In theory, being present is something that I think we all strive for, but in reality being present and learning to live in the moment can be a bit of a challenge. Present is the word I chose for myself this year because I want to learn to enjoy each present moment and not spend my time focused on the past or the future. As a wife and mother, I sometimes really struggle with focusing on the here and now and instead want to fixate on the million other things going on in my head. It can be easy to let the mind wander to events that happened yesterday or an earlier conversation, just as it is easy to be concerned with what’s planned for tomorrow.
But here’s the thing, when you’re not really and truly present, you’re not fully valuing the moment and quite frankly, you might as well not even be in the room. Because if you can’t shut everything else out for that moment, then you’re not really giving the other person the attention that they need and deserve, which isn’t fair nor beneficial for anyone.
So today I’m sharing 8 ways on how to be present in your daily life, and the daily challenges that I’m giving myself this year. I hope you’ll join me in practicing mindfulness and being more present, and hope that these steps will lead you to a better place in your life and will help you find greater happiness.
“I want to be present in my life, so I can be a better wife, mom, and friend. I want to let go of the past and leave it behind, and not worry about the yesterdays, while also not letting the future tomorrows or what-ifs take away from simply living in the present moment. I want to learn to celebrate and enjoy the life I’ve been given NOW, and realize that today and this exact moment is the only thing that is certain and is what needs my full attention.”
8 Ways to Be Present in Your Daily Life
It can be insanely difficult to “be present” if you’re constantly glued to a phone or computer screen. Although this step might be the most difficult, learning to disconnect will help tremendously in being more present in your daily life. I’m not saying you have to lose the phone/tablet/laptop altogether, but creating time-out’s and setting limits will work wonders. For instance, we have a rule in place at our house where no cell phones/tablets are allowed at the dinner table, during movies, and while playing games. I also personally try to limit my social media time in the evenings while with family.
Humans are creatures of habit by nature, which can often cause us to miss out on the beauty right in front of us. Take the time to evaluate your daily habits to see if you’re doing things which are counterproductive in being present. For instance, if when you wake up in the morning you automatically check your phone for notifications before even saying hello to your family members, you might want to re-evaluate. Instead, try doing something different a few days a week, like getting up and making a special breakfast or taking the kids out for a special treat one evening. These little spontaneous moments will help you stay living in the moment and will further strengthen your bond with those closest to you.
Write it Down
We all make yearly goals, but sometimes it’s just as important to evaluate the day-to-day journey alongside trials and successes. A great way to be more mindful of what’s going on in your life and living in the present is to write things down in a journal or notebook. At the end of the day, write down a couple things that happened during the day which made you happy or challenged you. This will help you practice mindfulness and will help keep you motivated.
Talk Less, Listen More
Communication is key, but sometimes the most important piece is listening. When in conversation with someone, talk less and listen more. You’ll be amazed at how much clarity and understanding you’ll find when you truly listen to what the other person is saying to you. And sometimes being that good friend, spouse, or parent is not so much in what you say to them, but rather it’s in the fact that you’re simply there and you’re listening to them.
We all like to rush through one thing to get on to the next task, but when you do that you’re not savoring the “good stuff”. Whether it’s slowing down to enjoy eating a meal with your family, or slowing down and taking in all the beautiful scenery around you while walking the dog, be mindful of the moment you’re in and slow it down. Learning to not let your wandering mind steal away the special moments will help you be a truly happier person.
Just as speeding through tasks is not good, doing 5 things at once can also cause you to miss a lot of important moments. It also doesn’t let you enjoy each and every accomplishment, as you should. I recommend making a daily list of things you want to accomplish, and then tackling things one task at a time. By focusing on one thing at a time, you might even find yourself being more productive than before. Plus in the end, you’ll have a much greater satisfaction if you’re able to accomplish 2 full things instead of 7 half-jobs.
Whenever you start to feel overwhelmed with too many tasks and too many conflicting thoughts, stop whatever you’re doing and take a deep breath. Close your eyes, breathe in and breathe out, and give yourself a positive affirmation, such as “I am doing the best I can in this moment.” We all have those times where the to-do list is ever growing and tasks just keep piling up, but finding a way to bring yourself back to a healthy starting point will help you better tackle your day. Here are some beginner tips and exercises.
Ask Yourself “What’s Important Now?”
Last but no least, try to start living by asking yourself the question of “What’s Important Right Now?” In doing so, you’ll find that so much of what you were filling your time with before wasn’t all that important, and it will really help you re-prioritize every aspect of your life. For example, I’m sure most of us want to spend more time with our family members but we claim there’s just not enough hours in the day. Yet, when you start asking yourself “What’s Important Now?”, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not really crucial to watch 2 episodes of Friends a night, and that small load of clothes can probably wait until tomorrow.
So there you have 8 ways that you can be more present in your daily life. I hope you found these tips helpful and hope that you’ll join me in practicing mindfulness and focusing on the here and now this year. Do you personally have struggles with being present? Is there something that you would like to focus on improving this year. Be sure and share it with me in the comments!
Enjoy your week! Thanks for stopping by!-Cara