It is too easy to reflect on the past and far too frequent that we ponder our unpredictable futures. The present is the most difficult tense to fully appreciate, understand and enjoy. The past has already happened, the future is going to happen, but the present is what is always happening. How can we live in the moment and embrace what is always happening without letting the past or the future get in the way too much?
- Put down your phone for five minutes. Tune into your surroundings. Don’t take a picture so that you can Instagram it, and do not send your friends a Snapchat to show them what you are up to. Stop being one with your smartphone and start being one with your environment.
- Say, “so what?” when thoughts about the future creep into your mind. Anything that could happen to you in the next few minutes, months or years does not matter to you right now. It will take you out of the present, so no matter what notions of the future you have, just disregard them and pretend like you do not care (you can care later, but for now you are living in the moment.
- Hug somebody and take some serious mental notes about the entire interaction. What was the fabric of the shirt they were wearing? How did their body feel when it was pressed to yours? Did you have your arms around their neck or their waist? Do you feel comfortable? Are the two of you compatible for hugs? Really absorbing what it feels like to have physical human interaction puts you in that moment and makes the situation even more sincere than it already was.
- Write a letter to your future self about who you are right now. From favorite song, current weight, most used catchphrase, favorite food, worst nightmare, biggest hope, favorite friend, celebrity crush – just write everything you are thinking and feeling in that moment.
- Take a walk outside. Do not bring music, do not bring headphones. This way, you can let your atmosphere serve as the perfect “in the now playlist.” Pan your eyes as if they were taking a panoramic photograph. Now look high, look low, look to your left and to your right. Start inhaling deeply so that you can capture the smells surrounding you.
- Lie down somewhere (in your bed, in a field, in a pool) and just look up. Tell yourself that although everything in the present is dynamic and constantly moving, you are staying still for a moment and absorbing everything.
- Do not live as if you are dying, but instead live like today is your first day on Earth. Be explorative, curious and excited about everything that comes your way.
- Ask your loved ones how their day is going, and remind them how much you appreciate their presence in your live. Living in the now does not always mean living for yourself; in fact, a lot of the time it can mean feeling grateful and happy for what you have in this moment after gaining perspective from other people.