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Home » Blog » 5 Ways You Can Be More Present ‘In The Moment’

If the past be history;

And the future be a mystery;

Shouldn’t today be a lottery-

Dedicated to making memories?

Yes, it should, but unfortunately, it is often not utilised in that manner. Let’s deal with a scenario that is very relatable in today’s times. You are sitting on a couch, having some snacks, and scrolling through Instagram. There is a movie playing in front of you and your entire family is gossiping about some event that you will all attend tomorrow, happily a Saturday. The weekend is rolling in and you are with your people, life is good. Just a caveat though. You cannot stop thinking about that impending large task at work that will be on your plate on the coming Monday. Later when you go off to bed, you realise that you did not quite understand the movie, you don’t remember significant bits of it, you didn’t quite enjoy the snacks, nor did you register anything that your family talked about. What’s worse? You neither feel relaxed, nor rejuvenated and the coming Monday just seems to look worse in your dreams.

Why? You weren’t paying attention to these things because it was divided amongst the various things that you were doing. Also, your attention was almost solely focussed on Monday’s task. We’re constantly surrounded by distractions, making it difficult to focus on just one thing at a time. Stress, anxiety, and regret can also make it difficult to focus on the present moment. We have lost control over our minds- and research shows that over the last couple of decades people’s attention spans have shrunk significantly. Sometimes it can feel impossible to concentrate deeply on anything for a good amount of time. As the pace of life keeps getting more hectic by the day, our minds become a slave to digital entities and as digitalisation continues to sweep across humanity, our diminishing attention spans keep hindering us from truly living in the moment.

Living in the moment is about paying attention to the here and now. Instead of letting your mind wander, you’re focused on your current actions, sensations, and surroundings. Being mindful of the present carries its own advantages and benefits such as

  • improving your relationships with others
  • reducing stress
  • improving your ability to focus
  • helping to manage anxiety

Being present in the moment will also help you savour each joyful experience- it will make that road trip memorable, it will add warmth to those hanging out sessions with family and friends, it will make that movie enjoyable, and it will calm that racing mind of yours and prevent it from overheating, or overthinking.

Being attentive can be difficult, but here are 5 everyday doable tasks that can help you-

  • ‘Mono’tasking Rarely will somebody tell you to monotask in our times. When the overwhelming need seems to be of multitasking, why should you monotask? Although multitasking is so commonplace and difficult to avoid entirely, we may need to reassess when and how we do it. While it is advisable in some cases, for instance- the gym can be a nightmare without your earphones plugged in, it is a strict no-no in other cases, like- those same earphones could be the end of you if you use them while driving. Monotasking — when you focus on one task at a time — can benefit you when you’re studying or working. Because you’re not frantically shifting your attention from one task to another, monotasking can help you be more present and attentive.
  • Reducing digital distractions- In this context, the screen really is the bane of our lives. Try having breakfast without TikTok, or dinner without reels. Have a chat with your family, or just focus on the food and its taste. If the phone appears too tempting, put it in another room to charge while you enjoy your meal. Don’t entertain work calls during meal times. All of this seems simple, but reducing the digital distraction will really help you enjoy the little things.
  • Spend time in nature- The sights of nature, her beauty, and tranquillity can wonderfully anchor you to the present moment. Even if you live in a concrete jungle, nature is never too far away from you, if you seek her. Take a walk in the park, or go for a hike. Do whatever that makes you feel good about the great outdoors. Physical activity is always a great answer to the calls of distraction. Exercise often requires us to pause and focus on our bodies and breathing. Mindful movement can help you feel more present and connected to your body. While all workouts can be done mindfully, certain forms of movement such as Yoga and Pilates emphasize focusing your breath and the sensations within your body.
  • Try a grounding technique- Sometimes, we have to moor our mind to stop it from wandering. When you realise that your mind seems to be drifting, you can always snap it back by trying grounding techniques. A helpful technique to bring you back to the present moment is the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding exercise.

      Take a moment to pause and name:

        5 things you can see around you

        4 things you can touch or feel

        3 distinct sounds you can hear

        2 things you can smell

        1 thing you can taste.

This exercise anchors you in your surroundings, helping you to appreciate the present moment.

  • Do something that requires your full attention- When you’re doing something that requires your full focus, it’s really hard to leave the present moment. Play a sport or a musical instrument. Learn a language on Duolingo (it’s fun!). If everything else is unavailable, do a mental full-body scan by forcing yourself to sit still at a place. Visualise all the organs and also check your breathing.

These are just 5 of the many methods that will help you along the path of being present in the here and now. The most important commitment has to come from you, where you must remember to be in the moment and want to enjoy the present. Once you have the mentality, do the things mentioned above, or whatever suits your style.

Remember- to go with the flow, you have to dive into the water first!