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6 Ways to Live in the Moment
The idea of “living in the moment” has inspired a lot of motivational posters and T-shirts, but it’s really an important concept. You’ve probably heard several variations: Live like there’s no tomorrow. Live as if you’ll die today. Living in the moment takes practice, but when you learn how to live this way, you will lead a fuller life and appreciate the beauty in every activity every second of the day. Learn how to live in the moment with these six ideas.
1. Focus on the now
In order to live in the moment, you need to focus on the now. Focus on what you’re doing. Shut off the TV, turn off the computer, slow down and savor the present.
Jay Dixit, who is the senior editor of Psychology Today, refers to this as mindfulness, or being with your thoughts as they are. According to Dixit, living for the moment by practicing mindfulness reduces stress, boosts your immune system, lowers blood pressure and has other beneficial physical and mental effects. Dixit adds that mindful people are more secure, have higher self-esteem and are happier.
According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., psychologist and educator at the University of California at Riverside and author of The How of Happiness, savoring or relishing life in the moment — whether it’s eating a meal, drinking a cup of coffee or walking to the store — elicits happiness and other positive emotions.
2. Pay attention to the small things
Notice the world around you: the small things. Be thankful for them. Living for the moment and taking notice of the small things will help you cultivate more positive experiences.
Cheryl Rainfield, an artist and writer, recommends you pay attention to the little things that make you happy, like eating ice cream, blowing bubbles or listening to music, as these things can make a huge difference in how you feel.
If you want to know how to live in the moment, you just have to take a look in the mirror and smile. Smile — it can influence how you feel.
Scientific American Mind magazine reports that making an emotional face influences how we feel. The magazine adds that there is an association in our mind between how we feel and how we react. If we feel happy, we smile. If we smile, it makes us feel happy. Our face communicates our state of mind to others and to ourselves. So smile — it will make you happier and help you appreciate life in the moment.
4. Perform random acts of kindness
Random acts of kindness, those selfless acts that help others, help you live for the moment of making others smile, and making you smile as well. Random acts of kindness are just that—random. They are spontaneous, in the moment and a great addition to your daily life.
The next time you see that person walking in the rain, offer them your umbrella. That stranded motorist? Call for help. The elderly lady struggling with her groceries? Carry them for her. One of the easiest lessons for how to live in the moment is to do something for someone else without expecting anything in return. It not only helps you live in the moment, but improves that moment for you and someone else.
Be thankful. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But it isn’t always. It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving for you to feel grateful and express that gratitude.
Every now and then, remember to stop and take stock of just how good you have it. When your friend makes you smile, thank her for being in your life. When your boss gives you a new task, say thanks, remembering that you still have a job and can put food on the table. When you think it or feel it, say it right then. Live in the moment by expressing your gratitude when you feel it.
6. Don’t worry
It’s much harder than it sounds, but try to remember that worrying today won’t change what happens tomorrow. Every second you spend in worry about the future is a second of the present wasted. Because worrying takes you out of this moment and transports you into the realm of future possibilities, it's impossible to live in the moment and worry at the same time.
Instead, if circumstances are troubling, focus on ways you can solve an existing problem now or otherwise improve the current moment. Spending time focused on what may happen down the line robs you of fully experiencing what is happening now. Life in the moment moves quickly — don’t miss it.
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