How to Live More Fully in the Moment

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If you’re stuck living in the past or the future, you’ll wear yourself down. Learn to find peace and satisfaction in the present moment with these five tips.

Learning how to live in the moment is more popular than ever, with good reason. Today’s fast-paced society rarely leaves us time to think, and any downtime is often spent distracted by electronics.

Mental health disorders are being diagnosed on extreme levels, too. The connection between the constant stimuli and lack of time to think plays a big part in anxiety and depression.

When you’re always living in the future or the past, you’re not in control of your life. You are either rehashing things you can’t change or attempting to determine every possible outcome of events that haven’t happened yet. Neither of these is peaceful or beneficial.

To find peace and satisfaction with life, you have to learn how to grow and live in the moment you’re in. These five methods can guide you as you begin the journey of mindfulness, or living in the present moments.

1. Try to Strike a Balance

First of all, it’s important to understand the reality of how the mind works. You aren’t going to cut off future worries and thoughts of the past cold turkey. It’s not an addiction you can stay away from when your mind is the occasional enemy.

But thinking of your thoughts as though they were different cultures opens you up to be more patient with yourself. Each set of thoughts, even the negative ones, have their reasons for the way they are. You can take the knowledge from them and leave the stress when you aim for a healthy balance.

It’s okay to think about the past but don’t dwell in it. Use it to learn lessons, then move on.

It’s even necessary to think about the future, in as far as you are able to plan for things you can control. Make it a goal to stay in the moment at least half the time.

2. Switch to Solution-Based Thinking

Do you frequently find yourself asking the “What if?” questions? You know the ones — they start as a small snowball and quickly escalate into a full-steam-ahead boulder rolling downhill?

Eventually, those thoughts catch up with you and plow you right over until you can’t see straight. This is the result of problem-based thinking, and it causes a lot of anxiety. But it really doesn’t do any good.

In effect, by worrying about what could happen, you put yourself through the stress unnecessarily. Rarely ever do our worst-case scenarios actually play out, but many of us still use problem-based thinking as our go-to patterns.

On the other hand, solution-based thinking acknowledges that there is a problem, but it doesn’t dwell on the potential future results. Instead, this type of mental processing takes the issue at hand and attempts to find the cause and fix it.

Switch your thinking patterns when you catch yourself catastrophizing your next challenge. Rather than worrying about the problem, figure out what is causing it so you can focus on a solution.

3. Give Yourself Space

Rushing from one task to the next is a surefire way to burn yourself out. Sure, you’re not worried about the past or future because you’re too busy to think! But this isn’t healthy, either.

Research shows that you think better and get more done when you take time to regroup. You don’t need long; just a few minutes between tasks is usually enough. That time to yourself might give you the lightbulb moment that fixes a problem or refreshes you to tackle your next assignment easier.

Allow yourself a few minutes to breathe and appreciate the sensations of the moment you are in. You might find that while you’re trying to not think, you’re thinking anyway. That’s perfectly fine. Your brain will eventually settle down as it gets used to having the downtime.

In the meantime, it might seem like you’re chasing butterflies and trying to catch them. If it helps to reduce the stress, try a mindfulness app, yoga, or meditation.

These strategies are designed to lower your thinking and let your mind relax. But consistency is the key to being in the moment, so even if you don’t think it’s working — keep showing up!

4. Release Your Thinking

You might think you have all your ducks in a row and your to-do list under control. If it’s all in your head, though, your mind is always scrambling to keep up.

Relying on your memory to juggle everything you need to do adds extra stress to an often already overloaded mind. What typically happens is everything begins to blur together until it seems overwhelming.

By releasing your thinking in a brain dump or organized list, your mind gets to breathe a sigh of relief. It no longer has to keep all those thoughts at the forefront. And as you’re writing your thoughts down, you gain control over them.

There’s no wrong way to release your thoughts. Grab a napkin nearby if that’s what you have, or use a daily journal to do focused writing.

Brain dumps are fun ways to spill ideas you didn’t even realize you had. You can randomly write anything that comes to your mind and then evaluate and organize it all after. It doesn’t get too much more in-the-moment than that!

5. Step Outside

There’s nothing quite like nature to take away the pressure of the day. Turn your phone off, grab a bottle of water, and put on your comfy sneakers. Once you get into the peace of the outdoors, you’re going to want to stay there a while!

Fresh air on a beautiful day has a multitude of benefits. Your mind is getting more oxygen, which lets it think more clearly. Leaving technology and stresses behind keeps you in the moment instead of dealing with problems.

The sunlight, even on a cloudy day, is an excellent source of Vitamin D which is necessary for your brain to function at healthy levels. Ten minutes in the sunlight { with proper sunblock protection) is a mood-booster! You can almost feel your stresses peeling away the longer you’re outside.

How you can get this necessary break depends on your climate, of course. If weather permits, take a walk around the neighborhood, go for a bike ride, or find a hiking trail. Otherwise, sit on your porch for a bit without distractions. Any chance to be in the moment is a good thing!

Conclusion

 With all the benefits that being in the moment offers to us, it’s still like pulling teeth to get started. Life is yanking your arms in every direction, screaming that what it needs from you is urgent.

But the most important thing is you. When you live and grow in the moment, you have more energy and capacity to take on the urgency of the day.

Use these tips to take a few minutes to practice being present. The mindfulness you gain will propel you through any obstacle you meet along the way!

Author Bio:

Dominique Daniels has five years of Property Management experience working primarily in high-end apartment community living. Her ability to consistently deliver white-glove service to her residents and prospects has propelled her in a successful career that now finds her leading the team at Vida at Daybreak.

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