Being present is easier said than done. I've been living mindfully for years, but I'm not a zen master. Mindfulness is a lifelong practice.
Harvard study found that we spend 50% of our time not thinking about what we are doing. We think about our past or worrying about the future, sometimes we are consumed by what we need to do that day. However, our thoughts are not in the present moment.
Making small steps to be mindful and live in the present is a gift to yourself. Living and loving each moment is appreciating what life has to offer.
Here are a few ways I use that help me live mindfully and stay in the present moment.
We are becoming mindful of what we need. We can go on autopilot and not be aware of our needs. It's nice to check in with ourselves throughout the day and ask, "what do I need right now to feel good." I find this so helpful in preventing low moods, stress, and the negative feeling. Asking myself a few self-inquiry questions like, "How do I feel?" " Do I need to take a walk, turn off the computer, breath intensely, eat lunch, talk with a friend?" I try to listen to what my inner voice needs and honor that the best I can.
*Stay Present with Senses
We are using our senses to bring our awareness to what we are doing at the moment. Our minds often wonder when we do daily tasks like showering, brushing our teeth, walking, sitting. Practice staying connected to the present, be aware of how the water feels on your skin, the earth under your feet, the breeze on your face. Taking a few moments to notice the sensations your body is feeling is a simple way to be present.
Food is our fuel, our life source. I eat slowly and have gratitude for the nutrients. Tune into our bodies to identify when we are hungry or complete helps us adjust our food intake to our bodies' needs—being mindful by becoming aware and enjoying the process of mealtime, giving your attention to the details. Turn off technology and be present. Slow down. Notice how the food tastes and smells. Be aware of how the food makes us feel.
*Meditation Mindful breathing
Sitting quietly for a few minutes and focusing on the breath is a quick way to reconnect to the present moment. I do not control my breath, I allow it to flow naturally. Noticing the movement of breath. Become aware of the flow of breath, the lifting and falling of the chest with each breath. Gratitude for the life that breath gives.
Mindful listening has improved my relationships with friends and family. When I practice mindful listening, my attention is on activating listening to others and having compassion. I am not thinking about what I'm going to say or giving advice. I try not to interrupt or give my input. I give my undivided attention to the person I'm speaking with.
*Small moments of pause
Household chores, work, activities can feel overwhelming and never-ending. By taking small moments throughout the day to pause, we can become grounded at the moment. It doesn't need to belong. Just taking ten slow breaths can help me recenter. Taking time out of the day for tea or a walk around the neighborhood are wonderful little breaks in the day.
*Notice the silence
The world is never completely silent. When we genuinely listen for silence, we notice subtle sounds: birds, cars in the distance, our breath. Bringing our awareness to this subtle life around us can cultivate awareness.
As you begin your mindfulness journey. Remember to be kind to yourself. Mindfulness is a lifelong practice that is continually growing and changing.