Living in the present. It’s an ideology that many people know about but have difficulty putting into practice. I for one, am guilty of this. When life gets hectic or overwhelming, instead of slowing down, I speed up! I often wonder, what do I really gain from rushing? Hurrying and multi-tasking immediately creates stress in my body. Rushing tricks us into thinking that we’re getting more done but often it’s the complete opposite. The more we put on our plates, the more our minds and our bodies suffer.
Slowing down is a conscious choice, and although it’s not always an easy one, there’s no doubt that leads to more happiness and a much greater appreciation for life. Living in the present, or at least consciously making an effort to is teaching me to stop and reconnect with my breath, to appreciate the small things, and to live every day to its fullest.
These 10 ways to slow down and enjoy the moment are simple, straight-forward, and perfectly attainable-if you put your mind to it!
1. Enjoy the silence
Take a few moments out of every day to sit in silence, whether it be the moment you wake up in the morning, when you get home from a busy day at work, or just before settling in for the night. Quieting your mind means learning to appreciate the lack of noise. Instead of overthinking life, use those moments of silence to sit quietly and reflect.
2. Do less
Instead of multi-tasking, try to single-task. Focus on one thing at a time. When you feel the urge to do more than one task at a time, pause, breathe, and pull yourself back to the task at hand. Don’t fill your day with an absurd amount of tasks that you will end up feeling guilty over if you cannot accomplish them all.
The more technology becomes a part of our lives, the more our personal relationships suffer. Limit your internet time, and instead connect with a friend, over the phone or in person. Technology is an addictive habit that steals time you could be spending with those people that matter to your most.
4. Trust the universe
When life just gets too busy or overwhelming, sometimes the best thing we can do is surrender and trust that everything will work out just as it was meant to. Trusting, instead of trying with all your might to plan the future helps you appreciate each moment in your life. ‘Everything happens for a reason’ and until we know what that reason is we need to let go of the desire to know, and instead fully appreciate every day of our lives for what they are.
5. Appreciate the small things
Be fully present and find pleasure in every aspect of what you are doing, however small it is. Instead of complaining about your busy day and all the tasks you have to accomplish, focus on each individual moment and appreciate all aspects of it.
6. Count your blessings
Be grateful for what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have. Focusing on the negative prevents us from finding the positive in a situation. Establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself of the gifts you’ve been granted in your life. Set aside time on a daily basis to recall moments of gratitude by making positive affirmations or keeping a gratitude journal to reinforce positive thoughts.
When you feel overwhelmed or anxious and you find yourself speeding up remind yourself to pause and take a deep breath. Focus on the air coming into your body as it energizes you, then feel all the stress and tension escaping your body as you exhale. By fully focusing on each individual breath, you are better able to bring focus to the present moment and calm yourself down.
8. Live in the moment
When you are aligned with the present moment you naturally tend to feel calmer. Your able to focus more on the positive, which nurtures a more optimistic and positive attitude. Just be there in the moment and acknowledge the present, without dwelling on the past or thinking about the future.
9. Learn to say ‘no’
Stretching yourself too thin, even if you have the best of intentions can rob you of any joyful thing you might do. Learning to say ‘no’ means taking on less responsibility and opening up the space necessary to do what makes us the happiest, for example spending time with family and friends.
10. Talk a walk in nature
It’s no surprise that spending time in nature has a positive effect on our health and emotions. Focusing on the sounds and beauty found in nature allows for our brains to clam down and relax. Spending time in nature will increase your sense of well-being, reduce stress and negativity, and make you feel more energized-both physically and emotionally.
Children are also greatly affected by nature. Spending time outside improves children’s resilience to stress, reduces anxiety and fatigue, teaches them responsibility, and increases their physical activity.
This past Sunday was a particularly glorious day, considering warm, sunny autumn days in southern Ontario are usually a dime a dozen. What better way to take advantage of the beautiful weather than to spend some quality time with the family outside at a park.