How to Live in the Moment

by Laura Kronen on December 4, 2012

living in the moment

Is life speeding by so quickly that you feel like it’s passing you by? It’s time to step back, live in the moment and enjoy life like there is no tomorrow. Start realizing the beauty in every moment and in every day activities.  Some people think living in the moment should be an unconscious act that should just happen.  But, the truth is, it’s a conscious act that requires participation.

This is your life, and you should live it to the fullest. Here are 18 ways to feel as though you are living in the now:

1. Take notice of the world. Appreciate the view – the sky, the clouds, the landscape. Stand still and focus on the sounds around you. Try narrowing your focus to one distinctive sound and block out the others. Feel the environment around you. Is it warm against your skin? Feel the humidity in the air, note the slant of the sun’s warmth, the snow falling on your face, or the briskness of wind in your hair. Fill your lungs with the scents of the day. Pleasant aromas, sharp odors, fresh cut grass, even sensory hints that are barely there, like the smell of rain.  While you are eating, pay close attention to taste. Rather than automatically downing that morning coffee, focus on the taste and the aroma. Living in the moment means tuning into your senses and focusing on what you are doing right now.

2.  Smile and laugh.  As soon as you wake up, smile. You can set the tone of your entire day this way.  There’s scientific proof that the expressions you make with your face influence how you actually feel.  So smiles everyone, smiles! Each new day is a gift, treat it as such. Do not let your enjoyment of the present be clouded by habitual worries about the past or future. If you see something funny, laugh. It feels great. In fact, laugh till you cry – that’s even better.  Roll on the ground laughing. It doesn’t get any better than that.

3.  Take chances. We often live our lives too cautiously, worried about what might go wrong. Be bold, risk it all.Quit your job and go to business for yourself (plan it out first!), or go up to that girl you’ve liked for a long time and ask her out. What do you have to lose?  Try to find the things in life that excite you, and then go after them. Make life one adventure after another.  Live with gusto!

4. Find your passion. Similar to the above tip, this one asks you to find your purpose. Make your living by doing the thing you love to do. First, think about what you really love to do. There may be many things. Find out how you can make a living doing it. It may be difficult, but you only live once. Try something new, every week. Ask yourself: “What new thing shall I try this week?” Then be sure to do it. You don’t have to learn a new profession in one week, but seek new experiences. Give it a try. You might decide you want to keep it in your life.

5. Turn off the TV. How many hours will we waste away in front of the boob tube? How many hours do we have to live? Do the math, then unplug the TV. Only plug it back in when you have a movie that you absolutely have to see.  Or limit yourself to one favorite show a week. Otherwise, keep it off and find other stuff to do. Stop internet surfing (with the exception of Be You Only Better of course).  It is just more wasting away of your precious time. You cannot get these minutes back. Go outside. Right now! And do something.

6. Rediscover what’s important. Take an hour and make a list of everything that’s important to you. Add to it everything that you want to do in life. Now cut that list down to 4-5 things. Just the most important things in your life. This is your core list. This is what matters. Focus your life on these things. Make time for them

7. Eliminate everything else. What’s going on in your life that’s not on that short list? All that stuff is wasting your time, pulling your attention from what’s important. As much as possible, simplify your life by eliminating the stuff that’s not on your short list, or minimizing it.

8. Exercise. Get off the couch and go for a walk. Eventually try running. Or do some push ups and crunches. Or swim or bike or row. Or go for a hike. Whatever you do, get active, and you’ll love it. And life will be more alive.

9. Be positive. Learn to recognize the negative thoughts you have. These are the self-doubts, the criticisms of others, the complaints, the reasons you can’t do something. Then stop yourself when you have these thoughts, and replace them with positive thoughts. Solutions. You can do this!

10. Open your heart. Is your heart a closed bundle of scar tissue? Learn to open it, have it ready to receive love, to give love unconditionally. If you have a problem with this, talk to someone about it – a coach, a therapist, a friend.

11. Face your fears. What are you most afraid of? What is holding you back? Whatever it is, recognize it, and face it. Do what you are most afraid of. Afraid of heights? Go to the tallest building, and look down over the edge. Only by facing our fears can we be free of them.

12. Touch humanity. Get out of your house and perfectly landscaped neighborhoods, and find those who live in worse conditions. Meet them, talk to them, understand them. Live among them. Be one of them. Give up your materialistic lifestyle. Volunteer. Help at homeless soup kitchens. Learn compassion, and learn to help ease the suffering of others. Help the sick, those with disabilities, those who have no hope.

13. Play with children. THEY know how to live. They experience everything in the moment, fully. When they get hurt, they really cry. When they play, they really have fun. Learn from them, instead of thinking you know so much more than them. Play with them, and learn to be joyful like them.

14. Talk to old people. There is no one wiser and more experienced  than those who have lived through life. They can tell you amazing stories. Give you advice on making a marriage last or staying out of debt. Tell you about their regrets, so you can learn from them and avoid the same mistakes. They are the wisdom of our society — take advantage of their existence while they’re still around.

15. Learn new skills. Constantly improve yourself instead of standing still — not because you’re so imperfect now, but because it is gratifying and satisfying. You should accept yourself as you are, and learn to love who you are, but still try to improve — if only because the process of improvement is life itself.

16. Do nothing. Despite the tip above that we should find excitement, there is value in doing nothing as well. Not doing nothing as in reading, or taking a nap, or playing video games, or surfing the web, or watching TV, or meditating. Doing nothing as in sitting there, doing nothing. Just learning to be still, in silence, to hear our inner voice, to be in tune with life. Do this daily if possible.

17.Break out from ruts. Do you do things the same way every day? Change it up. Try something new. Take a different route to work. Start your day out differently. Approach work from a new angle. Look at things from new perspectives.

18. Stop watching the news. It’s depressing and useless. I refuse to watch the news or read a newspaper regularly. It hasn’t hurt me a bit. In fact, I have much less anxiety in my life. If there is anything really important I need to know, my dad tells me about it.  And I’m so much happier!

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