Now. Such a simple word, such a powerful moment where there is no stress, no expectation, only endless possibilities. And yet ‘now’ is gone before you even finish uttering the word. Now is the moment of power in our lives. It’s the point where we can make a change. It’s also a beautiful pool of tranquility where we can go anytime we want and we can stay as long as we wish. Living in the now is where we all should live. Not in the past, not in the future. Only the present moment.
So, how to live in the moment? How do we remain in and enjoy the ‘now’? How do we stop our errant minds from drifting into memories, good or bad, or dwelling on worries or plans for the future? All it takes is a little practice, a little commitment, and these five simple techniques.
How To Live In The Moment
1/ Do one thing at a time.
If you want to live in the present moment then start single-tasking. Multi-tasking should become a thing of the past, only used when absolutely necessary and for a short, pre-defined period of time. Cultivate the habit of doing and concentrating on just one task at a time. Whether you’re at work or, just as importantly, during your leisure time, just do one thing at a time.
Examples might include making a new habit of really tasting your food when you’re eating. Really noticing scenery or surroundings. Concentrating on the person you are speaking with, really engaging, second to second, in the present.
You will need to be vigilant as the habit of multi-tasking is entrenched in our culture. Small changes will help enormously such as putting your phone away when you’re watching television. Or closing multiple tabs on your browser, switching off the television when you are not watching it. Try to decide, moment to moment, which task should take your undivided attention and then give it your all.
2/ Slow down.
Probably the most important technique in learning how to live in the moment is to slow down. Become aware of the speed with which you do everything and aim to slow it down. It doesn’t have to be a big change, the important thing is to notice, to take a deep breath and bring yourself into the present moment. A slight slowing will help to relax you and make you more conscious of what you are doing. Tasks will be more satisfying and more precisely undertaken. And they really won’t take much longer to accomplish. Your sense of time will slow down so you will feel less rushed and you’ll have the impression that there’s more time in the day. You’ll discover that you have more than enough time to accomplish your goals.
3/ Talk to yourself.
Talk to yourself… in a specific way! Develop an internal monologue where you say ‘Now I am…’ and tell yourself which activity you are absorbed in. For example, when you are at the sink, say to yourself ‘Now I am washing up’ then ‘Now I am wiping the countertops’. You do not need to do this constantly, of course, but develop the habit intermittently throughout the day. This technique will help you to focus on one thing at a time and really pull you into the present moment.
4/ Simplify your mornings.
Start the day with the simplest routine and avoid information overload. Preferably on awakening, perform a mindfulness meditation. The benefits of meditation are numerous, but for learning how to live in the present moment, meditation is second to none. Other suggestions are starting a yoga routine or maybe just spending 10 minutes drinking a coffee while looking at the sky.
Keep your morning calm and simple and this will set the tone for the rest of your day. If you wake up and plow straight into multiple tabs on your phone, social media, television programs, newspaper articles, and numerous emails, you will overload your mind and find the day will follow in that vein. This simple technique really helped me to learn how to live in the moment.
5/ Designate and use a ‘stop’ word.
Find a personal word that you say to yourself when you notice you are overloaded or drifting too much into thoughts of the future or the past. Just say ‘stop’ to yourself, or ‘breathe’ or whatever word works for you. Use this word to be strict with yourself, setting a hard limit, and making yourself stop and get right into the present moment again.
The real secret to living in the moment is practice – you have probably spent your life up to this present moment allowing your mind to wander wherever it wants. It will take some time to change this habit and replace it with a new way of thinking. But even the smallest effort will quickly be repaid with a new sense of calm and fulfillment. Take small steps, make small changes and the rewards will be enormous.
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