Mindfulness: Live in the Moment
Updated: 08/29/2022 – Do you take time to notice and appreciate the joyful little moments that happen in life in real-time? Or, does your mind wander on to other things? Practicing mindfulness will bring you back into the present and help you live in the moment.
Table of Contents
- Life in the Fast Lane
- Slowing Down
- Practice Mindfulness: Live in the Moment
- Some Ideas on how to Practice Mindfulness and Living in the Moment
- Mindfulness: Live in the Moment
Life in the Fast Lane
As far back as I can remember, my life has been one big race. As soon as I complete one task, I’m immediately moving on to the next.
- talk fast – there are times when I can’t get my words out fast enough;
- think fast – I’m often thinking ahead in a conversation;
- eat fast – this is a throwback to being raised in a large family; if you aren’t quick enough, there were no seconds;
- and walk fast – people ask me to slow down because they can’t keep up!
I’ve sped through life in so many ways and very rarely thought about living in the moment.
But since retiring and COVID, my life has become slower-paced.
And even though I have more time to practice mindfulness and live in the moment, it’s difficult. I have to make a conscious effort to keep my brain focused on absorbing everything happening in the here and now.
Where did the day go?
There are so many evenings when I look back on the day and think about how much time was wasted.
Can you relate? Do you let precious moments slip by?
Studies show that as much as 50% of each day is spent mind-wandering! Sounds like we really don’t live in the moment!
And too much mind-wandering can lead to boredom. This, in turn, can lead to depression and other health issues.
Conversely, there are studies that show this can impact in a positive way.
By letting your mind wander, you are free to create and envision new dreams and possibilities which lead to goals and eventually, higher achievements.
In any event, letting your mind roam will take your attention off the present; and with that comes missing out on a lot of little details that happen during the day.
So, what can you do to change that?
Practice Mindfulness: Live in the Moment
When we live in the present, we don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future.
It’s OK to think about reliving pleasant memories and dreaming about goals for the future in small, healthy doses.
But when you’re stuck in either place, that’s when you need to pry yourself away and focus on staying in the present.
Practicing mindfulness is actively participating in your life’s moments.
It can help:
- to pull yourself out of a negative mindset (one that causes anxiety, stress, and doubt),
- help with sleeplessness,
- Improve attention span,
- and put you into a more joyful, positive frame of mind.
Wow! 😵 That’s a huge promise!
How does mindfulness work?
Well, mindfulness is a form of meditation. It involves focus and clearing rogue thoughts from your mind.
But it doesn’t have to be done while sitting quietly for an hour of performing yoga poses. The best part about practicing mindfulness is that you can do it anytime you choose.
And that is key. It takes practice to use mindfulness.
Some Ideas on how to Practice Mindfulness and Living in the Moment
The more you practice mindfulness, the better you will be at reigning in your wandering mind to the present moment and living there.
Here are some ideas on how to practice mindfulness.
Write an Affirmation
An affirmation is a positive statement, usually written down and placed in a prominent place where you’re sure to see it. This serves as a reminder to repeat it often. By repeating it, you are embedding it into your brain which incorporates it into your life.
An affirmation is written in the present tense, is an “I” statement, and is always using positive language.
So your affirmation will look something like – “I enjoy living in the moment”, “I live in the moment”, or “I am fully aware of every precious moment of each and every day”. Tailor your affirmation to make it meaningful to help you to stay in the moment.
Don’t forget to hang those affirmations in places where you will see them. Repeat them every time you see it or think of it.
And when you repeat your affirmation, either out loud or quietly to yourself, your mind begins to accept it as the truth. It will help to create this new habit of being mindful.
Where are you going to hang your affirmations?
Do Self-checks to live in the moment
Periodically throughout the day, stop what you’re doing and ask yourself, “How am I feeling?”
Is any part of your body feeling tense? Start in your forehead and do a self-check throughout your body to your toes. Get up, stretch, and move.
Are you thirsty? Hungry? Take a break, get a snack. Re-energize!
Check your energy level. Feeling a bit droopy? Maybe now would be a good time for a 15-minute walk in the fresh air.
Get the point? Interrupt yourself throughout the day to check-in.
Let your body, both physical and mental aspects, help to bring you into the moment. Pay attention to how you’re feeling.
Pay Attention to What You’re Doing
Many things we do throughout the day are done out of habit – we do them without thinking.
Here is an exercise that you can try to practice mindfulness:
Before getting in your car to drive to the grocery store, make a conscious effort to concentrate on every minute detail.
Open the car door. Is it heavy? Does it make a noise?
Sit in the driver’s seat. Is it a hard or soft seat? Is it cold? Hot?
Put your purse on the passenger seat. Is the seat empty? Do you have to take things off of it to make room for your handbag?
Grab your seatbelt, pull it across your chest, and lock it in place. Did you hear the click? What kind of effort did it take to pull the belt?
Continue to make a conscious effort throughout the rest of your drive.
Now try doing this same thing when you are grocery shopping, doing the dishes, or making the bed.
This is good practice when training yourself to notice the little things in life.
Use All Five Senses
We have 5 basic senses: smell, sight, hearing, touch, and taste. We can use all of them to live in the moment.
When was the last time that you even noticed that you used one of your senses? Have you ever fixated on something and used all of them at once?
I’ve been practicing this when I’m out for a walk. I take note of the green color of grass and trees (sight), listen to the birds and cicadas (hearing), sometimes I can smell the approach of a rainstorm (smell), feel the air – humidity and/or wind (touch), and taste (plenty of wild raspberries growing in our area).
There’s an interesting exercise called the “raisin meditation”. Here the participants are invited to use all five senses while concentrating on a raisin. You can find the details here. This type of mindfulness comes in handy when trying to change eating habits!
Focus on Your Breathing
This is probably the easiest way to practice mindfulness. When you find that your mind is drifting frequently, you are stressed, or having negative thoughts, stop what you’re doing and hone in on your breathing.
Get in a comfortable position. It may be helpful to put your hand on your heart and close your eyes. Now take a deep breath in, then slowly release it.
Do this exercise for at least a minute. It will help to release the negativity and get you centered.
This exercise brings you right back into the moment.
Mindfulness: Live in the Moment
While practicing mindfulness, you are actually training your brain to live in the moment.
The mind is a muscle that responds in the same manner as lifting weights or performing crunches. The more frequent and consistent exercise you do, the better you feel and function.
So, don’t forget! Try one or all of these easy tricks and let me know how they work for you.
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