How To Live In The Present Moment: 10 Tips To Stay Present


“Now is the only reality. All else is either memory or imagination”. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
“The future never comes. Life is always now”. Eckhart Tolle

You may have seen such quotes many times before. However, they are not merely some airy-fairy spiritual-quotes, but a fact of life.


Though being present moment to moment is certainly not easy as I know from my own experience, it is ultimately a choice that we can make since nobody stops us from being present but ourselves.


Living in the present contrary to popular perception doesn’t mean to let go of all thinking or planning. But it means to be rooted in the present moment while we do so.

Adopting it as a way of life offers the solution to much of the problems we face in our daily lives. As Eckart Tolle points out,


“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry—all forms of fear—are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”

We have the habit of living our lives in a constant state of waiting. Many of the things we have in our lives today may perhaps be ones we might have wished and dreamed of in the past. Yet we don’t enjoy or cherish those things we have and instead live our lives always hoping some achievement, event, or circumstance in the future will make us happy. However, in truth, the future never arrives except as the present moment.


So how can we live in the present moment? Read on to find out about how you can do just that.


Slowing down


Slowing down the pace in which we do things, helps to bring us into the present moment, as this often requires us to be consciously present. Whereas, when we are hurrying through the things we do, we often tend to do them unconsciously.


How we usually eat our meals is but one example of this. We tend to eat our food rather fast when we do it without being consciously present. Or on other occasions, we may be lost in our thoughts or be on our devices while we are eating. However, simply by consciously slowing down the pace in which we chew our food, we can bring ourselves into the present moment.


Whenever I do this, I appreciate the food more. It makes the flavours more intense, and the food tastes better. I've also observed that I feel the need to eat less than usual when I slow down and consciously chew and savour the food.


Being Aware of the sensations


Though our mind tends to wander from time to time, our body is always in the present moment. All sensations that we experience are also in the present and never in the past or the future. Hence being aware of the sensations naturally brings us into the "now."


When you are having a bath, feel the sensations of the water touch touching your body and notice what it feels like. How your feet feel as it touches the ground while you are walking, how your hand feels as you type words on a keyboard are all ways by which you can put this into practice in your life.


Paying attention to your environment


Paying attention to the sights, sounds, and the smells in our environment is a great way to put us in touch with the present moment.


Paying close attention to the details of the sights around me helps me to be more present while I am walking outside. Doing this keeps me from being in my head, thinking about the past or future.


Even doing this just for a single day made me notice sights that were in my neighbourhood that were always there, yet never noticed because I was either caught up in my mind or not looking.


Using breath as an anchor


Our breath is a great tool to anchor us into the present moment. Being aware of our belly rising and falling as we breathe can keep us rooted to the moment.


You can bring yourself into the present right now as you are reading these words, by observing the natural rhythm of your breath.


Whenever you catch yourself caught up in unconscious thinking, you can bring your attention back into the present moment by observing the breath.


Meditate


Meditation is all about being paying attention to the moment.


Research has shown that practising meditation rewires our brain and thickens the prefrontal cortex which is associated with awareness, concentration and this can certainly help us to be more present in our daily lives.


The more we meditate the inner chatter of the mind reduces, even as we step out of meditation and engage in our daily lives. Thus fewer are the mental distractions that prevent us from being present in the moment.


Here are some easy ways by which you can meditate


Making it a priority


To make a habit of living in the present moment, it requires us to make it a priority. Otherwise, as I have learned from my own experience, it may be something we do for a short while before we forget about it altogether.


And that is why nowadays I set an intention to be present every morning as I wake up, which serves as a reminder to myself to be as present as I can in the “now”.


Let go of multi-tasking


Research has shown that our brains are not built for multi-tasking, and it has even been shown to impair our ability to focus and concentrate. To put it simply, multi-tasking and being present don’t go hand in hand.


Take time to relax


It’s a lot easier to be present in the moment when we are relaxed than when we are stressed or overwhelmed.


Taking time out during the day for a few slow deep breaths can help to bring you into the present moment as well as make you feel relaxed. Here is a simple breathing exercise you can do,


Breathe in for 4 counts,

Retain for 7 counts

Exhale for 8 counts.


Taking a few conscious and slow steps while feeling your feet on the ground is also a great way to relax and bring yourself into the moment.

Being mindful with our devices


Being consciously present while we use our technological devices can save us time and increase our productivity by leaps and bounds.


While this may be easier said than done, being purposeful with our phone usage along with a willingness to be present can make this possible.


A combination of practices that are mentioned above can helps us with this. Using your breath as an anchor or consciously moving your fingers as you swipe and type on your phones can help you to be present while you are using your devices.


Set small targets


Starting out by trying to be present for the whole day is an almost impossible task. Therefore to begin with, it’s easier to select a few tasks during our day where we can practice being present. Perhaps it could be when we are eating, having a bath, brushing our teeth


Here is a quick recap.


  1. Slowing down

  2. Being aware of sensations.

  3. Paying attention to your environment

  4. Using breath as an anchor

  5. Meditate

  6. Making it a priority

  7. Take time to relax

  8. Letting go of multi-tasking

  9. Being mindful with our devices

  10. Set small targets


And finally, here is a bonus tip that works like magic, to snap out of overthinking and bring yourself back into the present moment.


“Try a little experiment. Close your eyes and say to yourself: “I wonder what my next thought is going to be.” Then become very alert and wait for the next thought. — Eckhart Tolle

Living our lives from moment to moment is not something we can learn overnight. Therefore, make it a point to be easy on yourself. When you find your mind wandering, worry not! For every moment is a new opportunity to bring yourself back into the moment.



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