Imagine being able to fully engage with each experience, savor every taste, sound, and sensation… How does that sound?
In this fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in regrets about the past or to freak out about the future, but learning to live in the now can bring immense joy and fulfillment to your life.
Here are 14 daily habits that will help you stay grounded and embrace living in the present moment:
Let’s jump right in:
1) Start your day with gratitude
Here’s my first tip: Take a mental note each morning of the things you’re grateful for.
These don’t have to be huge things!
It can be as simple as being grateful for having a roof over your head or food on your plate.
Practicing gratitude is a great way to live in the present moment and it’s a wonderful exercise to do when you think that nothing’s going your way and that “life sucks”!
2) Set intentions for the day
After practicing gratitude, I recommend setting clear intentions for your day.
You see, setting intentions will help you get clarity about what really matters and what you want to prioritize in the present moment.
It will help you align your actions with your values and goals, allowing you to focus on what’s most important and avoid getting caught up in distractions.
3) Practice mindful breathing
Focusing on your breath is one of the most effective ways to anchor yourself in the present moment, it’s no wonder that it’s used for mindfulness meditation.
Personally, when my mind starts to spin out of control, I like to find a quiet spot where I’ll spend about 10 minutes following my breath.
And once I’m done?
I’m calm, centered, and present.
4) Notice your surroundings
How often do you stop to “smell the roses” so to speak?
The truth is that most people seem to rush from one place to the next without really noticing the world around them.
If you want to live in the present, pay attention to the sights, sounds, and smells around you.
You’ll often find me wandering around a park, looking at the different patterns on tree barks, following an ant trail, and even – yes you guessed it – stopping to smell the roses!
5) Slow down and savor moments
Try not to rush through all your experiences.
Give yourself a chance from time to time to fully enjoy and appreciate whatever is happening at the moment.
Whether it’s a delicious meal, a beautiful view, playing with your cat, or spending time with a loved one, savoring the moment will amplify the pleasure you derive from it.
6) Disconnect from technology
Do you really need to look at your phone while you have your coffee and eat your breakfast? Why not do a crossword puzzle or chat with your roommate/partner/child? Why not savor each sip and each bite?
And when you go to bed, do you really need to spend an hour on Instagram? Wouldn’t it be better to read a book or meditate?
The thing about technology is that it disconnects us from living in the real world and being present in the moment.
In short: Set aside some time each day to disconnect from devices and immerse yourself in the present moment.
7) Engage in mindful movement
Did you know that engaging in mindful movement is a great way to anchor yourself into the present moment and cultivate a deeper connection with your body?
Whether you choose yoga, walking, dance, or another form of movement, practicing mindful movement is yet another way to live in the present moment.
8) Listen actively
Don’t you just hate it when you’re telling a story and the other person keeps glancing at their phone or looking over your shoulder?
Now think, do you do that too?
Are you too distracted to give your full attention to others when they speak?
Well, if you want to live in the present moment, you need to learn to actively listen when someone is speaking – to really hear them, to ask questions, and validate what they’re saying.
9) Practice mindful eating
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not always good at mindful eating… I sometimes like to watch my favorite show on Netflix and have my dinner at the same time.
But the healthiest way of eating is mindful eating!
That means eating slowly and savoring each bite. It means paying attention to the tastes, textures, and flavors of the food you’re putting in your belly.
And the best part?
Mindful eating will seriously decrease your chances of overeating!
10) Embrace nature
Guess what – Nature is here and now!
So, if you want to live a more grounded life and be more present, then you should really try to spend as much time outdoors as you can.
Go hiking. Ride your bike. Swim in a lake. Remove some slugs from your garden.
In short: Connect with the natural world.
11) Engage in creative activities
Here’s another tip for living in the moment.
Take up some hobbies. Learn some arts and crafts.
Because when you’re painting, embroidering, playing an instrument, or playing chess, you’re focusing on what you are doing and thus, you’re living in the present.
Pretty simple huh?
12) Let go of the past
The truth is that the past doesn’t exist. It’s behind you.
And in the words of the great Pumba in The Lion King, “Hakuna matata” (no worries).
So, stop wasting your time and your emotions on past regrets or resentments.
Instead, focus on the present moment and the possibilities it holds. Ask yourself, “What can I do now?”
13) Embrace uncertainty
Here’s another truth bomb for you: The future doesn’t exist either! It hasn’t happened yet.
Yes, things can go a number of different ways, but instead of freaking out, accept that life is full of uncertainty and allow yourself to be open to whatever the future brings.
14) End the day with reflection
Finally, it’s good to take time a few minutes before bed to reflect on your day, express gratitude (Again? Sure, why not?), and let go of any lingering thoughts or worries that you have.
And there you have it, by incorporating these habits into your daily life, you’ll cultivate a deeper sense of presence and be able to experience the richness of each moment.