Who else has ever said, “I will be happy when… x, y and z happen.”??? I am definitely guilty of this mind frame. When I was a teenager I knew I’d be happy in college, in college I wanted to graduate, then I wanted to get married, next was kids, now I am focused on finishing med school and getting my blog off the ground. Has my life gotten better as I have added each of these things?? NO question! BUT my happiness isn’t super stuck to what is happening in my life, it is mostly connected to my attitude and ability to live in the moment.
So today I wanted to share some thoughts on a topic/skill that I struggle with that has been part of my goal to focus on real happiness. Being aware enough to live in the moment. I have always loved dreaming, planning and preparing for the future. But sometimes I get so caught up in imagining what will be, that I forget to notice what is. And sometimes I just get so distracted living in this ‘entertainment era’. Every day there is a new TV show to watch, a thousand notifications on your phone, a new video going viral, 10 social media platforms to check into, etc. It can easily distract and take away from your daily life. A lot of times I am just toooooo tired to practice mindfulness and truly appreciate what I have right now.
How To Live In The Moment
When there is something I am trying to change, I like to write out my feelings about it. It helps when I brainstorm ideas on how to change. So after doing some reading, and experimenting in my day to day life, I came up with this post. These are three effective, and pretty easy, ways to live in the moment and fully enjoy life right now.
The Future Isn’t Guaranteed. Enjoy What You Have NOW.
I think the most important thing is prioritizing what is important. Set limits for how much time you will spend working. Stick to those limits. Spend all your extra minutes with the ones you love. If you sense a need from your kids or spouse, be willing to drop work and be there for them. This is one thing that hit me really hard after a friend of mine passed away suddenly. You never know how much time you have with someone – but as long as you live, work in some form will be there.
I am ashamed to admit how often I have tuned into my computer screen. I am usually trying to do something productive. But often I realize Zoey has been talking to me and I haven’t been listening. The things she says are adorable. I am missing out when I mindlessly nod my head. Or respond only to the tone of her voice with blanket answers. The way her eyes light up when I tell her I am done work kills me. Is working towards the future really more important than enjoying the present? I don’t think so, but it can be so easy to get caught up and forget that. I’m not saying that planning for the future isn’t important. But find balance (wrote an article all about how to do that here).
Say Goodbye To Unnecessary Distractions.
The other aspect of learning to live in the moment, for me, is weeding out unnecessary distractions. A close friend of mine told me that she trained her three year old to say, “Mommy get off the phone and pay attention to me.”. I didn’t even have to train Zoey to do that. She constantly says, PLAY WITH ME MOMMY!!!!! (no matter how much time I spend with her haha).
Some days I feel like I am great at not getting sucked in to all the distractions. We go shopping, get outside, play games, do crafts. I even have time to clean up the house and some time for myself. But there are days when I turn the TV on too much and can’t stop checking social media. It is crazy how the hours can go by without feeling like I connected with my kids or accomplished anything productive.
Some distracting things I am working to eliminate from my life are: Facebook scrolling, watching TV when the kids are awake, spending too much time in front of the mirror in the morning, picking up my phone to check for texts, emails, etc. when I haven’t even heard it vibrate, online shopping when I don’t have a particular need… I feel like if this list gets any longer it will just be embarrassing. But really there are so many things that I spend my time doing that are simply needless.
Being mindful is part of learning to live in the moment. It is an easy one to forget, but it’s really key to improving your overall attitude and perception of life. Basically what it means to be mindful, is to notice and appreciate the things around you. Mindfulness is making a conscious effort to experience the good around you, rather than ‘zoning out’ or acting subconsciously and completely out of habit. Mindfulness means taking in all the beautiful little details that make up life. It means to stop going through your day on auto-pilot and act with purpose.
Kids are SO great at this! Zoey is always noticing the shape of the clouds or the color of the trees and pointing out the beauty around her. She notices the tiniest rock and will treasure it as if it were gold. As we grow up we become desensitized to the beauty around us. It is easy to tune out things we are used to and forget how beautiful life really is.
Have you ever taken a moment to just think to yourself, “I am alive. I exist. I am here right now.” Any time I think that, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of awe. Being alive is pretty cool. But it is easy to forget how cool it is and take everything we have for granted.
I have been trying to practice mindfulness anytime I am doing a task that doesn’t require my brain. When I am nursing I look around our home and think about the beauty in it. Every piece of furniture, every toy, the food in the cupboards, the electricity, the internet, all these things are surrounding me and have come together to create the beautiful setting for my life. When I look around and realize how much I have, I feel extremely grateful and blessed.
When I live in the moment I am so much happier. I spend less time worrying about what I want or upcoming stresses in my life, and more time enjoying life now. SO I thought since this is something I am consciously working on in my life, I would share it with all of you!
Anyone else have a hard time living in the moment? How do you do it?
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