Enjoy the present

I was reading a book recently on the topic of happiness and it got me thinking about how we live in a constant whirlwind of activity. One of our biggest obstacles to happiness is our obsession with doing – let’s remember we are human beings, not human doings.

One of the major reasons why we often fail to find total happiness is because we have not mastered the art of being in that present moment. Whilst we are at home, our thoughts are still absorbed with solving our work challenges and when we are at work, we worry about problems at home. We go through the day without really listening to others and subconsciously focus on past experiences or future possibilities. We are so involved in yesterday and tomorrow that we never notice that today is slipping by. We go through the day rather than getting something from the day. When things come up in the present moment that remind us of something difficult in the past, we can easily believe that it will repeat itself in the future – and our inner voice will say “it was like this before, it will be like this again”.

So how can we learn to just be? What can we do to develop a unique focus on the current moment and draw from it all the wealth of experience and feelings that it has to offer? How can we create anew in the moment without reference to the past or the future?

  • Interrupt your inner voice by saying out loud “that was then, this is NOW”. That will bring your mind back to the present, say NOW, hear NOW, feel NOW, ask yourself, what is happening NOW? Not what happened before, not what might happen later.
  • Tell yourself, NOW is the only place you can choose anything. NOW is all you ever really have
  • Halt the thoughts that distract you
  • Use all your senses to take in the fleeting scents, tastes and views that you would otherwise miss by being distracted
  • Listen to silence – what are you hearing?
  • Sit on a park bench and enjoy watching the world go by
  • When enjoying time with friends or family, just stop and turn all your senses on. Savour the feelings that are happening – and describe it in just one word
  • Tell yourself that being in the moment is not something you do, it is something you experience

Being in the moment, we liberate ourselves to feel happiness as it happens, rather than always looking forward to it, or worrying that it may never happen.

I finish with a quote from Joan Collins, the actress: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift – and that is why we call it the present”.


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