On Living in the Moment

Living in the moment may be the single greatest challenge each of us face in our lives. At the same time, the best memories of our lives are those that occur when we truly are engaged in that moment in time, situation, or conversation. With the countless pressing concerns of daily life and ready availability of stimulation, it is difficult to truly be present and focused on what is happening in the moment. If we are not careful, life can pass us by without us really ever taking the time to be aware of the here and now. Often it is while on vacation that we are most likely to reach that almost Zen-like state of what I will call “presentness”. But how do we hold onto that fleeting feeling of carpe diem or seize the day?

1. Find and pursue your passion. Whether it is travel, marathon running, or sewing, everyone has an activity that makes them feel more alive and connected to the present. When you discover it, make the time for it.

2. Embrace change, do not resist it. It can be tempting when your circumstances change in a way that differs from your expectations to give in to feelings of frustration and grief, but allowing yourself to see each change as an opportunity will help you become aware of the doors all change opens.

3. Recognize the humanity in others. Engaging with other people as human beings with an open mind and heart, an idea akin to Martin Heidegger’s concept of Being-in-the-world, allows you to truly be in the moment. If you look for what makes other people human and unique, you will connect with not just other people but the present.

4. Take time for yourself. If you do not take care of yourself, it is challenging to relax enough to be present in the here and now. Find what revitalizes you and incorporate it into your routine.

5. Express your appreciation. Tell the people you love and care about that you do, and tell people who help you in some way that you are grateful. Putting your gratitude into words helps keep you mindful of the moment.

6. Pay attention to your emotions. Being unaware of your feelings makes it difficult to engage in the present moment fully, as your emotions alter your perception of the present. Recognizing what your emotional state is helps you to remain in the moment.

7. Take joy in the little things. It is easy to discount the pleasure that simple things, like a good cup of coffee or a sunny day, can bring. However, if you pay attention to seemingly small or everyday occurrences, you not only will be more mindful of the present but also be happier overall.

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