Learning to live in the moment can mean getting up early to enjoy the beauty of an early sunrise, going for a hike instead of watching TV, or picking up a hobby that destroys any trace of boredom . . . or maybe it's time for a long adventurous vacation.
Have you ever felt like others don’t understand your pain when they see to be living a happy life? You’re not alone in feeling this way, but the truth is that happiness takes work, and learning how to live life to the fullest takes dedication and practice. People who smile in public have been through every bit as much as people who cry, frown, and scream. They just simply found the courage and strength to smile through it and enjoy life in the best way possible. Life is short, and we only live once. Learning to live life to the fullest is an important step in making the most of every day.
In our current twenty-first century lives, it’s not easy. There’s always something coming up that we need to prepare for or anticipate, and our lives are so well-documented that it’s never been easier to get lost in the past. Given the fast pace and hectic schedules most of us keep, a base level of anxiety, stress, and unhappiness is the new norm. You may not even realize it, but this tendency to get sucked into the past and the future can leave you perpetually worn out and feeling out of touch with yourself. The cure for this condition is what so many people have been saying all along: conscious awareness and a commitment to staying in the “now.” Living in the present moment is the solution to a problem you may not have known you had. You might be thinking that this all sounds great, but what does it actually mean to “live in the present moment?” How could we be living in anything but the present?
Life is full of distractions. Today’s technological advances have created a sometimes unnecessary sense of instant gratification. In fact, the term “multitasking” has never been more prominent. However, one of the most important lessons that I have learned throughout my career is to make sure you are present in the moment. We have all been in situations where life distracts you. For example, you may have spent a lot of time and money to fly to another country to attend a global forum where you have the opportunity to learn from some of the most successful leaders of today’s time. During the conference, an “emergency” happens at the office, causing you to spend the majority of your time in the hotel lobby on the phone talking about the best response to an angry customer, instead of being inspired and learning things that will actually make an impact in your overall growth. This isn’t to say the customer isn’t important and responding isn’t necessary, but sometimes we have to make choices, and perhaps a more effective approach would be to have someone you trust handle the issue or simply let the customer know their issue would be addressed later that night. Chances are you will still be able to rectify the situation, but being present at the conference could be the difference between just keeping your business alive or taking it to the next level.
That is not to say that being present is easy. Life can be very distracting at times and is perfectly happy to throw some curves into your meticulously well-organized plans. We are all busy, trying to balance work, personal matters and our own individual needs. In a way, it almost feels natural to worry about what else is going on around you. We tend to experience FOMO — fear of missing out. If we don’t check our phones, we might miss an important call, or if we don’t check Twitter, we might fall behind on the latest political scandal. However, if you are always focusing on what is happening around you, you will never be able to appreciate what is happening now, right before your eyes.
I have been in way too many business meetings where the person I am meeting with is easily distracted by today’s noise. They are constantly checking their mobile phone, smartwatch or even their laptop. It makes it difficult to build a relationship and trust with that individual, which is typically the basis for any deal.
Luckily, we all have the ability to live in the present, to be mindful of where we are and what we are doing, to take it all in. In fact, I can guarantee that everyone reading this has experienced this feeling at least once in their lives. The hard part is accessing this ability on a consistent basis.
A key to achieving mindfulness is practicing meditation. Meditation increases our awareness and gives us a more positive perspective of what goes on in our minds and in our surroundings. It will make your attention and focus more defined, allowing you to manage your stress and impulses more proficiently. It is not about emptying your mind and turning off your thoughts, but rather spinning them in a way where you can observe and understand them in a constructive manner. Once you’re at this level, your consciousness and cogitation will be highly improved, making you a more efficient worker. After all, how are you supposed to rapidly think and process numerous pieces of information if you don’t have a clear and calm mind?
Aside from a clear mind, mindfulness also gives us the ability to understand and control our emotions. This might not seem like a big deal, but you don’t want to make important decisions when your emotions are high. Important business decisions must be done with a clear mind after careful consideration of all the options. Taking the time to comprehend your frustrations and identify when to take a step back could be a lifesaver. One decision could change everything, for better or for worse.
There will always be a million things to do at any given moment. There will be times when you have hectic and overwhelming schedules and moments when you feel like there is not enough time in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done. Nothing will change that; that is just how life works. However, if you take a step back and keep your mind present, you will be more effective. Remember that everything else that is going on will still be there in an hour or two. To make the most of your current situation, you need to give it your all, and that includes being completely present in the moment.
When we concentrate our attention on the present we focus on the task at hand. We give our full attention to what we are doing and we let go of outcomes.
Seizing each moment in life allows us to prolong its value and make it more meaningful. Rather than seeking quantity of time, when we live in the moment we enjoy and savor every minute. We don't sacrifice quality for quantity.
Of course, this doesn't mean we don't need to plan, set goals or prepare for the future. We can do all of these things and still enjoy each moment as it unfolds.
For instance, if we have set a goal to exercise each day, we would carry on with it while enjoyingthe actual process, or moment, of exercising (or at least be in the moment of it).
When we train ourselves to live in each moment, we immerse ourselves in it and begin to discover its beauty and wonder. We learn how to focus and howmanage our energy. Professional athletes understand and employ this kind of focus very well. They know that accomplishment and success are a result of the skillful management and balancing of energy.
To make every moment count we must embrace it. Everything we do and every person we come in contact with deserves our full attention. Even when resting we should savor the moment. It gives us the opportunity to recharge, renew and gain clarity.
Quite often we put huge expectations on ourselves and our lives. We rush to do this, hurry up with that, without actually enjoying the process. What's the rush? Where do we think we're going?
If we don't stop and think about where we're at, we're probably missing the point. Instead, when we appreciate each moment and garner the lessons from it, we live consciously, purposefully and responsibly.
Likewise, when we live in the past and don't let go of painful experiences, perceived wrongs, or difficult times, we condemn ourselves to a present and future of the same. We cannot change the past. We can, however, come to terms with it, know that it's over, and move on.
Living in the moment means letting go of the past and trusting in the future. When we are positiveand optimistic in the present, we open the possibility of a positive and promising future. We owe it to ourselves to make every moment count - now!
Being in the present moment, or the “here and now,” means that we are aware and mindful of what is happening at this very moment. We are not distracted by ruminations on the past or worries about the future, but centered in the here and now. All of our attention is focused on the present moment (Thum, 2008).
As author Myrko Thum tells it, the present moment is all there truly is:
“The present moment is the only thing where there is no time. It is the point between past and future. It is always there and it is the only point we can access in time. Everything that happens, happens in the present moment. Everything that ever happened and will ever happen can only happen in the present moment. It is impossible for anything to exist outside of it.”
Why is Being Present Minded Important?
Being present minded is the key to staying healthy and happy. It helps you fight anxiety, cut down on your worrying and rumination, and keeps you grounded and connected to yourself and everything around you. Although it has become a popular topic in recent years, living in the present is not just a fad or trendy lifestyle tip, it is a way of life that is backed up by good science.
Being present and exerting our ability to be mindful not only makes us happier, it can also help us deal with pain more effectively, reduce our stress and decrease its impact on our health, and improve our ability to cope with negative emotions like fear and anger. (Halliwell, 2017).
Luckily, being present appears to live up to all the hype. Here’s why.
It can make it easier to manage stress
Many people respond to emotional distress and uncertainty by disengaging from the source. It can certainly seem counterintuitive to stay present when you feel anxiousor nervous. Distracting yourself from unwanted or unpleasant thoughts can bring short-term relief.
But you can’t permanently hide from reality. Acknowledging fears and stress triggers, and working to mindfully accept them, can have more benefit in the long run.
A 2016 studyof 143 adults found evidence to suggest cultivating present-moment awareness could make it easier to cope not only with a single stressful event, but also later stress on the same day as well as stressful events in the future.
It may help relieve mental health symptoms
According to research from 2019, mindfulness practices, including present-moment awareness, may help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
When you focus on the present moment, you’re paying attention to the things currently happening. These events might range from joyous to downright heartbreaking (or anywhere in between).If you’re going through a tough time, you might understandably wonder how increasing your awareness of these experiences can benefit you.
Mindfulness helps you recognize anxious or depressed thoughts as just that: thoughts. Eventually, you can learn to recognize these thoughts as you notice them and interrupt their patterns before they trap you in a spiral of distress.
It can strengthen your relationships
Ever spent time with a friend or partner who kept looking at their phone or saying, “Sorry, what?” Maybe you’ve been the one to lose the train of a conversation when you had something else on your mind.Everyone gets distracted from time to time, but when this happens often, it can negatively affectrelationships.
No one wants to feel ignored. If you constantly seem distracted or disinterested in what your loved ones have to say, they may start to think you don’t really care.
Living a full life, to me, means that I’mreallytherefor as many moments as possible, that I’m not checked out because I’m burnt out, that I’m not doing things that I think I should do or whizzing through life checking off all of the to-dos. When I’m standing at Glacier Point I want to really be there. I want to let it soak in and attempt to see the majestic beauty that can be difficult to find amongst a clamoring crowd with selfie-sticks. I want to try to stand there in that moment and take in that beauty and really feel myself there, even if that means I don’t get to make it to the waterfalls or the lake or the beautiful meadow everyone says I have to see.
To me, living a full life means that I’m immersed in the human experience.
It means that I don’t repress my emotions because I’m scared of the pain. It means that I let go of the concern of being liked by others and focus more onme liking myself. It means that I give my mind space to see people differently, to see myself differently, and to give us all the benefit of the doubt. It means that I’m willing to say yes when I want to say no because I know that the yes will serve me. It means that I’m willing to say no when I feel obligated to say yes because I know that boundaries mean everything when it comes to living a healthy life. It means that I’m willing to put in hard work when I need to and to walk away when I need to, too. It means that my life may not be easy, but it’s worth it.
Most people come to this realizationtoo late. They live their lives unconsciously or they live their lives waiting for something to change but they do nothing to change it. On their deathbeds they wish they had livedthe lives their souls were calling for, they wish they had the courage to share their voices, and they wish they had allowed themselves to be happier. We can easily get to our deathbeds by running past all the sites and not really being there. We can stand in a crowd but never be heard. We can smile without really being happy. But we can also choose something different. In this moment right now we can give ourselves lives worth living.
I am always working on myself, always looking for the lessons I’m learning and the ways in which I can become a better version of myself. I do this with love in my heart and acceptance of who I am now.
It’s the tightrope walk between growth and self-acceptance, and it’s truly a magical process.
I am always delightfully surprised by what else I’m here to learn. Just yesterday I arrived back home in LA after a beautiful two day trip to the high desert. There have been little threads that I’ve been picking up on lately, most specifically this feeling that something is big is shifting within me. Last night, while rinsing the desert dust off my body, I felt a clear knowing that I need more interior exploration. I’ve been giving a lot of myself lately. I’m in the process oflaunching a couple coursesandgiving supportto my incredible clients. I’m feeling so deeply fulfilled and rewarded in doing this work and being a support system for others, but to help balance myself out I need even more time and attention to focus inward.
For me, living the fullest life I can live means that I’m in balance. I have to be in balance in order to give myself to others. I have to look inward, then out, and then back in again. I have to allow myself to be in flow with the universe. Living a full life isn’t about making all the pit stops, taking the tourist photos, and sharing them onInstagram(although that’s fun!). It’s about being deeply imbedded in my life, being willing to be self-aware enough to see when I’m off track, and having the courage to course correct again and again.
It also means that I open myself up to support when it’s time. It’s been a while since I’ve worked one-on-one in a mentoring capacity with someone, and it’s something I’ve been feeling a yearning for. I recently began working with my friend and incredibleReiki practitioner, Cara Manuele. I’m looking for more guidance and support in my life right now because I know it’s going to help me step more fully into my own power. Anytime I’ve opened myself up to the support I’ve been guided to it’s helped me move through big life transitions. I can feel I’m brimming, a big shift is happening, and I know support during this time is going to help me step into my power more steadily.
I’m also stepping more deeply into my role as a support system for you. You may have noticed I’m engaging more intimately through my newsletter and encouraging you to respond directly to me. I also have a few open spots forone-on-one workif you’re in a place like I am right now. If you feel like things are moving for you, I highly recommend finding support. It might be me or it might be someone else who’s been on your radar. Take a moment to reflect on your life. Notice if you’ve been flip flopping, if you feel ungrounded, if you keep waiting for change to happen to you. Now imagine yourself being supported by someone while you step into your own power. Imagine your life transforming and you finally sharing your voice, healing your wounds, and accepting yourself.
Head over to the website of the person who feels like they would best support you right now (here’s information about working with me) and hear their messaging. See if it feels right. Any time I have allowed someone to mentor me, and I’ve earnestly let their guidance in, I’ve changed significantly. Give yourself permission to live a full life, to have someone support you as you walk through the fire, and to land on the other side a deeper, more expanded human being.
Living a heart-healthy lifestyle may not be as difficult as you think. In fact, all you need to do is look around and take advantage of all of the good things life has to offer. In celebration of National Heart Month in February, Village at Proprietors Green is placing emphasis on ways to stay heart healthy.
The food we eat is a prime example. Some of the most appetizing culinary options not only tantalize your taste buds, but also provide vital vitamins and nutrients, keep weight and blood pressure in check, and help prevent heart disease. Picture a colorful medley of freshly picked vegetables, sweet and succulent fruits, and the catch of the day grilled or broiled to perfection. Or, if you prefer meat, chicken, turkey and yes, even lean red meats are good options.
Recent research shows that eating lean (without much fat) beef can actually lower bad cholesterol in the blood, which is good for your heart. Sure, all of us should limit fried fare, prepackaged foods, and anything that says saturated fat or trans fat, but with so many tastier options, you’re not too likely to miss them. Village at Proprietors Green is known for its excellent meal selections, with chef-prepared cuisine made with your health in mind.
How about a cocktail before dinner or when socializing with friends? The heart-healthy benefits of red wine have been touted for quite some time. Now researchers are reporting that other alcoholic beverages (consumed in moderation) seem to hold the same benefits. So whether your beverage of choice is red wine, white wine, beer, or a cocktail, most people can go ahead and enjoy a drink. Of equal importance, however, is the fine line between doing the heart good and contributing to other health issues. Studies have shown that women should limit alcohol to no more than one drink a day, and the limit for men is two. As always, because individual health circumstances may dictate otherwise and because some medications react with alcohol, checking in with your personal physician about any potential restrictions is always a good idea.
Another example of how all of us can reap heart-healthy benefits by simply enjoying life relates to what we do during the day. The official recommendation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week may sound daunting, bringing to mind visions of pounding out miles on a treadmill or a stationary bike. If, however, your preference is to enjoy the company of friends, pursue new interests, or stay engaged in your favorite hobbies, you are likely to achieve, and perhaps surpass, the recommended guidelines without giving it much thought. Village at Proprietors Green offers many options for staying physically active. Residents may enjoy the fitness center or a fitness class. Our community’s full-time activities director arranges for ballroom dancing classes, Wii bowling and Zumba. Additionally, Village at Proprietors Green offers onsite physical therapy.
If you do need to step it up a bit, putting your focus on having more fun rather than getting more exercise is likely to achieve the desired result—getting your body moving on a regular enough basis to maintain, and even improve, heart health. One recent study found that a five-minute walk every hour may reverse damage to arteries caused by sitting for long periods.
When weather permits, residents at Village at Proprietors Green can be seen walking on the sidewalks with their friends around the senior living community. Walking with others can motivate you to keep moving, inspire you to try other activities, and result in health benefits such as lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and a healthy weight—all of which lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and other health issues.
Living a lifestyle that makes your heart happy is the key to keeping your heart healthy. Take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy life to the fullest and you will be doing your heart good.
Here are 101 ways to live your life to the fullest:
The proper function of man is to live - not to exist.Jack London
I have come so that you may have life, and have life abundantly.Jesus Christ
Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today.James Dean
Make your life itself a creative work of art.Mike Ray,The Highest Goal
You can't behave in a calm, rational manner. You've got to be out there on the lunaticfringe.Jack Welch, retired CEO, GE
We have a "strategic" plan. It's called doing things.Herb Kelleher, founder, Southwest Airlines
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.Oscar Wilde
I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living, or get busydying."Red," played by Morgan Freeman fromThe Shawshank Redemption
A year from now you may wish you had started today.Karen Lamb
The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.Michelangelo
"A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books."
"And your very flesh shall be a great poem."
"Every moment of light and dark is a miracle."
"If you done it, it ain't bragging."
"Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle."
"The beauty of independence, departure, actions that rely on themselves."
"To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle. Every cubic inch of space is a miracle."
Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal.
One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Live life so completely that when death comes to you like a thief in the night, there will be nothing left for him to steal.
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