5 Tips to Help You Live in the Present Moment

It seems as if more and more people are talking about the importance of staying “present” these days. For the longest time, I really didn’t have any idea what that meant.

Of course I’m present! I’m right here, aren’t I?

Before I started reading more into the topic, what I didn’t understand was that being physically present and awake doesn’t cut it. Presence is about freeing yourself from past and future thoughts that plague your mind and pull you into a different timeline, making it nearly impossible to stay grounded in whatever is happening in the current moment.

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there! In our modern society obsessed with Facebook notifications and smartphone gaming apps and always having earbuds with music blasting inside our ears, distractions are also keeping us from being present with the people, objects, situations and surroundings that deserve our full attention.

It’s time to take control of our minds. Here are a few little less known tips that will help you increase your awareness and put you back in the moment that matters most—right now.

1. Avoid getting too stuck in your routine by seeking out new experiences.

One of the easiest ways to be more present is to do more things you’ve never done before. When we get way too comfortable with our old routines, even when they’re ridiculously productive, our time perception slows right down, and we fall into habits that don’t require much consciousness anymore.

When you experience something new, your brain makes new connections and builds brand new pathways. Everything from traveling to a new destination to meeting interesting people for the first time counts as new. It’s pretty hard to put yourself on autopilot mode when you have to respond to something you’ve never really been faced with before.

2. Get your gut bacteria in check.

Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Well, research has shown that the billions of microbes living in our guts may not only impact our physical health, but our mental health too.

Supplements for probiotics may actually change the way that people process information and respond emotionally, hinting at the fact that a healthy gut means less anxiety. While scientists are still searching for answers about whether or not both prebiotics and probiotics could be used to treat anxiety and depression, it’s worth treating your gut with care—if not for the potential side benefit of unleashing your mind from so many worries about the future, then for being physically healthy at the very least.

3. Immerse yourself in nature often.

Not only has there been scientific evidence to suggest that living in close proximity to green space is linked to lower levels of depression and better mental health, but any natural setting like a park, a wooded area, an open field, or even your own backyard has the power to reduce the mindless chatter that goes on in your head and evoke a higher state of consciousness.

Having said that, it’s just as easy to remain plagued by your mind’s monkey chatter if you don’t consciously take charge of it. It’s very possible to be completely absorbed by your own mind that you end up ignoring every tree, every bird and every other miracle of nature that’s right in front of you. Get out where it’s it easier to let go of your thoughts, but don’t forget that it’s still up to you to decide to be present.

4. Get your blood pumping.

Exercise is meditative. It requires you to focus your mind on how you’re challenging your muscles and your cardiovascular system—whether that be through light yoga, intense heavy weight lifting or aerobic cardio classes.

When you start to notice your mind wander during exercise, then you know it’s time to switch up your routine. Letting your mind get sucked in by thought prevents you from performing at your best. The most effective exercises are the ones that require your full attention, which is easy to do when the challenge is difficult enough for you.

5. Let go of your obsession with obtaining more material things.

According to psychologist Matt Killingsworth, genuine happiness and a mind that can be free from wandering only comes from moment-to-moment experiences—not material items. Physical items that have no intrinsic value (except the promise of happiness they claim to bring you) don’t have the same impact on wellbeing as experiences do. Experiences create anticipation, help us build stories and give us memories.

Things don’t really expand your awareness as much as experiences are capable of doing. So surround yourself with people, places and adventurous experiences to help you live more for the moment rather than for that short-lived, instantly gratifying feeling you get from obtaining a material item.

If you liked these tips, you might like more of what I have to offer (backed by facts and science of course!) Sign up now to get my 28 daily must-do rules for getting stuff done and becoming a better person.

Related
The Science of Happiness
5 Ways to Teach Kids How to Meditate
How to Deal With the End-of-Summer Blues

Photo Credit: Arthur Sollano

98 comments

Lisa M
Lisa M9 days ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M9 days ago

Thanks.

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Mike R
Mike R11 months ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R11 months ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R11 months ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R11 months ago

Thanks

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Sonia M

Thanks for sharing

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Jessica K
Jessica Kabout a year ago

Very basic but insightful suggestions. Thanks.

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Ingrid H
Past Member 1 years ago

Thanks

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One Heart i
One Heart inc1 years ago

Thanks!!!

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