Following on from my recent blog about mindfulness and what it means to me, I wanted to talk a little bit more about living in the moment. I’m very aware that this is a phrase that can be thrown around a lot whether relating to meditation, mindfulness, life coaching or people on Instagram to name but a few. It would be easy to think the way people talk about living in the moment that it should be an easy thing to do and I think we can probably all agree that’s not always the case!

I’m a life coach so I’m not a great fan of the word “should,” the minute somebody tells me I should be doing something it gets my hackles up both personally and professionally so I don’t want to be told I should be living more in the moment particularly by those who like to display their so called perfect lives all over social media when we all know that life is far from perfect (rant over.)

As a teenager I had a tendency to suffer from quite considerable anxiety often related to the things I should be doing, things that I could see on the horizon that I found worrying. My mum introduced me to a wonderful book ‘The Way of the Peaceful Warrior’ by Dan Millman and in typical teenage style, I read it because I was interested but probably didn’t take much notice of it at the time as would’ve been helpful. The book is very much about living in the moment but it’s told in such a way that it’s not preaching it’s easy to understand

As I said in my previous blog I haven’t mastered the art of meditation, far from it and I dip in and out of mindfulness when I remember to be mindful and it does make a difference and so does living in the moment. We have so many things to worry about, we are encouraged to make plans, to look to the future, to be creating the best versions of ourselves – constantly improving and sometimes we forget about the here and now, today, this hour, this minute and it can be hugely grounding to focus on exactly where we are right now rather than continually fretting about the “what if’s?”

Once again I can say hand on heart I work hard to live in the moment but quite often I monumentally fail and find my mind races ahead to what I need to do, what I need to be planning, what’s happening next, projecting myself into the future and not necessarily dealing with today. Along with being more mindful this year I am also working hard to live more in the present, in this moment.

I’ve recently started my day by setting my alarm 20 minutes earlier, I light a candle and just gently wake myself up in candlelight and its really rather lovely. I don’t look at my phone, I take a few deep breaths and think about my day. It’s the little things that you can do to keep yourself in the moment – whether it’s boiling a kettle to make a cup of tea and standing there for a minute listening to the kettle boil the clock tick, the birds outside, concentrating on making a cup of tea that you can sit down and enjoy, or  for me, taking the dog for a walk with no music, no podcasts, no telephone – being aware of the attention my dog needs playing ball listening to the waves and being in that moment. If you’re sat in the car, waiting for someone, a child, take that moment to just sit with yourself, have a breather, count to 100, focus on something good that has happened in your day – grab the opportunities even if they are just for 5 minutes to tune back in to here and now.

One of the things that comes up in coaching sessions is clients can see the benefits of meditation & mindfulness but they struggle to find the time and I understand that. Allocating set time to do these things although hugely beneficial, can feel like yet another pressure which inevitably means something has to give and it’s usually ends up being either one of those things. What about if you just started out with small deliberate changes? You don’t need to start big – have a think about what living in the moment actually means? It’s about being present; it’s about appreciating what you have being aware of that moment in time. Start by thinking about some of your daily tasks where you could be more mindful? Below are a couple of suggestions.

  • Taking a few deep breaths whilst you’re boiling a kettle, just standing still for a few moments, listen to the sounds around you.
  • While you’re brushing your teeth, concentrate on the actual brushing, feel the water in your mouth, the taste of the toothpaste.
  • When you’re eating a meal, consider what you’re eating, what are the tastes, does it smell delicious? How does it feel to be eating this right now in this moment?
  • Pausing when you can – stop, just for a moment, bring yourself back from whatever you were doing and look around you, how do you feel right now?
  • If you’re out and about, notice the seasons, how does the air feel – warm, cold? Is it raining, what does the rain feel like on your skin (please don’t say wet – I know that!)

Living in the moment is also about gratitude, being grateful for what we do have and acknowledging that, again, right here, right now. How would it feel for you if you were able to be more present and less anxious about always looking ahead at “what next?”

For me in 2022 I am working on being more mindful and more present, living in the here and now and appreciating what is and therefore less anxious and less overwhelmed sounds good doesn’t it?