Can We Learn to Live in the Moment?
Guest post by Cathy Taughinbaugh of Treatment Talk.org
“Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is Life itself, it is an insane way to live.” ~
How many times have you gone through your day not really thinking about what you are doing?
Often our minds are thinking about something else and missing the simple moments of life.
Life’s challenges may push us to regret our past or worry about the future. When we do, we are not thinking about what is happening right now. We can forget to live in the present moment. Regret and worry can freeze us into a state that is really not living.
A wonderful way to find peace and serenity and let go of stress is to live in the moment. Being aware of your thoughts and actions in your daily life is called mindfulness.
We may forget to think about living in the moment. Most people do not live in the present moment all the time. It is something that needs tending to. We need to notice and practice.
The only moment we really have is right now.
Just sitting and breathing can be helpful and will bring your thoughts back to the present. Start with short amounts of time and let your thought drift by. Try to focus on your breathing. Begin a practice of sitting starting with short amounts of time, and notice your breath. It can help you discover your inner self.
Sitting isn’t always easy, but it can lead to more happiness and less stress.
If we look around we can learn how to live in the moment. Here are five examples that can encourage us to practice.
- Dogs. Have you ever watched a dog? I love watching my dog, Nellie. She chases the squirrels the moment she sees them, luckily never catching them. She goes immediately into protective mode when another animal or human comes too close to the house. She enjoys her long leisurely naps whenever possible without a care in the world. She wiggles in joy when I come home, no matter how long I have been gone. If you can be like a dog or any other animal, you will not worry about tomorrow, you will enjoy right now.
- Do Something You Love. Have you ever found yourself so focused on a hobby that you completely lose track of time? I love to make quilts, and I can lose myself in the project, one piece of fabric at a time. Before I know it, the afternoon is gone. Everyone has something that they love to do. Think about how that feels when you are so occupied that your entire attention is on the task at hand. It could be cooking, gardening, or fixing something around the house. It could be anything. Try to remember that feeling and repeat it.
- Remember Being a Child. My friend Robyn teaches kindergarten. She has at least 20 little faces waiting for her each day. Young children enjoy each moment as they play and explore the world. Five year olds engage in what is right in front of them. They spend their school time learning their letters, their numbers, and learning to play with each other. Young children show their excitement for interesting new activities, and they show their sadness and hurt when they fall down, or things don’t go their way. Think more often like a child.
- Be an Athlete. I love to watch professional tennis. The concentration and focus of the players as they hit the ball back and forth comes through clearly on their faces. They are thinking about nothing else but their match. Interacting in the world of sports can hold your full attention. Your sport can be running, tennis, baseball or just taking a walk. Not only does it benefit our health, it gives us a block of time to focus on the activity at hand. Try to spend some time being involved in a physical activity that requires your full attention.
- Live as if Your Were Dying. As hard as it sounds, if you think about living as if you were dying, the presence of your life becomes clear. Limited time left on this earth makes every moment precious. What is really important comes to the forefront. All of us can participate in the ordinary, living fully, savoring our time. Life becomes simple and you just may want to be present.
Cathy Taughinbaugh is a former teacher and mother of a crystal meth addict who has been in recovery for over 6 years. She writes on addiction, recovery and treatment at Treatment Talk.org. You can also follow her on Facebook at Treatment Talk and twitter @treatmenttalk.