walk a lot through the day and if we can be mindful during these times, we can boost our level of mindfulness. When you are walking mindfully, you focus on the way you walk, the movement of your feet, arms and body as a whole. You also focus on the sensations and feeling you have. Mindful walking has some similarities to walking meditation, which also comes in handy for the meditator. You can also purpose to take short walks in the woods or forest and be mindful of the whole activity.
Tip #9. Breathe mindfully – Just like mindful eating and walking, breathing mindfully is all about being aware on the activity. In this case, breathing. You notice how air gets in your body through the nose and into your lungs and then out of your body. You also become aware of how your body moves as you breathe in and out. Mindful breathing is a basic step for many types of meditation including vipassana meditation and loving kindness meditation.
Tip #10. Be grateful – Take time to appreciate the things that are happening at the moment. When you go out and find good weather, appreciate it. The sun, the cool wind blowing and even the rain. Be grateful for the people you see outside, the trees and everything in the environment. Also, be grateful for your job when you are working. Be aware and thankful for the sights, smells and the good things happening at the moment. Moreover, appreciate the bad things which come to you as they have useful meanings and reasons too.
Tip #11. Change your daily routine – Following your normal daily routine is somewhat effortless and you often don’t need to think about it. But if you take a different route to work, use a different order when wearing your clothes, eat something different in the morning or even prepare yourself differently from the way you usually go about it, you will have to pay attention and be present. You will need effort and attention which will have you in the present moment.
Tip #12. Work with labeling or note taking – Taking note is a technique that allows you to be aware of any new sensations, thoughts or feelings without forming any opinions on them. As you meditate, relax or do an activity mindfully, and then a sensation, thought or feeling comes up, you take note of it and put a label on it in your mind. You say, “Oh, that’s a thought” or feeling or sensation. And then get back to the activity you are on.
Tip #13. Resting awareness – This involves being aware of yourself when you are in a relaxing, restful state. You only need to get a place for yourself that is comfy and take a rest there, but be careful not to sleep. As you rest, observe how you feel and the thoughts that come up at that period. Here, you don’t think or focus on anything, you just rest and make observations about your inner self. Without making effort into changing anything, just simply be aware.
Tip #14. Meditate – Meditation is a great way to train yourself in mindfulness. There are many forms of meditation that can help you raise your level of mindfulness but mindfulness meditation is perhaps the best place to start. It will help you learn and master how to focus on your breathe and be aware of everything that is within and around you in the present moment.
Tip #15. Keep constant check on yourself – It is good practice to have check-in moments for yourself as you go about your day. This could be during your breaks. You take time to get in touch with yourself, your feelings at that moment and how your day has been so far. You then visualize how you see the rest of the day going. It helps you relax, refresh your mind and feel more energized for the upcoming tasks. It also boosts your level of mindfulness as you go back to what you were doing.
We encourage you to pick 2 or 3 of the listed tips and work with them based on how you know yourself and your daily routine.
Also, remember to start small and grow gradually. Becoming mindful requires commitment, patience and consistency. It is like training a muscle in your body. The more you do it, the better it becomes.
Blend mindfulness into your daily life and make it stick.