These days “Live in the Present!” is the most common advice. Everybody gives it but few really follow it. Thus, it risks becoming overrated without being fully understood or fully valued. Besides being fashionable advice, living in the present is ancient wisdom.
It is at the center of all religious beliefs, philosophies, self-development techniques, and wellbeing. Living a considerable amount of time in the present moment is perhaps the pathway to happiness.
What it Means to Live in the Present
You might say: but where else could I possibly live?
Actually, psychological researches have constantly shown that rarely do people ever dwell in the present moment.
Whereas over 70% of the time, the thought is either linked to past experiences or to future plans.
And we have thousands of thoughts each day.
Even if this situation is the absolute norm for an average person on an ordinary day, it is absolutely wrong towards our state of mind and the life we live.
Our connection with the present comes only in case of an unexpected event, either pleasant or unpleasant. Which doesn’t happen very often.
Living in the present means a permanent awareness about who you are, what you feel, where you are, and what you are doing.
You are the person living as usual, at the same time you are an objective observer of everything that you do.
In this second state, you do not judge nor label what you do or what happens, just notice and decide. This is the way you can make a conscious decision for your life, this is the way you can have access to creativity and bigger ideas, thus manifesting a greater version of yourself.
How to Live in the Present: 10 Steps
Though it might sound easy, which, from a certain point of view, it is, living in the present is not that easily achieved.
Actually, it is just like any other habit.
First, you need to learn it and make it your second nature. In most situations, our tendency since childhood is to do anything else, but live in the present.
Moreover, we have thousands of means to escape from reality, the present, and the current state of facts. Because let’s face it, a lot of it feels quite unpleasant.
Different spiritual schools, religions, and martial arts schools have developed entire and complex systems to get us into the habit of living in the present moment. Some masters perfected this habit for a lifetime, and still, they can never seem to reach perfection.
So, first of all, you need to accept that living in the present is not something you apply right away. It is a practice for the entire lifetime, in order to live better.
Here are 10 easy steps to help you to live in the present. These are helpful only if you practice them consistently.
Even if the results come immediately, do continue your practice, and try to embrace them into your lifestyle.
1. Just Breathe.
Breathing is the most basic and natural technique for being present here and now.
We talk about conscious breathing. There are numerous ways of consciously breathing, but the common fact is that you need to focus only on breathing.
Focus only on the way air enters through your nostrils and lungs, stays there, and then goes out. The only thing you pay attention to is the process of breathing.
As such, your thoughts cannot go back and forth between past and future.
2. Feel what you feel.
This step means that you focus on your senses. At each moment you need to ask yourself what your five senses perceive. Everything without judging and labeling.
What do you see before your eyes?
What do you smell?
What do you feel on your skin?
And so on. And then the next moment, again.
3. Question yourself.
Ask yourself at regular intervals of time (you can even set an alarm) about who you are, what thoughts you have at that moment, and where they come from.
You don’t even need to have an answer.
Get accustomed to having your mind occupied with a certain prayer (usually short) or with a power phrase.
Get into the habit of being thankful for everything there is before you. This, no matter how simple might seem, is a powerful way to remain in the present moment.
You should keep your mind filled with gratitude and with pleasant little things (like the fact that you wake up in the morning and that you have toothpaste and running water, for example).
Some methods say that you should make a list of 5 or 10 things that you are thankful for each day.
An even more powerful method is to say thank you in your mind to everything, all day long, or as much as possible. Doing so, the opportunities to be grateful will increase.
However, you could even express gratitude for unpleasant things, because this will help you find what you could benefit from them, despite the unease you may feel.
6. Listen more, talk less
Become a person that pays attention to those around, and get involved in each conversation from the listeners’ standpoint.
Thus, you can really understand a situation and you will communicate openly and efficiently.
7. Notice your bad attitude.
Notice every time when you react from negative emotion, or from a rash impulse. Analyze what triggers you to be angry, defensive, aggressive, or even worse.
Is this a conscious response to a situation? Or it is just “my way”, which doesn’t bring good results. Thus, you will be able to change these rituals and ways of reacting to more healthy ones.
8. Appreciate people.
Make a habit of finding something valuable and pleasant about a person, during each interaction. Pay that person a compliment.
Not only you will be living in the present, but you will also bring the other one to the present moment as well.
9. Program your mind, in advance to do certain things, or to have a new focus.
Talk to yourself like the most loved person in the world.
Decide that you will pay attention to the present moment, encourage yourself, and reward yourself with nice words each time you succeed.
10. Review your day.
Before going to sleep make a short review of the day that just ends, with the same friendly neutrality. Give yourself forgiveness, if this is the case, praises, and encouragement for the day to come.
The Benefits of Living in the Present Moment
The present is the space for all wonders. This is the space where creativity is born, as well as where you can find the best changes and new ideas.
The present is filled with opportunities that you will never find otherwise, from money to health, peace of mind, travel, and a happy love life. Do not expect to live 100% in the present.
However, every moment spent by living consciously here and now is a win. Negative thoughts go away in the present moment, so does loneliness. Your relationship with yourself improves and your entire life becomes active, interesting, and easier.
How will you live in the present moment? Share your comments below: