8 Ways to Be Present In Your Life
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 very 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
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Great Post! I wish I would of learned this earlier in my life and not to focus on the past and to let go. I think in the Bible in Philippians 3: 13-14 talks about forgetting the past and press forward. Still working on that one. My focus is not to worry so much about things I can’t change but spend more time with your Mommy and You and your family and your 2 brothers. You guys are the most important thing in my life. Love you.
Thanks, love you all too!
Such great tips!! I’d love to overhaul our evenings to focus on family and enjoying some play time with the kids. Our family is super important to me and sometimes we get lost in busy stuff that isn’t really that important in the grand scheme of things.
Thanks Whitney! It really is more about just being together and enjoying the moments. I need to learn to put the camera down more and just play instead of trying to capture it on film.
I’m trying to become a better listener, especially with my husband and support him more. I also really want to try meditating. I think it would be so beneficial for me!
Listening is really important in a relationship and it helps a lot! 🙂
Why is it so hard to be present? Like just shutting up and listening–so hard to do–but one of the most beneficial things you can do! Love these tips!
I know, right?! It’s like one of the fundamentals but we so easily forget it. 🙂
So well said Cara! This is incredibly important and often in the hustle and bustle we don’t take the time to truly enjoy myself. Since becoming a Mom and watching him grow, I’ve become even more aware of needing to really cherish and be intentional with my time and decisions!
Thanks Jennifer! It can be hard to really stop and enjoy things when we’re so busy as moms and wives, but time flies and if we don’t enjoy it now we never will. Hope you’re having a great weekend with your little one! 🙂
I love love love these tips! One of my goals for 2017 is to live in the present. I’m such a planner, I never go with the flow and focus on what’s in front of me. I love that you have disconnecting at the top of your list. I’m hoping to do that on Sundays.
Thanks Lexi! Hope you are able to disconnect more to enjoy time with your family! 🙂
These are great tips, Cara! Being present is so important but I find myself multi-tasking and thinking about all the other things that need to be done when I should be enjoying the moment. These are great things to try and remember and enjoy more of the now. Beautifully Candid
Thanks Sierra! I’m the same way, unfortunately, which can suck the joy right out of any special moment. Learning to just rid my head of worries/to-do lists has been helping me a lot in staying more present.
Loved reading every bit of this article. Great tips and a complete inspiration.
I love this post. Such a great reminder and theme as we continue into 2017. I think disconnecting is so important! Last night on the couch, my hubs and I were both on our phones and I realized how silly we would look to anyone watching us! We text all day to each other and then get home with each other and are on the phone. Ugh. Thank you for this, it is exactly what I needed to hear today.
Thanks Kristen! I often think about how strange our society must look to an outsider. I hope to disconnect a lot more this year to enjoy time with my family. 🙂
Disconnecting is my biggest struggle and an active goal for the new year.
I’ve wasted so much time in the past on social media when I should have just spent time with my family. I don’t want to live with regrets so that’s my biggest challenge to myself this year is disconnecting! We can do it! 🙂
Love this Cara! I’ve been really trying to take things one at a time and limit distractions. The benefits of being present are just so amazing and so much more fulfilling!
Rachel | The Confused Millennial
Thanks Rachel! Ridding unwanted distractions is really helpful for leading a more present, happier life. 🙂
Disconnecting from my phone or laptop is a must for me when I’m spending time with my boys. I love hearing their silly stories they have to tell me.
Silly stories are the best! 🙂
I struggled with so much last year. Especially when I was still at my old role at work. I was always so preoccupied with work that I never appreciated what I had. I like the idea of asking yourself what is important now? I would get so hung up on things that I couldn’t even change.
That question is so important for me right now in my life with kids. There are a lot of times I want to focus on making the house spotless or get ahead with work/blogging, but at the end of the day my family comes first and my kids are growing and changing everyday. Learning to not take them for granted and spend as much time as I can with them is my main priority now.
Writing things down is a goal of mine for this year. It’s actually the first year I’ve bought a planner and I set a reminder on my phone to remind me to sit down each morning/evening and go through it. It’s a hard new habit to cultivate but it’s worth it feel organized.
That’s great! They say habits take a few weeks to make, but once you’ve did it for awhile it will become second nature to you! 🙂
Talk less and listen more + ditch multitasking .. this is a post filled with things I needed to hear .. thank-you so much!
I’m so glad it was helpful to you Ali!
I couldn’t agree more with you about disconnecting every now and then. It’s so important to live in the present with those around you rather than just be fully immersed on social media all the time! xo, sharon
Exactly! Focusing on the present and enjoying the time you’re given is a must!
I’m working on disconnecting more this year in pursuit of my word “Thrive.” I really want to be able to focus on making memories and not be so worried at capturing them!
That’s a great goal to have, Chelsie. And I can completely relate. I love photos but actually putting the phone away and enjoying the moment is more important sometimes.
I think disconnecting is something that I really need to work on. I find myself glued to my phone way too often and I know I need to put it down. but I think it connects with break the habit, because now it’s just a habit and mindless to me.
I have to physically put my phone up/away so I won’t be tempted. If not, I’ll mindlessly start doing things on it. But it makes all the difference in really being more present!
Wow – I so needed this! I try to really shift my focus from doing work and enjoying my day to day life. It is easy to get caught up with work. But you have to make a concerted effort to enjoy your life now and live in the moment.
Exactly, Abby! That’s a great point!
Such great tips! I’m constantly connected to my MacBook and/or iPhone 24/7/365. It’s so bad. But my business is on there and my education is online as well. So I’m just always working on something. But I started doing a few of these and it’s been so helpful! Especially with my anxiety. Life becomes so much less stressful when you’re more present in your life.
The struggle is real for me too. I’m a full-time marketing professional so I’m constantly online while at work, and then with blogging on the side I feel the need to constantly be checked in. But the problem is when you’re always checked in online, you’re not fully present in your real life, which isn’t good. I’m really trying to be more mindful of setting times for work/home life and keeping the two separate.
Such a great post Cara! I’ve been working to put my phone away, turn the TV off and be present. It makes a huge difference!
Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com
Thanks Greta! It’s amazing what you miss when you’re so distracted with devices. I’m really focused on disconnecting this year to spend more quality time with my loved ones. 🙂
I LOVE this post! This can definitely be a struggle in our world of instant connection and go-go-go attitudes, but I definitely feel like this is always a goal of mine! I’ve taken to leaving my phone at home on date nights or meetings with friends so I can’t be tempted by the distraction! I also love the idea of spontaneous treats and talk less, listen more. Great ideas! Hope your week is off to a great start! XO -Kim
Thanks Kim! Spontaneity is NOT easy for me because I’m very much a planner by nature, but the further along in life I get the more I realize that we don’t need special reasons to celebrate or have fun. Every day is a blessing and should be celebrated! 🙂
Listening more is such a great point, Cara. I’m so glad you focused on that, because many people overlook it!
Good listening skills is such an important quality to have!
I definitely want to focus on disconnecting more from social media. I was watching this amazing talk about how we are constantly attached to our phones, even if we aren’t on them–we feel like we need to be holding them to feel secure. I want to practice keeping my phone in my office unless I need it for work itself, and then having it upstairs when I’m home having dinner with Josh or watching a movie!
It’s very easily became an addiction for most people nowadays, which is sad. We used to not have that constant need to stay connected with the world but now you can’t go a day without accessing a phone/tablet/computer/tv. I personally want to be less attached to my devices this year so I can be the best mom/wife for my family. 🙂
So many excellent tips Cara. I am learning to disconnect more. Keep the cell phone away. I don’t need to read facebook updates or check Instagram at dinner. It’s all about slowing down more often and enjoying those moments.
Exactly! Glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂
Great examples. This year, I have been journaling every day and finding it to be so centering … it also helps me see what’s really important throughout the days. I’m working on building a meditation practice this year and incorporating yoga into my days. You have some other great tips here … I’m guilty of not always unplugging from my phone/tablet. I need to do that more and just be present
I think that’s the one that most of us struggle with in the society we live in now. But learning those times when you need to disconnect is so important. 🙂
Great list. I struggle with the multi tasking because I feel like the quicker I get everything finished, the more time I will have to be present with my child, etc. I also struggle with disconnecting, especially since I’m trying to grow my blog, I feel like I need to be connecting all the time!
I completely get that, I’ve struggled with the whole wanting to get everything done mentality for years. But recently I’ve started tackling one thing at a time, and it’s worked so much better for me! It helps not get overwhelmed and stressed out, while also letting you have feelings of accomplishment along the way. 🙂
SO many great reminders here. I have set a goal to meditate more and I am working on developing healthier habits as well.
Thanks Lauren! Those are great goals!
What a great post and yes that was one of my vision board words 🙂
xo, Jessica || The Petite Diaries
Oh that’s awesome! I’ve always wanted to make one of those vision boards!
LOVE this! Especially with the arrival of baby girl a few months ago, I just want to soak up every ounce of time with her as she’s so little and learning so much. Disconnecting from screens and slowing down are super important to me this year <3
Absolutely! Enjoy every minute because trust me when I say it flies by!
Great Post! Me and your mommy have made it a goal to spend more time with each other and we want to spend more time with you and your two brothers too. I have learned you cannot expect to gain any where in life if you are holding onto the past. I have learned to forget the past and press on not only for the Lord but what things that me and your mommy want to get accomplished. You and Rob have given us the most wonderful gift of 2 little Grandsons and we Love them very much and they make me laugh and smile every time we see them. Sometime in the near future you need to just take a you day and maybe get with your mommy and let me or Rob watch the little boys and just spend the day together. I enjoy sitting down and talking to you and Rob and getting together and doing things. Love you and your family. Dad
Thanks Dad. Love you all too!
Working on this. All good advice. Thanks!
That’s great, Leah!
These are such great things to do and remember! It’s so easy to get lost and not enjoy life!
Thanks Adriana! We all need to remember to live more in the moment. 🙂
LOVE the advice of “talk less, communicate more.” So wise!
It’s such a good reminder!
Great tips, Cara! I’ve always been all about multi-tasking but recently realized that that’s definitely not the way to go. I want to try to disconnect more to be present too!
I think there are times where multi-tasking is helpful but also moments where one task at a time is the best way to do it. Glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂
Love this! I think disconnecting is so important to be present! And certainly slowing down some helps too. We probably all need to work more on being present. I often catch myself checking my phone too often or sitting still and thinking I should be doing something else but sometimes you just need to decompress.
Exactly! I don’t know when we as society started thinking that we can’t possibly sit for longer than 5 minutes, but it’s craziness that we don’t relax more lol. Our bodies and minds aren’t built for go, go, go all the time.
I love this post, Cara! I find that when I can put my phone away and focus on the people around me, I am a lot happier. I am also finding that I do not mind taking a break from everything just to sit, collect my thoughts, and do a quick brain dump. It really helps me realize that there is more to life than a “To-Do” List. Thank you for the different suggestions!
I am the same way, Erin! Not having my phone as a distraction literally makes all the difference. 🙂
This blog post was the perfect thing for me to read this morning. My theme for 2017 is NOW, and mainly I chose that because I want to stay present. I love these ideas, and I can’t wait to try some of the ones that I hadn’t thought of before!
Oh that’s great Taylor! 🙂
Mostly on board with these, except multi-tasking. That’s how my brain has always operated and feels most comfortable, depending on which tasks are going on at once, of course!
I think multi-tasking has benefits in a lot of instances and like you I thrive on doing lots of tasks. But, sometimes I’ve found it can be overwhelming to take on too much at once and prefer doing one thing at a time. But it’s all about what works for each person!
These are truly some amazing tips! I REALLY need to do a better job at “disconnecting” as a blogger I find it really difficult but it SHOULDN’T be. I need to be more in the moment before. I feel like I multi-task all day every day and need to learn to “slow down” and enjoy the moment. You are so right about making time for family and friends because like you said, its not that big of a deal putting off doing laundry for a day or two. Thanks so much for sharing these!
Thanks Tanya! I used to struggle with disconnecting too but I’ve learned with time that nothing is that important that it can’t wait until later. Plus, social media can be a huge time waste if you’re not careful. What I mean, is I’ll easily spend 15 minutes scrolling through a feed and in the end there’s no real benefit lol. Learning that my time with family and friends is much more precious has been so important.
Presence is vital in so many aspects of life…relationships and when you’re working with groups (I do team building). My coaches have stress that it is vital for authentic acting.When an actor isn’t fully present, something is missing in the performance.
That’s a great point, Anne! It can make all the difference!
I watched a Bollywood film ‘Dear Zindagi’ (Dear Life) wherein there’s this speech about breaking patterns. Getting used to something or someone could really obliterate your life for better or for worse. Great article! 🙂
Breaking habits can be hard, but it’s important to realize not all habits are a good thing. Thanks for commenting! 🙂
Disconnecting is so difficult for me (social media is my job), but it’s something to work on – even if just a 30 minute block of reading rather than scrolling! :]
// ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲
That’s been the hardest for me too because I’m a marketing professional at work, and then of course with my blog I’m constantly scheduling out things, but I think at the end of the day setting certain time blocks helps keep you from going overboard and more present when you’re with family and friends.
I love this so much! All of these things are so true! Especially the be present. Yesterday I was doing some house work and the kids wanted me to play with them, so we played for a good 45 minutes running around the house, it was so much fun. Those are the moments they’re going to remember, not the ones where the house was clean, or Christmas was cleaned up before the new year…
That’s great, Sarah! They grow way too fast not to enjoy each day with them. 🙂
LoveLoveLove this, Cara! Everything is spot on! Sometimes I tend to have a hard time disconnecting, but I did good last year and hope to only get better from here on out.
Beauty With Lily
Thanks Lily! It’s important to recognize when we need to disconnect. I’ve been getting so much better about planning certain times in the day to check social media and then disconnect once I’m with family. It’s helped a lot!
Disconnecting and meditating is key! I truly believe that leaving electronics alone for the evening is really important and beneficial.
I agree, Alexis! Especially for me when I’m on a computer 95% of the time while I’m at work, I really like to get away from it once I’m home in the evenings.
I really want to incorporate more meditation & learn to calm my mind… its a goal for 2017
That’s a great goal to have! Yoga has been working wonders for me with stress!
I am struggling to not multitask, because right now I am a work at home mom and I want to get EVERYTHING done. I need to be better about being more present when I am with my daughter, so I am especially grateful to be taking time off soon!
I’ve struggled with that for years now too, Marette! But honestly at the end of the day spending time with our kids is what’s most important, rather than focusing on the laundry and dishes. It will always be waiting there tomorrow. 🙂
I’ve always said that the theory of multi-tasking is a lie that far too many people buy into so easily. Do a few things well instead of a bunch of things at once that end up being crap. Just my two cents. Great tips!
I completely agree! I think there are instances where multi-tasking can be beneficial but the older I get the more I prefer doing things one task at a time. 🙂
I’m a huge fan of disconnecting. I rarely look at social media unless I’m waiting in line for something (to pass the time) but otherwise, I try and stay off of it as much as I can. I NEVER pick up my phone when I’m out with people (meals, parties etc) because I’d rather interact with humans!
I think that’s a good rule of thumb to live by, Kathy!
These are all great tips and a good reminder that being present is what’s important. While I could benefit from all of these, I really need to practice disconnecting, talking less and listening more, and ditch multitasking.
Thanks Ryan! Learning to disconnect has been really helpful to spending more quality time with my family. 🙂
These are all so great. I tried meditation but I couldn’t get it to work for me but I really would love to be able to just relax and give myself that positive affirmation. And yes to slowing down! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes
I don’t do the full blown meditation thing either, but just learning breathing techniques has been so helpful with stress and calming anxiety. Glad to hear it has helped you as well! 🙂
I love this. I could always use more help in being present.
Thanks Annie. I think we all can stand to be reminded to live in the moment more.
Evaluate and breaking habits is big for me. Like checking social media too often! It is such a time suck and doesn’t accomplish anything.
I couldn’t agree more. There’s been evenings I’ve spent 20 minutes or more just aimlessly going through my FB or Instagram feed and then I’m like “Why did I waste all that time?” Definitely something I’m personally trying to improve.
This is one of my biggest goals for the year. Thanks for the tips!
You’re so welcome. That’s a great goal to have!
What a lovely post!! I totally agree with you!! You should talk less and listen more 🙂 These 8 ways are absolutely awesome to enjoy our life…. Thanks for sharing with us
All of these are such great ways to really enjoy the little things that are happening in the here and now that will be big things later on down the road. I love the talk less, listen more. I always loved that saying about having 2 ears and one mouth. Thank you for sharing this to start the week.
I love that saying too, Ashley! It’s so true that we need to listen more and talk less. 🙂
Spot on, most excellent advice, we go go go and do not stop and enjoy life enough!! The disconnect with devices is so very vital!! The listening, the looking in to the others person’s eyes…our world needs that, not to be hidden behind a screen. Love this post today so much!!
Thanks Andrea! I couldn’t agree more. Hope you’re having a good weekend!