Live in the present Moment – 8 Simple Steps to a Happier Life…
Do you think you live in the present? Do you know the biggest cause of anxiety is a lack of being in the present? By being mindful, by living the moment you can actually make your life much more happy. Yes but i know that mindfulness is something that we all struggle with. I also did! But just some simple changes around my life and i feel much less anxious and I feel I lead a much more happier content life.
Two years back my husband moved away to another remote location after having already been away from us for a year and half. I was very unhappy and the idea of another two years scared me. I hate to stay alone and somehow it seemed to be repeating for me.
So much happened in those two years… Myra is older and so much different from that little baby…. I lost my 8 year old fur baby… I moved a house all by myself…. and then of course there was the everyday chaos, laughter, illnesses, celebrations and so much more. Life was happening and now we are ready to move back again, together this time.
Now when I look back at these two years it seems like just yesterday… Time is so volatile. There were days when I felt so upset and I just wanted it to get over, I had moments of anxiety, stress. Two years used to seem like a mountain. But they did pass away. And didn’t I know that it shall pass. I did! And yet I was so anxious. Because i was waiting for something else and not living in the present!
There is a very beautiful quotation “Time is like water you cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of your life.”
What happens in our life is many a time beyond our control. It is said that man proposes and god disposes. Life can be tough, but what is the solution in such a time? How would you rather live those moments? Would you rather sulk? Isn’t it better if we accept things as they are?
Yes it is and in fact that is the only way out to a happy life… life shouldn’t necessarily be very long but whatever we have of it we must make it happy. And happiness is a state of mind that you choose to be in.
So in these trying times there have been certain things that really helped me feel better and more aligned with myself. And I also felt that whenever I went away from doing these, things suddenly seemed worse than they were.:
Even if I talk about this a million times it had not be enough. What is the importance to have a regular meditation practice is something you need to experience firsthand. I have now been meditating for almost two decades. I haven’t been very regular always. I left it many a times in between and then got back to it. But yes ever since I conceived my daughter, meditation has been a part of my day and it gives me a lot of sanity in my parenting journey too.
Meditation makes me mindful; it brings a shift in my mindset. It helps me live in the present. I don’t claim that meditation would turn you into a saint but it definitely makes you a much better human.
Apart for the emotional benefits there are also many physical health benefits of meditation, I shall definitely talk about those in another post.
If you want to start a meditation but don’t know how, do read my post which is especially very helpful for beginning a meditation practice.
Working out does to body what meditation does to the mind. Meditation helps dispose of unwanted thoughts and creates space for goodness to occupy your mental space. Similarly stretching out opens up your body and creates space in the tense muscles to relax.
A meditation followed by a workout session is perhaps the best experience. But create a schedule around your other responsibilities.
It is good to have a mix of different kinds of workout to make it interesting. It helps to have a written workout plan. Do add each of Yoga, strength training and aerobics to your workout. I am especially fond of yoga since it includes a bit of all- strength training , cardio, stretching. Also yoga works on your emotions, reduces anxiety and makes you more mindful thus helping you live the present moment to the fullest. Do read my post about why I find yoga to be the best workout.
It is good to have a break day but even on that day do indulge in some stretching or a simple surynamaskar practice.
Very important to keep one sane when nothing is in our control. At least some part of our life can be controlled by us. But don’t become so insane keeping up with your routine that you forget why you are doing it.
It helps to be planned for the ahead. This way you can do things meaningful to you and that gives a lot of happiness. We mostly complain for lack of time, but in reality it is lack of planning that leads to lack in time.
Letting go what you cannot change and going with the flow is as important as having a routine. What works for me is to have a routine and then go with the flow. Be forgiving for the goals that I set myself and enjoy the moment.
And by socialising I don’t mean that you have to be a party animal. Even a walk in the evening or morning could give you enough opportunity to maintain a human contact.
Meeting someone and talking to them really refreshes you up. With a small child I was always busy at home, but I ensured her park visits as it would also help me socialise. This is really important if you are a housewife and taking care of a child. It is important to have some sort of an adult interaction to keep you sane. Also stepping out in the evening makes you feel refreshed even if you really don’t interact with anyone.
if nothing else is possible, plan it and call a friend each day. Stay connected with people over the phone. Not the ideal thing to do but better than nothing.
For me stepping out in the evening is essential. Even if it is just 15 minutes. If nothing else works I step out and enjoy the chirping of birds and the beautiful evening sky. Being with nature too takes away your worries and helps you live in the present!
5. Develop a Hobby:
Hobby makes life meaningful. It is something you will look forward to each day. It could be gardening, crafts, dance or whatever that makes your heart happy. While rest everything is goal and need driven this is something you do for yourself.
Since we enjoy the hobby we completely indulge in it. Doing something that engages us helps us live in the present moment. At such a time we cannot be disturbed by thoughts of the past or be worried by what future will bring us. We are completely enjoying the moment.
Gardening is something that I totally love. And you do not really need a garden. A few plants in the balcony can do the miracle. Watching the plant grow, new leaves sprout, a bud and then a flower. It is an awesome feeling.
6. Gratitude for what you have:
Look at the bright side of life…. and sometimes you have to force yourself to do it. Because the mind is so bogged down by negative at times you have to force and make way for some pleasant thoughts. Almost like a machine that refuses to work and has to be made to force restart. So just do an alt+ ctrl+ del and just reset the mode.
A gratitude journal at the start of the day sets the positive tone for the day. At times you will struggle for writing things that you are thankful for, but you will realize the habit makes you acknowledge all the goodness you were otherwise missing out. Using positive affirmations also really helps. You can write a few affirmations for each day. There is this lovely post about power of affirmations by my blogger friend.
Writing really helps dissolve thoughts not serving any purpose and at the same time helps feel grateful for the goodness around. A simple gratitude journal can make you look at all the happiness you may be missing or be thankful for what you have. It also helps you rant and lighten up. But do ensure that you do more than ranting in your journaling. It is more important to look at the positives.
8. Are you happy now?
Anxiety is basically caused by a lack of being in the present moment. Either you are bogged down by the past or too worried about the future.
The past is done and dusted. it must leave us with lessons, but to let it disturb our present is not doing any good.
Since we plan for the future we tend to sometimes get swayed away by our future dreams and get anxious. In such moments I check with myself… am I doing enough to reach my future goals? Am I happy right now and enjoying the process? If the answer is yes you obviously come back to present. Live in the present as it reduces anxiety!
I have spent a greater part of my life alone due to my husband’s profession. I have struggled to stay happy. Writing this post I want to share my learning with people who may be having a difficult time dealing with life. I would also like to extend a helping hand. You may feel free to mail me at email@example.com. I would be more than happy to guide you and help you find what will make your life more exciting. Sometimes we ourselves cannot see what another can help us see. We need someone to motivate and push us and help us understand life is beautiful and how to enjoy the beauty in it.