As humans, it’s almost inevitable that we get caught up in the past or future, and forget about the present.
We think about things we’ve done, obsess over what we should have done differently and what difference it would have made. On the total opposite spectrum, we’re constantly planning, preparing, and thinking about our future. What can we do to make things better moving forward, how can we best prepare ourselves? It’s a constant struggle pushing you back and forth between the past and the future.
Reflection and preparation are great, but we tend to obsess so deeply that we lose sight of the one thing we can actually control: the present.
This moment, right now, is something we often overlook. But living in the present allows you to live with greater clarity, a sense of calm, and positivity. From being more engaged with the people you’re talking with, to feeling less fear or anxiety, living in the present shapes a much healthier version of you.
One of the most common routines for feeling more present is meditation. While it is relaxing and totally ideal for centering oneself, it’s not right for everyone. It takes time, commitment, and practice to meditate, and many find it an overwhelming first step when trying to live a more present life.
But feeling present and living in “the now” doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. In fact, there are a number of simple things you can do every day to feel more present, and they don’t take an extreme amount of effort.
1. Celebrate the little things
If you follow me on Instagram, you know how happy my plants make me. I take a moment every morning to stand in front of my windowsill and bask in the love I have for my little baby plants. It’s not a huge celebration, but it’s a moment in the now that makes me feel grounded. It doesn’t have to be something momentous – it could be a moment of love for a perfect cup of coffee… it could be a moment in nature while you walk your dog… it could be cuddling in bed in your favorite cozy pajamas. Whatever it is, take a second to appreciate that perfect moment that’s happening right now.
2. Step away from the digital space
It’s amazing how stepping away from your devices for just a few minutes can ground you and make you feel more present. Cell-phones may make you feel connected to the world around you, but in reality, it’s taking you away from the moment you’re actually in. Next time you’re with friends, or going for a walk, or attending a concert, try leaving your phone at home. Disconnect, unplug and truly let yourself experience what’s happening right in front of you.
3. Write things down
Writing things down is one of the most helpful tools for bringing yourself into the present, however, it seems like no one does it anymore. It’s easier to type things into your phone and save them there. But taking the time to write things down creates a more present experience. Next time you see a recipe you love, don’t pin it, write it down. The act of taking the moment to stop and write helps you connect with the moment. So from to-do list’s, recipes, goals, or journaling, writing with a pen and paper is definitely grounding.
4. Enjoy moments of silence
Silence is something we don’t experience often. Think about it… When was the last time you experienced complete silence? Even just quiet? It’s a hard thing to find. When moments of silence do come around, don’t rush to fill it. Yes, music is great, and podcasts are entertaining. But finding peace in silence grounds us, allows us to reflect, and helps us get in touch with our emotions. So next time you come across silence, enjoy it. Use it as a moment for reflection and ease.
5. Listen to your body
Your body is your home. It will tell you what it needs, what it wants, what it’s missing. But we often forget to listen to our body. We push ourselves at the gym because that’s what we think we need. We eat things we don’t like because we know it’s what’s good for us. I’m not saying listen to every craving or be lazy… but do take the time to assess what your body needs. Craving some candy? Treat yourself every now and then. Tired from yesterday’s workout? Give yourself a break. Take the time in the now, and listen to your body.
6. Talk to people (face to face)
Connecting with people these days has changed. It’s so easy to send someone a picture, or a video, or a text. Sometimes we go weeks without actually seeing our friends or family. Connecting with friends and talking to them will help you feel more present. Sometimes texting is great, but there’s nothing better than sitting down and talking to friends without any distractions. And don’t forget…one of the most important aspects of talking with friends is also listening. Connect with your friends, make eye contact, and genuinely listen to what they’re saying.
7. Create gratitude lists
It’s easy to get caught up in all the things you want and forget what you have. It’s even easier to allow yourself to disconnect completely, allowing yourself to overlook all the things you’re grateful for. But gratitude is a powerful thing – it makes you feel more present, reflecting on the things that make your life great. It doesn’t have to be a daily ritual, but take the time to think and reflect on the things you’re grateful for. Maybe it’s your loving partner, maybe it’s your loving dog. Maybe it’s the fact that you’re lucky enough to get up in the morning and experience the day. Regardless, reflect on those things.