Some of you who know me by now are familiar with my personal mission to live more in the present moment day after day. It has been a “thing” for me for the last five years. I am challenging myself every single day to be more present.
Because living the present moment is awesome! You are less distracted. You probably feel more at ease and are less stressed about what’s coming next or what has just happened. You begin to cherish the little things, like someone giving you a great hug.
Actually, being present is logically the right thing to do. “Really”, you ask? “Why would you say that?”
Well, you can’t change the past by thinking about it. The past is the past, from today’s perspective. It was the present once, but that is no longer the case today. Things have happened, you cannot undo them. You might be able to react today to something that happened yesterday or last week, for sure, but you won’t be able to undo something that has happened.
A lot of us try to anticipate the future by planning. I like planning. But the truth is that we cannot foresee what is going to happen. We cannot influence the future.
Okay, know you might say, but I can buy a plane ticket to Malta next month and that’s technically you planning an event in the future. Okay, I get it, but this is not what I mean.
You don’t know in advance whether there will be your future spouse or a cool music star sitting next to you on that plane, do you?
Giving your brain a break to think about what’s coming next has been a big point for me over the last years. Especially since I tend to be that type of person who worries too much and always wants to accomplish something. Moving from one goal to the next without really appreciating what I have just accomplished. Tell you what, that kind of behavior is really not helping me to live a life in the Now!
Over the last 5 years, since I challenge myself regularly to be more present, I have found various little tactics that are helping me to do just that, to be in the moment. Those actions help me to change my behavior and those old habits, which I just stuck to because I thought they were me. In the course of the last month, I have (re-)discovered three steps which are helping me even more to embrace the moment. And in my point of view, they are really so easy to do that there is really no reason that you can do them… IF you are ready for it and committed to do this!
3 steps you can implement straight away to be more present
1. Take off your watch for one single day
Have you also heard that people who don’t wear watches are somewhat happier than others? I believe this is why I have had more enjoyable weeknights and weekends these last years. I made a compromise several years ago, so, now I only wear a watch during the weekdays. In the evening, I take it off. And there is so much relief in not knowing what exact time it is every half an hour! It really helps me to enjoy the conversation or whatever I might be doing.
So, take off your watch just for one single day. Ideally the first day could be tomorrow, which is a Saturday. Might be better to practice that on a weekend then during a weekday, no? J Or if you don’t wear a watch, go to the next level and leave your smartphone in your pocket/bag and only react if you get a call.
2. Watch this 6-minute TED talk from Dan Gilbert
This talk from Dan Gilbert made me realize that IF I don’t appreciate this moment, right now, with the fingers flying over the keyboard, then it is gone. Forever. It won’t come back. I will not be able to reconstruct it fully either. Time is changing, things around us change, we change. So, we’ll better be living it! Enjoy!
3. Turn off your brain for 2 minutes and listen to your body
This exercise is helping me a lot lately. When I get anxious, I want to control things, improve things, ensure things, so my brain starts running wild. Does this resonate with anyone?
When this happens (not all the time, but most of the time), I’ll lean back in my chair, close my eyes and breathe consciously for at least 10 times. I’ll get calmer, I’ll hear things around me which I did not notice before, I’ll breathe slower and eventually loose some of that anxiety.
Give it a try, it doesn’t take much. And if you are scared to fall asleep, don’t be!
Be open and conscious about it
I am not going to lie to you. Doing these three steps will not magically rewire you brain to live every single minute of your day being fully present. No. This is not how it is working. There is no magic moment. Nor is there a magic bullet. Sorry.
For most people it is a process that takes some time. But knowing this will help you.
So, try to be open and conscious about living your moments. Living your day like a unique day, because that’s what it is!
You can repeat the steps above to help you as many times as you like. Or come up with your own method, which helps you to enjoy the Now!
Let us know in the comments below what you think about these three steps and what your preferred method is to enjoy the present, I am curious!