How to be here and now? Life happens in the present moment, and it’s up to us to become aware of it. If you’re looking for ways to bring more mindfulness to your daily living, these 7 practical tips will give you a head start.
What is life if not a series of present moments? You’ve probably heard it many times, “Be here and now. Be mindful.” Well, that sounds good. How do we do that? Am I not doing it already?
Our minds tend to wander, most often in two directions – in the past or in the future. With that, we miss out on what’s happening in the current moment instead of actually seizing it and savoring it.
There are many benefits associated with living in the present moment such as less stress, improved memory, mental clarity, and greater satisfaction. Here are 7 practical ways you can bring more presence into your life:
1) Focus on your breath
A fundamental tool available to all of us is our breath. If you catch yourself being absent, simply take a few conscious breaths: breathe in and breathe out. This will quickly return you to the here and now state. It’s that easy.
The mere act of pausing and taking a break is worthwhile too. What’s important about breathing is that it serves as a bridge between our mind and body, alongside its vital physiological functions, of course.
2) Set a smile alarm
Alarms are easily a source of tension and disturbance, but what if you could turn them to your advantage? Set an alarm and name it as your smile alarm or smile bell; the word bell is more jolly. All you have to do when the smile bell rings is to… Smile!
The trick is to set the alarm for a time of the day when you’re usually serious and troubled with your thoughts. This will interrupt the pattern and get you back in a positive mood. Hopefully, after a while, you won’t need an alarm to keep your smile on as well.
3) Mindful eating
This is the most delicious tip of all, and what it means is to be fully present while you’re eating. Sharpen your senses, notice the details about the food, feel the touch of it, the smell, the taste… Well, it’s not necessary to pay attention to the chewing sounds, but it makes the point.
Make eating a sensual experience and bring awareness to it as opposed to watching TV or playing with your phone. That could be the difference between mindful and mindless in this case.
4) Adopt minimalism
The more stuff you have around you, the more likely your mind will get cluttered and distracted. Objects could bring randomly jumping thoughts and memories from the past, sway you in different directions, and eventually, you forget about the present moment.
Similarly, multitasking is rarely a good idea if you want to be here and now. Create the habit of letting go of the unessential things or tasks; simplicity is the key.
5) Do a body scan
Another way to practice mindfulness is to bring your attention to different parts of your body. Scan your body from head to toe, then from toe to head. This will increase your awareness and allow you to experience what’s here and now.
Together with the conscious breath, the body scan is often incorporated in meditation practices, which are also synonymous with being present. Those are commonly done while sitting or lying down in solitude, so if you’re interacting with others, here is something for you.
6) Eye contact
Naturally, when someone looks you in the eyes, you receive a signal that this person is with you here and now. Eye contact is huge in face-to-face communication, both as far as speaking and active listening. It is said that the eyes are the window to the soul, and it’s hard not to be present when the window is open.
If you want to take it even further, you may practice eye gazing for a few minutes with your life partner or someone truly close to you. This establishes a deep connection between the two while you both are in the moment.
7) Mindful walking
Are you rushing to go from one place to the other? Slow down and take your time. Be mindful of your surrounding, of the steps you take, of the air touching your skin. In our daily lives, we’re usually running on autopilot; we know our way well enough.
What we need to do instead to be more present is to be in a tourist mode: be alert, fully attentive, curious, and willing to explore what’s around the corner. If you’re stuck at home, well, taking a mindful shower could help too, just feel the water on your skin.
We must learn to experience and cherish the present moment; that is all there is. Let go of the regrets of the past or any anxiety about the future. Your mind is not meant to hinder you but to serve you.
So be creative, be wise, be appreciative. The answer to having more freedom, peace, and happiness in your life is being here and now.
Thank you for reading.
Now, it’s your move.