Living in the present is so important to the people in our lives-it can demonstrate a level of caring that can’t be done when you’re distracted. We reflect on our past to learn from our mistakes-but living in the present is what helps us be good people.
When we live in the present, we are better people to those around us. Being present demonstrates to others that we really care, we appreciate their company and their input, and can even prevent others from getting angry from our distractedness.
Have you ever tried listening to someone or have a conversation while you look at your smartphone? Did you stop to think that these types of distractions prevent you from living in the present and showing people you care?
How to Live In the Present?
Living in the present can be challenging at times we learn from past mistakes and events to alter our future behavior. But when we live in the present, we can find more joy and satisfaction from being present in the moment. This means less focusing on the past, and more living in the right now.
Some ways to live in the present include:
- Don’t judge others
- Practice mindfulness
- Slow down
- Let the past stay in the past
- Be grateful
Benefits to Being Present In the Moment
When we are present in each moment rather than living in the past, we can reap many benefits. And this doesn’t just benefit us-it also benefits those around us. When we are present in the moment, we can experience some of these benefits:
- We truly hear what others are saying
- We are better appreciated by those around us
- We have a better understanding of what’s actually happening around us
- We demonstrate true caring to others
- Others have an improved sense of caring by and for you
- We can prevent making mistakes by truly being there
- We don’t make others angry or disappointed
- We’re not distracted!
Have you ever tried talking to someone whose face is seemingly attached to their smartphone? Not only is it distracting to them, but doesn’t it make you feel like they’re just not listening? It’s frustrating! So let’s talk about why it’s so important to be present.
Why It Is Important to Live In the Present
Living in the present is so important, especially in this day in age where we have so many distractions around us: social media, email, text messages, calendar notifications, alarms, and everything that makes our attention turn away from those around us. Living in the present means being present for others, which means we are listening and actually understand what they’re saying or what they mean.
This can be really important when it comes to following directions, buying groceries, paying bills, picking up children from school or soccer practice, even caring for critically ill patients. If we’re not present, we’re not listening and that leads to mistakes. This can either be through misunderstanding or omission.
Why It Is Important To Live In the Present
It can be easy to fall into the trap of living in the past. It’s our past that made us who we are today. Our lives are usually what they are today because of events and past experiences. Some of those past experiences may be so enjoyable and memorable that we have a difficult time moving on from them. Pleasant memories can be fun to relive and savor, although as long as we’re thinking about the past, we are distracted from the present.
Living in the present means not dwelling on the past, not reliving past memories, and not being distracted. When we practice living in the present we are more in tune with what is occurring around us: current events, emerging weather changes, and those who are most important to us.
Examples of Living in the Present
There are many different ways we can live in the present. We can even practice several of them at the same time. Here are some examples of what living in the present looks like:
I enjoy my work. I’m not focused on deadlines, past accomplishments or failures, mistakes, or even how I got here. I’ve worked hard to get here and I continue to work hard despite how others may try to hold me back. My focus is on what I’m doing now and the differences I’m making in peoples’ lives.
My love of gardening knows no boundaries. I’ve completed many big projects in my yard, and I’ve also lost many plants. I don’t think about how I’ve failed-I learned I needed to water more, or enrich the soil better, or plant in a different spot and use that with each new plant I tend.
Physical appearance really doesn’t matter as much as some people think it does. I used to be younger, thinner, prettier, all of the things. I’ll never be younger, my body has changed from childbirth, and my looks have developed along with the aging process and I’m ok with that. I embrace my physical self now-I don’t focus on the me from 20 years ago.
How To Start Living in the Present
Now that you’ve got a better idea of what living in the present looks like, let’s turn the attention to you. Here are some ways to help you focus on the present and what’s happening around you:
- Always put the smartphone down!
- Let go of your thoughts.
- Pay attention to ALL of your senses.
- Let go of “stuff”.
- Stop worrying!
- Work hard.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Savor the moment.
- Stop overthinking things.
- Don’t worry about your performance.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Accept things and move on rather than dwelling on them.
- Forgive those who hurt you in the past.
- Appreciate everything and everyone today in full.
Doing these in order is not necessary! Start with something you feel comfortable doing, that won’t take up the most of your time and energy. Start low and go slow. Take your time and savor the emotions as you attempt each one, then build yourself up to the next one. And the next one. Remember-you live now, not then.
Ways To Live In the Present With Real People
I asked some family and friends what 3 ways they might remind themselves to be more mindful, and live in the present. Here is what they shared and what I learned from the poll:
|Reminder||Tally of Family/Friends|
|Stop thinking of the past||5|
|Learn from past mistakes||4|
|Put down the smartphone||3|
|Stop worrying about things in the past||4|
|Stop worrying about things I can’t control||3|
|Let go of the past||4|
|Move on from old pain||3|
|Dream of the future||2|
|Focus on future goals and accomplishments||2|
|Stop drowning my sorrows/fix addictions||3|
|Find my happiness||4|
Here is a helpful video with several ways to live in the present moment.
- What Really Matters – How Doing Less Makes it All Better
- Quality Over Quantity – How I Buy Once for Decades of Use
- Value Of Time – Making Choices For Life and Happiness
- Free From Worry – My Guide to a Happier Lifestyle
- Meaningful Conversation – Guide to Deeper Conversations
- Feeling Disconnected – How to Reflect, Ground, and Reconnect
- Collect Memories – Minimal Things and Meaningful Living
It may seem difficult to do, letting go of the past and turning our focus to now and forward-but it is possible. We spend so much time reliving moments from the past that hurt us, made us happy, made us feel loss, or made us feel empowered that it’s even addictive to continue to do so.
Start today with the small actions first, and take your time to help you better experience living in the present and moving away from the past. The people in your life will be so appreciative of your focus and attention!