By Nicole Tinkham
“Being there” sounds like the easiest thing on the planet to do, right? You are where you are! It’s as simple as that. But are you really present in the moment? That can be a tricky question. Here’s what I mean. Have you ever been in a boring math class and totally spaced out? You were physically in the classroom but your mind was elsewhere. That boring math class may not seem very important to you (unless of course, you love math) but what if you caught yourself zoning out during a family dinner? This is something important to you but for some reason you’re not there in the moment. Why? Because you probably have a million things running through your mind and just can’t seem to focus no matter how badly you want to. Once we release the challenges spinning around our head we are able to focus on the moment and enjoy pure happiness. If this is what you want more of in life, read on for 5 simple steps to just being there, in the moment.
The biggest problem: Stress and worry over the past and future. You need to stop! You cannot change the past nor can you predict the future. Let it go and only be concerned with the moment right now.
1. Plan your day out
Are you ready for this? We are going beyond creating just a typical to-do list. This is something I personally do to organize my day which helps me focus on the task at hand and actually relax on my time off. Here’s what you need to do before the start of each day: Take your daily to-do list and schedule times you will get these things done. Be careful with how much time you allow for each task though. Don’t give yourself too much time where you find yourself off-task but don’t limit your time either where you don’t have enough time to finish the task. Having allotted times for each task allows you to only concern yourself with one thing at a time. If you’re outside of those time slots, take your mind off it and move on.
2. View and speak about your time differently
How many times do you catch yourself saying “I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy” when asked to do something? You need to stop that right now because what you say becomes your reality. Keep saying these phrases and your life will only become more hectic. Remember that there’s always time for things in your day. But it really depends on the things you choose to do. You can’t do everything so focus your time on what will move you forward with your goals. With anything else, you can say “I appreciate the invite but must decline because I made a promise to myself to reach my goals”. This will free up so much of your time, relieve your stress and allow you to focus on the important things, like being present with your family. From now on you should be telling yourself “I have an abundance of time”, instead of worrying over not having enough.
3. Clear your head
Make the most out of your quiet alone time. Get in your zone. Get focused. Think about your goals and plans for the day. Always know where you’re headed. Do some soul searching and make sure you’re on track with where you want to go in life. Meditation and yoga are two excellent ways to get in touch with your inner self. Allow your stress and worry melt away. I recommend doing this every single day, even if it’s just for just 5 minutes at a time. You can always work your way up to longer sessions.
4. Really listen
I don’t know about you but I can get really good at tuning people out when I have other things on my mind. If you’re striving to really be in the moment though, you’ll need to drop everything going on in your head, shut your mouth and really listen. Try this activity. When talking to someone else, start repeating things they say back to them. For example, you can say “So you’re saying it made you feel this way, right?”. It shows you’re paying attention and it keeps you focused.
5. Notice the little things
There are so many small joys of life that are often missed due to simply being too busy to notice them. We wait around for something big and exciting in our lives to make us happy when really happiness lies in the things right in front of us, like a beautiful day or a smile from a stranger. Be aware of these things and it will help you be more present. One thing I like to do is picture something (like yellow butterflies) and focus on my surroundings throughout the day to see how many I notice. It turns your attention to what’s going on currently, so you’re not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Being there, in the moment not only has a big impact on your own life but on those close to you as well. Your relationships will improve, your communication skills will get better, and you’ll become a more thoughtful and caring person. To have this time where you can just enjoy the moment plan your day out being very specific with what you’re doing at each hour, view your time differently (remember, you have plenty of it!), clear your mind during some quiet time, pay close attention to what others have to say, and take note of the little things in life. Of course this won’t come naturally to you right away. Work on being present little by little each day and you’ll get the hang of it.
Tell us, are you living in the present moment? If not, what habits will you pick up from this blog to help you do that?