Live in the moment where being present allows you to enjoy life. Life isn’t meant to be lived in the deep corners of your mind. You can find so much joy, purpose, and meaning in life by focusing on the present moment. Living in the present allows you to notice the little moments and things that bring you joy. In this article, we’ll look at what it means to live in the moment and how to live in the present moment if you find yourself feeling lost or feeling stuck in the wrong time period.
What does it mean to live in the moment?
To live in the moment means to be attentive to the present moment. When living in the moment, you’re experiencing the world around you. People who live in the moment aren’t distracted by thoughts, televisions, or phones.
For example, if you were walking in nature, you might notice leaves falling, spiders walking around your feet, the coolness of the breeze, or the difficulty of climbing uphill. It’s all about the lived experience.
Is living in the moment good?
Yes, living in the moment is good. Some think that living in the moment is all about spontaneity and living life to the fullest. That’s only one perception. Living in the moment is about experiencing the world around you as it happens without injecting thought into it. The benefit of living in the moment is that there’s no stress. Stress comes from thinking. However, when we live in the present, we are free of the judgment of thoughts, allowing us to experience inner peace. There’s a sense of calm in living in the moment making life exciting, beautiful, and free.
Why do we worry about the future?
We worry about the future for survival purposes. We’ve been programmed to fear danger, threats, and things that prevent us from living long enough to procreate. Since it’s genetically wired into our brains to fear danger, it’s normal to worry about the future. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t harm us, though. Anxiety triggers our fight and flight response.
However, the world today doesn’t have the same dangers our ancestors had thousands of years ago. We’re no longer hunting or gathering for our food. Many of us don’t need to run away from wild animals. In today’s world, it’s important to live in the present so that we aren’t anxious about things that won’t lead to our demise.
Why do we get stuck in the past?
Our thoughts sometimes punish us by replaying words, images, or emotions that bring us back into the past. Living in the past prevents us from living in the moment. We get stuck in the past because we’re trying to solve an unsolvable problem. So, we repeat negative thoughts to help us find new patterns. As a result, we get stuck in the same cycles repeatedly. It’s crucial to speak with a therapist to break out of the thought cycle so you can move forward from trauma, insecurities, or past pain.
Is it possible to live in the moment?
Yes, it’s possible to live in the moment. You can do this by not allowing yourself to be controlled by thoughts. In meditation, you practice watching your thoughts pass by. You can choose not to attach to the thoughts in your head so you can live in the moment. Getting into a flow state allows you to experience something to the point of losing track of time. You become immersed in something you’re passionate about. Doing things you enjoy, meditating, and having fun are all ways to live in the moment naturally.
How to live in the moment
1. Practice meditation
It’s much easier to live in the moment when you practice meditation. Following a quick 10-minute guided meditation, every day helps remind you that you are not your thoughts. Your negative thoughts merely come to you, beyond your control. And realizing that you don’t have to identify with them is a huge help in living in the present moment. You can install a popular app like Declutter The Mind or check out meditation videos on YouTube to find free meditations you can follow. For instance, you can try this meditation on being present to help you practice mindfulness.
2. Improve your physical health
Many sedentary people don’t like hearing they need to exercise more. And while being reminded to exercise can be draining to hear when you don’t have time, exercise plays a huge role in your mental health. If you find yourself stuck in the past or fearing the future, you aren’t living in the moment because you’re in the wrong time frame. Exercise helps reduce the fight and flight response from triggering too often. That way, it’ll be much easier to live in the moment instead of worrying about the future. Exercise also helps prevent and delay brain illnesses like dementia. So overall, if you’re looking to keep your mind sharp and healthy so you can just enjoy the moment, consider going for a daily walk outdoors or on the treadmill.
3. Calm the mind
The easiest way to calm the mind is to do right-brain activities. That includes practicing mindfulness, painting, drawing, making crafts, woodworking, dancing, creating origami pieces, and so much more. When you activate the right brain, the left brain silences itself a bit. Instead of the left brain, which controls language and, therefore, thoughts, taking you down a rabbit hole of negative thinking, it simply quiets down. Keep in mind that both your left and right brain are always working. So activating the right brain doesn’t completely turn off the left brain as it’s not possible. However, having a stronger right brain can help reduce thinking. Also, many of the activities listed in this section can help you get into a flow state, where toxic thinking usually doesn’t come about.
4. Be kind
One of the easiest ways to live in the moment is to be kind. When being kind, our right brain is activated as compassion is a right-brain activity. Going out of your way to do acts of kindness is a healthy way to live your life to the fullest while having peace of mind. You can live presently when being kind. Also, people who fear the future typically don’t when they’re doing good deeds because they’re shaping the way their future looks. While bad things can still happen to good people, it’s a lot harder for things to go wrong when you’re constantly helping others and doing acts of generosity. Plus, you can have so much fun planning kindness, especially if you convince others to join along with you. For example, reading a response to an epic birthday message you sent can give you goosebumps. Or seeing the reaction of a kind gesture you did.
When we have a panic attack or are hyperventilating, we often fear the future. To live in the present or to live in the moment, we can control our breathing to ease our minds back to reality. In the present moment, we are safe. When we take time to breathe, it helps calm the rest of our bodies. Breathing helps regulate our blood pressure and heart rate. When our heart is beating rapidly due to anxiety, we can breathe to change that. We often have our minds wandering, making it hard to live in the moment. So, the next time you’re breathing to help you live in the moment, consider doing a breathing meditation, which helps reduce the movement between two thoughts by getting you to focus on the gap between those two unhelpful thoughts.
6. Seek therapy
Everyone should start therapy at a young age. Imagine how much better life would be if you were taught the coping tools to manage difficult emotions as a child. If you knew how to control your emotions, you could live in the moment all the time because you can experience life without being brought down by changes in mood. If you find a therapist who can help you deal with unresolved trauma, educate you on how to get out of your head, and learn how to calm anxiety, you’ll be better off than most people. Depending on where you’re located, those who can’t afford therapy may be able to qualify for free depending on the severity of their symptoms. Insurance policies sometimes allow therapy up to a specific price range. You can also find tools by looking up different types of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and more. You can find all the sheets that people fill out in therapy practice online so you can practice a do it yourself approach if paid therapy can’t help.
7. Do things you’re passionate about
When you’re dreaming about living in the moment, consider doing things that get you into a flow state. A flow state is when you do something so intently that you lose track of time. Maybe you feel free when running outdoors with upbeat music keeping you going. Or perhaps you’re obsessed with fixing cars, solving automotive problems gets your engines running. It doesn’t matter if the things you’re passionate about are work-related, fitness-related, or hobby-related. All that matters is that you take the time to do those things that just make you feel happy. Life without your greatest pleasures isn’t worthwhile. Don’t let other people discourage you from doing the things that excite you out of bed in the morning. As long as it doesn’t hurt you or anyone else, live in the moment by doing something you love doing.
8. Go for a nature walk
Nature helps us live in the moment. We can often get lost in our thoughts during a long mindfulness walk or have an inspiring idea strike when we step outside. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t come to life when out in nature. Walking in nature can reduce stress, improve your mood, increase brain function, and allow for better concentration. If we can concentrate better in nature, we may also be more mindful and attentive to our surroundings. Thus, we’re better equipped to live in the moment and focus on the present instead of time surfing.
Aim to go for a nature walk at least two to three times per week without music. Music can be distracting when trying to live presently as it creates tunnel vision. While out in nature, you want to be able to experience all the beauty around you. Whether you go for a walk in a forest, trail, or a quick hike around a mountainous area, nature will still have a positive effect on your wellbeing.
9. Eat mindfully
When was the last time you carefully noticed the taste of your food? Many people eat so quickly that they miss out on the flavors swirling in their mouths as they eat. The next meal you have, eat at a table with no distractions. No television screen, laptop, or phone nearby. Mindfully chew each piece of food for at least thirty bites. You’ll quickly notice that the flavor changes as you eat. Mindful eating is all about living in the moment during a meal. When we have a screen in front of us while eating, we miss out on the experience of eating. This can cause us to overeat as we’re not aware of our sensation of fullness. Allow yourself an opportunity to experience food differently. Eating mindfully is a simple way to live in the moment without needing to change anything drastic in your life, other than eating a bit slower. You can also practice this mindful eating meditation.
10. Add music to your life
While music can serve as a distraction during meals or long walks in nature, it can also enhance an experience if you don’t want to do it. You can experience great attentiveness without music. However, there are times when adding a soundtrack helps liven the room. Playing soft jazz in the background while having a quiet dinner with your partner can add a hint of romanticism to another common activity. Playing music while cleaning the kitchen can help elevate your mood and enjoy the basic life chores that drain you. Dancing and rapping to your favorite song can be a fun experience. You can play a concert while walking on the treadmill to make it feel like you’re experiencing a live performance while you sing and walk at a fast pace. Sometimes all you need is a tune to whistle or sing to get you excited about the present moment and live in the moment.
Living in the moment can be what makes your life worth living. When you find yourself feeling sad or anxious, consider moving towards the present moment. You are not your thoughts, so don’t get carried away or lost by them. Life is meant to be lived outside of your head, so don’t spend too much time in your mind. You don’t belong there. Practice meditation, get into a flow state, and do things that make you happy; that’s what living in the present is all about.