Next time that you’re in the presence of a small child, stop to bear witness to their intense connection with the present moment. Unlike adults, children live in each and every moment sans to-do lists, schedules, or worrying. Due to their innately mindful spirit, children aren’t worried about the future or preoccupied with the past. They simply live for the here and now, taking in whatever is happening right before them.
Living in the moment is the practice of being mindful; remaining connected with the present allows you to disconnect from anxiety about what may go wrong tomorrow and detach from yesterday’s memories of pain, fear, or sadness. Simple as it may sound, being mindful in each moment doesn’t come without its challenges.
Why You Should Be Mindful
According to Psychology Today, mindfulness rewards its practitioners with an almost unbelievable host of benefits. One resounding excerpt states:
“Mindfulness reduces stress, boosts immune functioning, reduces chronic pain, lowers blood pressure, and helps patients cope with cancer. By alleviating stress, spending a few minutes a day actively focusing on living in the moment reduces the risk of heart disease. Mindfulness may even slow the progression of HIV.”
Shockingly, the benefits don’t stop there:
“Mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic, and more secure. They have higher self-esteem and are more accepting of their own weaknesses. Anchoring awareness in the here and now reduces the kinds of impulsivity and reactivity that underlie depression, binge eating, and attention problems. Mindful people can hear negative feedback without feeling threatened. They fight less with their romantic partners and are more accommodating and less defensive. As a result, mindful couples have more satisfying relationships.”
How To Live Life in The Present
In a 10-part series presented by “Super Soul Sunday, Eckhart Tolle urges viewers embrace these benefits of living mindfully by practicing their ability to connect with the present moment. To stay mindful connected, Eckhart advises that we simply tune into each of our senses.
For example, take something as habitual as washing your hands.“Do it consciously,” Tolle instructs. “[When] you wash your hands, feel the water. Smell the soap. Becoming acutely conscious of sense perception means looking, hearing, touching. It brings you into the present moment.”
Exercises To Help You Develop Present-Moment Momentum
But for most of us–try as we might, it seems nearly impossible to connect with our sensory experience throughout a few minute period much less for the duration of an entire day. While remaining present in each moment can at first seem overwhelming, a mindfulness practice can help you build momentum to ease your transition into living in the here and now.
If you’d like to live more mindfully, there are some practices you can do to help develop your momentum and retrain your brain to stay connected to the present:
Drop Three Exercise: Anytime you’re feeling anxious or out of tune with the present moment, practice dropping your jaw, your shoulders, and, then, your belly. Accessible to you in any situation, you can do this simple exercise anytime and anywhere.
Five Senses Exercise: As Deepak Chopra advised, developing a sensory connection can help you to bring yourself back to the present moment. For this exercise, you’ll need to focus on each of your 5 senses and name 5 things that you can notice with each sense. (Note: If you’re feeling anxious and need something to powerfully connect you with the present moment, you can splash cold water on your hands and face, hold an ice cube, sniff peppermint essential oil, or bite into a lemon.)
Daily Meditation Practice: Developing a daily meditation practice may be one of the most rewarding habits you’ll ever establish. Set aside time each day to sit quietly and focus on your breath. Each time thoughts arise–as they certainly will–do not grab onto them. Do not push them away. Notice them and let them pass.
Check in with yourself. Are you connected with the present right now?