Episode 59: How To Live More In The Moment.

Life is happening in this moment, not in the future or in the past but right here and right now. When we are more present in the moment life feels so much richer and meaningful. Inside this episode are my top 4 tips to help you to live life more fully in the here and now.

I speak to a lot of people who find themselves worrying about the future or going over the past. This takes up a lot of time and energy - I know this because it was me a few years ago. Now I’m not going to say I never worry but I have become much more aware of my thoughts and and I can take a step back and not get so caught up in the worrying, over-analysing or limiting beliefs.

For example, we might be thinking about that comment you made at work, how you will manage to fit in some jobs before the school pick up, what you need from the shop and what you will make for dinner, how you will afford that bill or what someone will think of you if you say no to that invite or request. Maybe you’re worrying about elderly family members or the health of your family. Perhaps things in your life are changing and you’re not sure what that means for you.

Whilst there are things in life that need to be addressed and managed, we can also find ourselves thinking the same things over and over each day. Stuck in the same cycles and patterns. And whilst we are judging ourselves for the past or worrying about the future we are not living in this moment, we aren’t focusing on experiencing life right now, we are somewhere else up in our minds. At the end of the day this moment is the only time life truly exists and we can try and enjoy it!

When we are more present in the moment life feels so much richer and meaningful. We can be enjoying what we are doing, notice the smile from a stranger, really see and hear the person that is talking to you and form a deeper connection. Rather than multi-tasking with what you are doing plus all the thoughts, we can feel less overwhelmed and like we have more time. Or imagine 1 or 5 minutes spent doing something you love with your utmost attention, with present moment awareness, can feel really nourishing, helping us to create moments of joy throughout what might be a challenging day.

So here are my 4 tips to find yourself more in the moment..

1. Be The Observer-

Be the observer of your thoughts and create some space between you and your thoughts. How often does that worry or worst case scenario you are imagining become true? How often do we say “oh that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be”. This gives us the evidence that our thoughts are not facts. They are influenced by the thought patterns and beliefs that we have created over time. Sometimes we can look for evidence that our thoughts are true, for example you think nobody is going to like you at a meeting, so you sit quietly in the corner and perhaps therefore nobody interacts with you much and you think nobody likes you - however this isn’t likely the case! What if we believed people were going to like us, that we were worthy and our points in the meeting were valid - this scenario would likely play out differently. If you need to refocus, perhaps consider what could go well?

Often the mind wants to keep us safe so by planning ahead for what could go wrong we may feel more secure and in control in the short term, however it’s only often perpetrating a cycle of fear which saps a sense of safety, along with our energy and joy. When we can create space between us and our thoughts we can focus our energy elsewhere. This begins with awareness, noticing when the mind is wandering, observing your thoughts from a distance and choosing to pay them less attention. I often used to find my mind spinning down a rabbit hole of doom, and it’s blimin’ stressful and exhausting! Now I can notice and pause and focus my mind elsewhere, more consciously and if in doubt I always bring my focus back to my breathing because the breath is always with me.

Over time I have developed this skill to easily connect to my breath from practicing breathing meditations, whereby we notice when the mind has wandered off and we bring it back to the breath. I often guide this in a yoga class or to bring the focus to the hands or the feet for example, so that we are coming down out of the mind and into the body, here in this experience here on the mat, in the present moment.

Do you notice when your mind has wandered off and is running the show? Do you think thoughts are facts?

2. Utilise The Senses-

Like I’ve said, when we focus on something that is happening right here right now, we are in the moment where life is actually happening. Life isn’t happening in the past or the future, it’s happening right here, right now. Sometimes experiences can pass us by, we can forget to appreciate their beauty because we are so up in our heads. Ever been for a walk and not really paid attention to anything around you? I know I certainly have many times!

One things that I love to do is to focus on my senses. I’m grateful to have the 5 main senses; sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. If I’m out on a walk and my mind is whirring I ask myself, what’s 5 things I can see, 4 things I can hear, 3 things I can touch, 2 things I can smell and 1 things I can taste. This really makes me pay attention to what is around me at that moment in time. It connects me more deeply to the moment and I appreciate it much more. It completely takes me away from the whirring thoughts which I find very calming. I also love using the senses when there has been a longer relaxation at the end of a yoga class or a yoga nidra, to gradually bring people back into the present moment in the room.