Like most people, I think I spend the majority of my free moments thinking about the future or the past, rather than living in the moment. I have always been forward-thinking and while this has led me to work hard to achieve my dreams, it has also prevented me from embracing the present. Other people have a hard time living in the moment because they tend to dwell on the past, wishing that things were different. It can be challenging to let go of thoughts of the past or future and simply focus on the now.
Here are a few ways that I have learned to live more in the moment:
- Participate in an activity each day that requires you to be extremely focused on your body. As a weight lifter, it is beneficial to watch yourself in the mirror as you lift to ensure that you are maintaining good form. When I lift weights, music is my background noise, but my thoughts are focused on the exercise I’m performing. My recent experiences with yoga have also helped me focus on my body and how it feels. Meditation is another great activity that encourages people to slow down and focus on their breathing.
- Leave your phone behind. This piece of advice comes from a great book I read recently called Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. I know I often feel like I can’t go places without my phone, because I worry that someone might need to contact me urgently, but the reality is that it’s okay for me to go places without my phone. My husband and I go for walks several times each week, and each time I leave my phone at home. This task can be tough for many but one that anyone can begin to appreciate almost immediately.
- Whenever possible, when it’s time to eat, only focus on eating. It’s easy to justify being busy as to why we eat while working or watching TV, but multitasking while eating prevents the enjoyment you can feel from eating. It also often causes people to overeat.
- On a weekly basis, slow down and reflect on the good things that have happened to you throughout the week. For years, I kept a daily gratitude journal. This year my husband and I are keeping a weekly gratitude journal for couples.
These are just a few ways that I have learned to slow down and be more present. In our busy world, take time this week to focus on being more mindful.
“The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion.” – Thich Nhat Hanh