I always try to live in the moment. Sure, there are many times my mind wanders to worries about the future and regrets of the past. But I’ve learned that actively trying to appreciate the present moment is a powerful tool when it comes to living a grateful and purposeful life. Efforts to live in the present can take many forms:
- Mindful Eating: For me, this means try to eat slowly and truly enjoy the flavor of each bite of food. It’s about appreciating the time and effort that went into growing, harvesting, and preparing the food. Good food is one of the truest pleasures in this life. I am immensely grateful that I am able to eat and digest most foods (which wasn’t always the case), so I try to appreciate that blessing as much as possible.
- Active Listening: Paying attention to what a person is saying and truly HEARING the words that come out of their mouth is important to me. There is nothing more annoying than trying to have a meaningful conversation with someone who doesn’t seem to be paying attention. Understanding a person’s lived experience can only come from listening to what they are trying to share. This means trying to take in what they are saying without judgement, keeping eye contact, and validating their feelings with actions (such as nodding and timely comments). Asking questions is also a great way to show that you are actively listening. Meaningful conversation is important to me because I want to better understand how people feel and connect with them.
- Meditation: Dealing with anxiety and pain (related to my chronic illnesses) is not always an easy task, but meditation is another tool I use to try to stay in the present moment. Whether this means listening to music, using a visualization technique, or focusing on my breathing, meditation helps me deal with the more unpleasant moments in my life. I like to diffuse or apply relaxing essential oils, like lavender to help ground myself as well. (Visit Apothecary of the Earth to learn more about Young Living Essential Oils). I also turn to prayer in my lowest moments. It can be a truly powerful coping strategy.
- Vocalizing Gratitude: Telling people how much I love, appreciate, or admire them is something that I always try to do. I have so many amazing blessings in my life and I want to make sure that I vocalize my gratitude for them. It is wonderful to have gratitude in your heart, but it’s even better when you can express your gratitude in words. I try to thank people for the little things as well: a wonderfully cooked meal, a gesture of kindness, a lovely experience. Life is full of wonderful moments and trying to appreciate them out loud can highlight meaning.
The world can be an incredibly fast-paced and often superficial place. It can all get overwhelming pretty quickly. But trying to living in the here and now can really make a difference. The way you think can change the way you live. May everyone be given the gift of the present this holiday season!