“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have” – Eckhart Tolle
A busy lifestyle is what everyone is used to in modern society. We have all done it; mindlessly skipped from one task to another without a break. It’s like being a hamster in a cage on one of those wheels, except you never get off! Is it any wonder that stress related illnesses are on the rise in Western society?
Developing the ability to enjoy the present moment several times a day can break up the mindless business and therefore reduce your stress levels. When you are feeling more relaxed every day as a result, you will be happier, healthier and more productive.
The wonderful thing about cultivating an appreciation for the present moment is it requires very little effort. You can start your day doing it, you can progress through your day doing it and you can end your day doing it.
When I first decided to improve my life, this concept was lost on me. I had no idea what I was missing. I was frantically writing business plans, health plans, developing ideas, attending meetings and generally being all over the place.
Even though I was getting deeply involved with many strategies taught within the self improvement industry, I found myself feeling strangely unfilled.
It was only through deep self-reflection that I realized that I wasn’t ‘Stopping to smell the Roses’. It became clear to me that I had to start enjoying the present moment a lot more often.
There are 7 Easy ways to start Enjoying the present moment:
1. Appreciate your Waking Moments
Instead of just shutting off your alarm and sluggishly rolling out of bed, just lie still and appreciate the new day. As you lie there focus on your breathing and feel grateful as the oxygen fills your body in this new day of your life.
As you allow the feelings of gratitude to fill your spirit, really appreciate the comfort that your bed has given you and then acknowledge how grateful you are to be able to get out of bed and begin a new day.
2. Feel Everything
Whenever your senses are being stimulated, make the effort to notice everything. If you are walking in the park notice the depth of the smells, the concert of sounds and the abundant sights.
If you are trying some new food, be aware of every taste and texture. Even if you are just sitting in your office notice how your body feels on the chair and acknowledge your fingers as they hit the keyboard (I’ve just done it and it really works).
Originally, I thought that this idea was too simple and a little crazy. However, when I started to just stop at random points during the day, embrace the present moment and smile, my days started to improve. Research suggests that smiling changes the hormones produced by your body, actually easing stress.
Smile randomly, smile at other people, smile at every living creature you encounter and enjoy the results.
4. Do what you’re doing
We have all attempted to multi-task and I’m sure you’d admit that it isn’t the most efficient way to get things done. Focusing on what you are doing and making that the only thing you are doing not only increases the likelihood of you enjoying it, it also increases the quality with which the task will be completed.
When I set my first goals I realized that I wasn’t spending any time celebrating the ‘small wins’. My days were packed with things to do and I was just moving from one thing to another, even though I was having some successes.
I discovered that it is important to get present and celebrate when you have completed a task successfully. This can be anything from a 10 minute break to watch something funny or just to simply acknowledge yourself and give yourself a little “well done”.
6. Random Gratitude
When you are feeling grateful for something that you are currently experiencing, you are enjoying the present moment. One sure fire way to accomplish this is to simply become aware of your heartbeat and feel grateful for it beating away in the centre of your chest.
You can extend this practice into being grateful for everything from your breathing to your ability to type. It is impossible to feel grateful and stressed at the same time.
Turning your attention to your breathing stops thoughts from whizzing around your head at 100 miles an hour and takes you into the present moment. Breathe deeply and be aware of the air flowing in and out of your body, giving you the gift of oxygen as it does so.
Allowing yourself to embrace the present moment several times a day will be an amazing gift that you give yourself allowing a happier, healthier, less stressful life.
Photo Cred: PresentMomentRetreat.com