Whenever someone gets engaged or married or has a birthday I always say the same thing “enjoy every second.” It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and lose sight of the real purpose of the event. That can be said for almost anything in life — even just sitting down for morning cup of tea. How often are you checking your blackberry and really not present in the moment when you’re having lunch with a friend?
So how do you live in the moment and truly enjoy life to the fullest? Ha — it’s really not that easy — but this checklist from author, life coach and psychotherapist Lauren Mackler will give you some ideas.
By Lauren Mackler
Ideally, a balanced life encompasses the ability to learn from the past, live consciously in the moment, and work toward your hopes and dreams for the future.
Think about people you know who are so caught up in their work or personal dramas that they never enjoy life in the present. Maybe this is you! Perhaps you have trouble relaxing, even when you feel mentally and physically exhausted. Maybe you just can’t stop worrying about what might happen or ruminating about what you should be doing.
In the time it takes to say the word ‘now’, that moment has already slipped from our grasp. And while we can’t hang onto the present, it’s the most real thing we have. And we alone decide how to use the here and now in every moment of our lives.
Below are 7 daily practices to help you live more fully in the present:
1. KEEP A JOURNAL Take some quiet time to write down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a journal. Let your mind flow freely and write down all that’s happening inside of you in the moment.
2. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS Many people are so stuck living in the past or fretting about the future that they miss the richness of life as it’s unfolding. Practice focusing on ‘the now’ and consciously release thoughts of the past and future.
3. SPEND TIME IN NATURE Go outdoors. You’ll find that walking barefoot in the cool grass, inhaling spring lilac blossoms, or tending a garden are wonderful ways to get re-grounded in the moment.
4. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE Find something beautiful in the ‘here and now’ (a beautiful sunset, the sound of your child’s laughter, a delicious meal, etc.). Take it in and let yourself fully enjoy it.
5. BREATHE Inhale deeply and slowly release your breath. Do this a few times, and try to connect to your breath as you breathe in and out. This is a very good technique for calming yourself when you are feeling tense or anxious.
6. RELEASE EXPECTATIONS AND JUDGEMENT Constantly judging others and obsessing over unmet expectations contaminates the present. Let go of your expectations and remember: everyone is doing the best they can in any given moment.
7. BE GRATEFUL This can be a very healing and powerful exercise. Remind yourself of all the blessings in your life right now and write them down.
Lauren Mackler is a world-renowned coach, psychotherapist, radio host, and author of the international best-seller, “SOLEMATE: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life.” She is a frequent commentator on CNN, and her work has been covered widely in the media. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter, read her blog, and visit her website.