live in the moment

Living in the now: How to savour the present and enjoy life

Living in the present is not about escaping from your past or future. It is about making peace with what has happened and being optimistic about what will happen, while you savour what is happening.
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Living in the present is not an unfamiliar piece of advice. Every now and then, we read or hear about embracing the present. From philosophers and mentors to authors and motivational speakers, many emphasise the importance of now. In his book, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, author Echart Tolle writes, “Realise deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the now the primary focus of your life.”

Despite the importance and attention, it has received, living in the present is still a mystery to many. Why? Because we don’t treat life as a ‘park bench’ where we can sit in peace and quiet and just enjoy the view. Instead, we see life as a ‘racing track’, where we either chase our responsibilities and dreams or run away from our past demons. Like a hamster in a wheel, we bolt, often aimlessly, that we forget about the present completely.

Living in the present is not about escaping from your past or future. It is about making peace with what has happened and being optimistic about what will happen, while you savour what is happening. Let’s take a closer look at how to live in the present and enjoy life and its gifts.

Enjoy the today

Even if yesterday was unpleasant and tomorrow remains a riddle, don’t forget to enjoy today. If your thoughts began to wander in either direction, make a conscious effort to think only about the now. It can be difficult to do at first, but with persistence, it can become a habit. Ask yourself if worrying about tomorrow will help you in anyway. The best you can do is prepare for what’s to come next. Beyond this, things are out of your control. So why sweat over something that hasn’t happened yet when you can do something today that brings you joy?

Pay attention to the small things

When life runs on autopilot, we forget to pause and pay attention to the little things that are key to happiness and inner peace. We remain tied to our smartphones, stressed over our past mistakes or worry about next week’s meeting—all of which keep our thoughts in handcuffs and leg irons. Free yourself from the shackles of the past and the future and enjoy the present by being more aware and mindful. Taste your food, listen to the birds chirping, say thank you to a stranger who held the door for you, and feel the cold breeze falling on your face. Such moments come every day. It’s up to us whether we live them or lose them.

Practice gratitude

Being grateful for what you have can make you appreciate the present, instead of worrying about tomorrow. It keeps you humble and sane in this fast-moving world. So every time stress threatens to overpower you, count your blessings. Ask yourself what you are thankful for in life? It can be anything from having a job and a house to be with your fur-baby and your family. When you practice gratitude, the fear of the past and the future loses its power over you, as you remain content and happy in the present.

Love what you do

Loving what you do is the easiest way to live in the present. When you have a job you love, you welcome and embrace everything that comes with it—responsibility, ownership, and accountability. You don’t dwell in the past or the future. You enjoy the now because it’s exciting, even the daily challenges seem invigorating. Every morning you wake up, you feel thankful for the job you love because it’s a rare gift—only those who ask and work for it get this reward. So find something you love to enjoy the adventure of life and embrace every moment that comes your way.

Let go of the past

We all have hurtful experiences, heartbreaks, setbacks, and painful memories that we can’t shake off easily. But carrying the heavy baggage of the past can keep you from living in the present. It won’t let you heal, let alone make new memories that are filled with joy and contentment. Making peace with the past is your decision and conviction, beyond which, a new beginning awaits you. When you let go of the past, you create room for new experiences and possibilities, for something beautiful that can heal you from within and shower you with happiness and inner peace.

Practice mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation is the key to the door of living in the present. It’s an exercise advised by several health experts to bring stillness to your thoughts, which allows you to remain rooted in the present moment. It relieves you from the worries of yesterday and tomorrow and enables you to become one with the present. It covers you in the blanket of calmness and makes you aware of your surroundings. But practicing mindfulness meditation requires patience and persistence. It can’t be learned overnight, but once it becomes part of your daily routine, you can embrace each moment as it comes and live life to the fullest.

Keep a ‘living in the moment’ journal

Each day, before bedtime, create a list of things that’s happened. Write down what impacted you. Next to each entry, you can jot down your ideas on what did you learn from each experience. And how do you feel about them? Update the journal every night. Once you have written have down enough pages to use a bookmark, read what you have written. This practice will make you more aware and mindful of your experiences. You will learn about your emotions and how to stop them from running amok and bring clarity to your thoughts.

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