How many of you out there are living your life at a break-neck speed. Work, family life, church, and social obligations can take up all your time, leaving you feeling worn out and exhausted each and every day. And, worries about health conditions (such as incontinence), kids, or financial strains can take up every extra ounce of energy we have.
These days, this seems to be a way of life for many of us. “Busy” is the most common response to the question “How are you?”. And we wear our “busy-ness” like a badge of honor, as if that is what should define us.
But filling our lives with all of this extra stuff and worry can really take it’s toll – on both our physical, and emotional health.
Many times it takes an extreme event to snap us out of this fog and help us realize that there is more to life – a tragic loss or the death of a loved one, for example.
But you shouldn’t wait until something extreme happens to start living life in the moment.
So, what exactly does it mean to “live in the moment”?
Living in the moment is not fretting about the past or worrying about what might happen in the future. That only robs us of the present. It’s focusing on what’s happening right now, which is really the only thing that we can control anyway. It’s cutting out the things that are unimportant in life and focusing on the things that truly matter and bring us joy.
Studies show that people who focus on seeking pleasure in the moment are happier than those who are focused on the past. And those that take the time to notice more of the small things and enjoy the simple pleasures of life are happier and often more productive.
Want to start living in the moment, but not sure how? Here are 5 simple steps.
Try to notice little things that are happening around you and really experience the moment. This doesn’t mean you have to take stock of each and everything that’s happening around you. But try to pay more attention to your daily routines and you may find that it’s actually a lot more interesting than you thought. Notice the sunrise as you’re driving to work. Feel the cool wind on your face as you’re taking an evening walk. Drink in the smell of your child as you tuck him in at night. This may feel strange at first, but you’ll get the hang of it with time, and soon you’ll start seeing the beauty that is all around you.
Think about how you spend your time.
Many people think that they are far too busy, but how much time are you spending on things that don’t matter, or zap your energy? Weed out the unimportant tasks or outsource things you don’t want to do anymore (if you can) so you can start focusing on the things and people that matter to you.
Stay off of your electronic devices.
Electronics have transformed our world, and in many ways can be a tremendous time saver. But if you’re like most of the population, they have also become a huge time-suck. A simple look at your phone to check your email can easily become 20 minutes scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feed.
Make the decision to limit your screen time. Many smart phones have the ability for you to set time limits for certain apps, or at the very least provide you with information on how much time per day you’re actually spending in them. There are also apps that can track your time spent on your phone, or even make it less appealing to log on in the first place by incorporating challenges or switching your phone from color to grey scale.
Interact with people and truly notice them.
How many times have you had this conversation: “How are you?”, “Fine. And you?”, “Fine”. Probably multiple times a day if you’re like most of us. But what if you actually really inquired into the wellbeing of the people you interact with every day.
Try asking your co-worker about their weekend plans. Chat up your barista about their favorite drink to prepare. Take the time to really listen to your spouse as she tells you about her day.
By having more engaging interactions with the people around us, our lives suddenly become more focused on what’s happening right now, and less on our thoughts and fears about the past or future.
Be Grateful/Start a journal
Gratitude and living in the moment don’t quite mean the same thing, but they go hand in hand. Seeking out the things in your life that you are grateful for each day can help you feel more present, and allows you to notice the good happening around you.
An easy way to practice gratitude is to start a journal. Pick three things each day that you are thankful for and jot them down each night before bed. They don’t have to be big (in fact, the smaller and more specific the better), and you don’t need to write a novel. Just the fact of noticing and writing down three things each day can help put a new spin on your life and creates a habit that will have you seeking out the important and joyous things around you every day.
When you have a condition like incontinence, it’s easy to feel stressed about the future, fearful of having an accident, or angry at your overall situation. But by noticing the things around you, finding the things you’re grateful for, and truly living in the moment, you’ll find that your incontinence is just a part of you, and doesn’t have to define who you are.
What tips do you have for living in the moment? Share them with us in the comments below!