How To Enjoy The Present Moment
Last week, we sent out our article "Why This Is Our Best Age Ever" to our Carolily family members via our newsletter. One of our beautiful clients took the time to respond back to us and mentioned that "even at 76, I need to be reminded to live more in the moment". It was then that we realized that while we often talk about why it's important to live in the moment, we haven't talked about how to actually going about doing so!
Which brings us to this article...how to enjoy the present moment. It can sound like a rather abstract idea some days, but there are many actionable steps we can take to help us live in the here and now.
Five Ways To Enjoy The Present Moment
Focus on your breathWhen we aren't present, one of the first things to change is often our breath. Our breathing becomes shallow or, sometimes, we even hold our breath when we are concentrating or feeling anxious about something.
One of the easiest ways to ground ourselves in the present moment is to focus entirely on our breath. There are various breathing exercises we can do (if you practice yoga, you'll be familiar with many of them), but our favorite is the 3-6-9 method. We take a deep belly breath for 3 seconds, hold it for 6 and slowly exhale for the count of 9. When breathing in, it's important to let our tummies expand so our breath fills our diaphragm. You should feel your ribs expanding, but your shoulders should not be lifting up to your ears. If they are, focus on breathing into your belly and not your chest. Enjoy 10 deep breaths, focusing on the in and out motion of the air.
Get outside into natureWe are firm believers that Mother Nature heals all! When we are struggling to stay present, we often take to the outdoors.
Getting outside looks different for us all and can be a walk down the road, digging our hands into the dirt of our garden, hiking up a nearby mountain, getting out onto the water for a kayak, pedaling down the road on our bike or sitting on a quiet bench listening to the birds. It's hard to think about anything else when you are enjoying all nature has to offer.
Practice gratitudeWe're willing to bet that it is impossible to not be present when practicing gratitude! We have so much to be grateful for and it's easy to overlook many of little things when life gets busy.
One way we like to practice gratitude is by setting aside time each day to write down or think about three things we are really grateful for. They can be little or big things, it doesn't matter. Then we focus all of our energy on really feeling that gratitude. You may notice a smile trying to escape while you are concentrating; let it!
Not sure where to start? We'll help!
Today I am grateful for my warm cup of tea and clean water. I am grateful for my eyes, that allow me to read these words. And I am grateful for those in my life who make me feel loved.
Come home to your bodyWe all have bad body image days at some point in our life, but when it really comes down to it, our bodies are our homes. And when we are having a hard time remaining present, coming home to ourselves can be wonderfully helpful.
What does that mean? How do we "come home" to our bodies? There is no wrong or right way to go about it! One of the ways we like to practice is through yoga and meditation.
We are certainly not yoga masters over here and love that it is a practice that is accessible to everyone. Yoga can be adjusted to suit any activity level. While local yoga studies have been closed here in town, we have taken to the online world to find new ways of accessing yoga classes. Yoga with Adrienne is an online channel we found on YouTube that is entirely free! She has all sorts of different classes and provides regressions for any of the trickier moves. You can find her channel here. We have no relationship or affiliation with Adrienne, we just think she's fabulous!
Meditation is another wonderful way of coming home to your body. Meditation can look like breath work, as mentioned in point #1, it can be chanting, it can be guided meditation (we like the Calm app that we use on our phones), it can be a walk through a park or really anything that keeps you grounded and present!
Accept what isIt can be rather tricky to remain present when we are always worrying about what might happen tomorrow, what we said last week or where we might be next year. It takes us out of the moment we are experiencing and we get stuck in our heads. And no one wants to hang out there all the time!
One of the greatest tools we have come to utilize is acceptance. Acceptance for things exactly as they are. It rained on the day we wanted to go outside? It is what is is. We burned the muffins we were looking forward to? It is what it is. We all know that life doesn't always go the way we plan and the sooner we stop fighting that, the sooner we can enjoy the present moment. The sooner we can go dance in the rain. The sooner we can enjoy a spontaneous trip to the local bakery. The sooner we can enjoy life exactly as it is.
What Do We Have To Lose?
If we choose not to consciously live in the moment, what do we have to lose? Well, everything! As we've written about before, like in "How To Act Your Age For Women Over 50", we only have the gift of experiencing this age, this moment in time once and then it's gone.
While we don't own a time machine, we can slow down the days by living them to their fullest. That starts with savoring each and every moment we are given. After reading these last couples sentences, we encourage you to sit in stillness and think about what you just read, how you can be more present and remember, it can be as easy as taking....one....big....breath!