When our lives become dictated by thoughts and emotions attached to past events or potential future outcomes, it becomes increasingly rare to live in the present moment. By constantly residing in the past or the future, you might carry with you a sense of unease, become more susceptible to stress, agitation, and generally feel unhappy and uncomfortable with your life. Because of this, it is extremely important to learn to live in the present moment. Abraham Maslow once said, “The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” Only in the present moment can you achieve true happiness, peace, and joy, which are all key for our mental wellbeing. Here are 16 reasons for you to live in the moment:
- The future is not in your control – The moment you experience right now is the only moment you can control. You cannot control what will happen in a year’s time, let alone what will happen in the next five minutes. By living in the present you stop trying to guess what might or might not happen in the future and instead you stay focused on what is happening in the here and now.
- Only in the present moment can you find peace – By implementing always living in the moment, you will alleviate much of the anxiety and stress caused by thinking of the past or future. Being present will help you feel a lot calmer and at peace as it is like a form of meditation, and meditative-like energy creates a quiet, more peaceful mind.
- You take it one moment at a time – Life unfolds only in moments, so the best way to handle things that come your way is to tackle one thing at a time. Attempting to constantly trying to solve your entire life in one instance brings on unnecessary anxiety and only distracts you from the issue at hand. No one can deal with the past or future because they both only exist as thoughts, so it is much more beneficial to focus your time and energy on each moment as it comes.
- You’ll start to let go of what you think your life should be – With no expectations of the future, you won’t be disappointed by anything that happens. Instead you will go into life with an open mind and anything good that happens will be a happy surprise. At the same time, you’ll never be disappointed if things don’t work out because you never allowed yourself to worry about the future and hold expectations of how your life should turn out. By staying present, you stop comparing how your life used to be or how it could be, as you just live life as it’s happening.
- You stop waiting – How many of us are waiting for the “something better” to come along? We dream about the future and when things will be better, when we will have better heath, more money, better job, happier life etc. We believe the most important moment is still to come, yet now is the only important moment. Now is the time to enjoy life.
- You become grateful for each moment – Living in the present means you stop taking moments for granted and recognise that you should enjoy life while you can. Imagine waking up every day and asking yourself this question: “What would I do if today was my last?” Think about how you would treat your family, your colleagues and even strangers. Mentally list all the things you would do; the people you would call and the moments you would savour. Think how productive and excited you would be to live every moment to the maximum. You would start to focus on all the meaningful things in your life, and stop wasting your time on the trivial things that are dragging you down in life.
- You will improve your relationships – When we’re listening to another person, we’re often so busy thinking about what we’re going to say next, that we find ourselves not fully present and not focused on what the other person is saying to us. By being completely present and focused on the person in front of you, they will recognise you are truly listening to them and deeply appreciate it. You will often find that they will then return the same act and listen to you more mindfully when you speak, making your relationship to the other person stronger and more meaningful.
- You let go of worry – If you’re constantly worrying about the future, the truth is that’s going to be your future – constantly worrying about what’s happening next. In a way, you are sealing your own fate. By staying in the present moment, you recognise that each moment you spend worrying is another moment you’ve lost. Worrying doesn’t make anything better, in fact it only makes things worse, and no matter how much you worry it simply will not change the situation. Remember, if you can do something about the situation, you must, and if you can’t, then let it go.
- You will become so much more productive – Have you ever noticed how productive you feel when you turn off distractions and fully engage in the task at hand? Everything becomes so much easier and your ideas and work becomes effortless once you feel like you’re in “the zone”. Allowing yourself to be fully present and engaged in what you’re doing means things like work become a lot easier and you start to become a lot more productive. It also means you will find your work more enjoyable as you won’t be distracted with thoughts.
- You start to do something about it – An awful mistake so many of us make is dwelling on an unfavourable situation and doing nothing about it. By living in the moment, you can recognise that the more time you spend dwelling about a situation that happened in the past or worrying about the uncertainty of the future, the less time you’re giving yourself to do something about it. How do you expect things to get better or change if you don’t do anything? Remember, do not let the ambiguity and unknowns weigh down your present actions.
- Living in the present will make you happier – By being present, you’ll be able to enjoy anything you do as you’ll be more aware of experiences as they’re happening and that will make you more appreciative of them and happier overall. Even the most mundane tasks like house work starts to become therapeutic when you can fully engage with your senses. You become grateful for the small things in life and find that a beautiful sunset or clean sheets is all it takes to make you happy.
- You will make better choices – When making a decision you are able to assess the situation more clearly as your mind can completely focus on the problem as it unfolds. It also means you are more likely to be calm when making the decision, meaning the decision will be rational and thought through.
- You learn to make the present your friend – When you stumble across an undesirable situation that you cannot change, then all you can do is to try to learn to accept it and stay focused on the only thing you can control which is how you respond to it. The present moment is all we have, so we may as well try to work with it rather than against it. Make an active effort to do all you can to make the situation as comfortable as possible.
- You remember you are only alive in the present moment – So many of us constantly plan our lives ahead, always thinking about what’s next. While this is sometimes important, it is even more important to recognise that you are only alive in this moment, and if you live your life constantly planning for the future you will miss out on all the moments that are taking place right now.
- You learn to bring yourself back to the present – Whenever I catch myself thinking about the future or going over past events, I remind myself that by doing this I am only depriving myself of happiness and enjoying life as it is right now.
- The future does not exist – Tomorrow has not happened, tomorrow is not real. All that is real is now. This moment right here is the only moment that truly matters.
I hope you enjoyed this post and you can now see the amazing benefits of living in the moment.
Metta, E xx