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3 reasons to live in the moment

Being more present can make your life better’and even save you time. Here’s how

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flowers happy nature outside summer

Live in the moment

Most of us live in our heads. We worry and plan for the future, or analyze the events of the past, whether it’s how we look or what others have said and done. It’s an endless internal dialogue that takes our attention and focus away from the experience of our life. It impacts the way we relate to others and our creativity and productivity, as well as our health, weight and eating habits.

While getting present isn’t easy, it is worth the effort. When we are fully in the present moment, we are essentially in our bodies as opposed to our heads. We are able to feel, respond to and experience our lives more fully, and that can have a profound impact on all aspects of our lives.

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couple talking

Improve your relationships

Everyone wants to feel heard and appreciated. Yet so often we don’t fully pay attention during a conversation. Smart phones and email alerts aside, we are distracted with thoughts about our day, what has been done and what we still need to do, or we’re already thinking about what we want to say in reply to what the other person is saying.

The next time you speak with someone, notice the internal dialogue in your head and then make a conscious effort to ignore it and really listen to the person you’re talking to. When people feel your presence and engagement, it changes the way they respond to you. When you pay attention to what people are saying versus your own thoughts, it will change the nature of your conversations, eliminate misunderstandings and deepen your sense of connection.

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journal

Be more creative and productive

Creativity is not just limited to artistic endeavors like painting, writing and performing. Every time we access our ideas and skills, whether it be in the creative arts, giving a presentation or writing a proposal at work, we are accessing the part of our brain that is creative, intuitive and emotional. This is where passion, inspiration and ideas originate.

Have you ever noticed how productive you feel when you turn off distractions and fully engage in the task at hand? Getting thoughts and ideas on paper seems almost effortless, once you feel like you’re in flow. It’s very different from the feeling of frustration that is often experienced when trying to multitask, whether at home or at work. Allow yourself to be fully present and engaged in whatever you are doing, and you’ll access more of your innate abilities and feel much more productive.

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eating breakfast

Make better food choices

Learning to be more present when you are eating can change your life. Being present can impact what you choose to eat, how much you eat and how you cope with your emotions. When you are mindful and tuned in to your body, you are more likely to make better food choices and less likely to overeat or give in to emotional eating.

When we eat to avoid emotions, get distracted or multitask while we eat, we are less likely to be aware of what and how much we consume. This can lead to poor choices and also to eating much more than we need to satisfy our hunger.  In this state, it’s not unusual to consume our entire meal and barely remember eating it.

The next time you eat, notice what’s happening. How are you feeling? What are you doing? By noticing how and when you eat, you can begin to turn your attention to the present moment. Pay attention to how your food tastes and how your body feels. This allows you to fully enjoy your food, which can prevent the desire to eat too much or go back for seconds. It also allows you to tune in to your body’s sensations of hunger and fullness, so that you can stop before you get to the point where you realize you’ve eaten too much.

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happy woman

How to live in the moment

So how do you become more present? The answer is: Practice. Practice. Practice. It’s important to know that change won’t happen overnight and it requires conscious effort. The very act of mindfulness is active rather than passive.

Your senses are really the key: touch, taste, sight, smell and sound. Whatever you are doing, allow yourself in that moment to truly experience, with your senses, what is going on around you. If you are eating, taste your food and notice how your body feels. When you are with other people, really listen to what they are saying and turn off the running dialogue in your head. And as you go through your day, notice your surroundings.

Embrace the present moment. It will bring you fully into your life, creating richer, more fulfilling experiences in all areas.

Related:
5 steps to a happier future
Mediation made easy: How to get started
5 ways you may be sabotaging yourself