The subtle art of being in the moment – 4 ways to stay mindful and present

Stay in the moment

Stay in the moment

“I never think of the future.  It comes soon enough.” – Albert Einstein

The anxiety that ensues when trying to get over your ex can be unbearable. Thoughts run through your mind about what you could have done differently to avoid coming to this point. 

You look back at all of the memories you and your ex girlfriend or wife shared together. You ponder the future and how you will find another companion meant for you. 

Being torn from the present into the past and future places a great deal of stress on the mind and soul. You have no control of what has been or may be.

When your brain starts cycling through all of these hypothetical scenarios, it stalls out realizing that it can’t fully control those variables. What is within your grasp and power is the “now.” Right here, where you sit today, at this moment. 

Look around. Listen to the sounds surrounding you.  What colors do you notice?  What aromas are prevalent? How does your body feel? Take notice of your breath. Feel the ground beneath your toes. This is all that matters.

There are many ways to achieve this Zen-like connection with the present moment. and it’s up to you to determine what works best for you. 

Meditation - I personally practice Transcendental Meditation which does an amazing job centering my mind in an otherwise hectic world.  Any form of meditation is bound to increase your awareness of the present moment.

Even if you sit for a mere 5 minutes a day focusing on your breath or a mantra, you will feel the benefits after only a few days. Yoga is another great meditative practice to focus on breathing and feel every body part individually.

Focus on your Feet – Whenever you feel yourself getting pulled too far out of the present, look down for a minute.  Notice your feet.  Think of where you currently reside.  Wiggle your toes a bit and feel that sensation. 

It’s a way of literally and figuratively staying grounded.  When you walk down the street, focus on each step you take.  Feel the way that you connect with the ground.  The best way to do this is to find a nice plot of green grass and go barefoot for a while like when you were a little kid.

Surround yourself with present people – As humans, we’re a function of our surroundings. You evolve and grow with the people around you. If your immediate social and professional circles are full of worry warts and stressful people, odds are you will adopt that mentality.  

If you can’t find anyone that adopts this life approach.  Read up on things like the Zen Habits blog and Eckhart Tolle’s books including the Power of Now. These brilliant guys provide incredible instructions on how to stay centered in the moment.

Savor each bite – Develop a relationship with the food and nourishment going into your body. In our go go go society, we’re often encouraged to hammer down a serving of fast food while scanning social networks and watching TV and then quickly moving onto the next task. 

Next time you pull up to the dining room table, ditch the smart phone.  Take your time cutting into that steak.  Observe as the juice flow past the warm pink center.  Chew slowly, savoring each flavor as it passes over your taste buds. Connecting with what we are putting into our body is an amazing way to embrace the present moment. 

The benefits of staying in the moment are immeasurable. You attain a calm, centered sense of confidence.  It’s difficult to describe, but you walk down the street with very few worries. 

Everything slows down. You become more open to as the barriers of your mind come down and your flow increases dramatically.

You also develop a deep appreciation for your surroundings. The world starts to become much more interesting.  You pick up the little intricacies of life that you may have neglected before being too preoccupied with other matters.  Things that used to be routine and common become fascinating and full of life.

Your social skills will even improve as being present helps you let go of your self-consciousness.  You start to care less about what others think of you or if you might have said something wrong.  Developing a natural flow and rapport becomes much more organic with a less anxious state of mind.

You also become a better listener.  You’re less likely to think ahead to what you’re going to say and zone out of the rest of the conversation. You’ll be able to focus completely on what they are saying which will help deepen your relationships significantly.

A dedicated practice of mindfulness and living in the present moment can provide an amazing new perspective on life, because you actually live it!  If you miss the present and spend all your time consumed with the past and future, you’ll avoid the beauty of “now.” 

As Ferris Bueller so classically stated, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  Get out there today and enjoy each and every moment for exactly what it is.