5 Habits For Living in the Present Moment

5 Habits For Living in the Present Moment 1024 1024 dianeelizabeth

When I was a child, I remember feeling like every day was an adventure.  The air seemed fresh and everything was bright. I also remember a moment when I was about 12 years old where I noticed that feeling wasn’t as powerful as it used to be.

Looking back now, I realize the ease of childhood began to fade away when my ego took over.  I started to become self conscious and I would compare myself to others. Ultimately, I was relying on ego to determine my self-worth.  Today, as I write this, it is clear to me that I allowed ego to carry me through my youth and into adulthood; I just had no idea what was going on.

According to Dr. Wayne Dyer, the 6 components of the ego are the ideas that “I am what I have, I am what I do, I am what other people think of me, I’m separate from everybody else, I’m separate from what’s missing in my life, and I’m separate from God.”

I would like to add one more component of the ego to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s list –  I must control the future based on my past experiences.

Pinch yourself if you’ve ever been dominated by ego thinking.

If you didn’t pinch yourself, I challenge you to spend 30 minutes watching TV through the lens of the 7 components of the ego and you will quickly realize how advertising is speaking directly to egos.  It’s big business.

Ego thinking causes people to live in their heads rather than embracing life as it is unfolding.

Eckhart Tolle beautifully recommends, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.  Make the Now the primary focus of your life.”

The present moment is infinite and change is constant.  What you are experiencing in this current moment will soon change.  

If you’re ego has an opinion on this matter, it might have fear about the unknown and a desire to control the outcomes of whatever change might show up.  This desire to control the unknown is significant source of human suffering.

The fact of the matter is that your ego can’t control anything.  It simply causes you to think and act in ways that are motivated by fear.

Truly embracing the present moment is like making the decision to jump into a river and ride the waves.  You can’t see what lies ahead – it could be amazingly fun or very challenging to navigate. The truth of the matter is that it will always change and there will always be something you can learn.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as flipping a switch and deciding to live in the present moment.  We have lifelong habits and cultural influences that have conditioned us and it takes time and daily practice to re-write your habits.  

Here are 5 really easy habits I’ve found to be helpful in training yourself to embrace the present moment.  Just remember, habit formation takes time and repetition. When you feel like it’s not working, keep pushing on and you will realize it gets easier with time.  Also, don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day, or a bad week. Just start back up as soon as you realize you’ve fallen behind and keep practicing.

1. Wake up and go to sleep with gratitude

The moment you wake up, try to stop for a minute or two to count your blessings.  Blessing #1 could be your breath, the fact that you are alive and awake. At night, when you lay down to go to sleep, go through your list of blessings and add anything that happened that day that you are particularly thankful for.

Here are some interesting things to consider to get you started with your list of blessings:

  • The trees – trees consume carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we breathe.  What would this world be like without trees?
  • The earth’s perfect orbit around the sun  – How did this happen? If our earth was any closer to, or further from the sun, I wonder how different things would be here.
  • Running water – if you have running water in your home, consider how blessed you are.  There are still people on this planet who have a daily chore of going long distances to fetch water.  To be able to simply walk up to a sink and turn the handle to receive fresh water is a blessing created by human innovation.

2. Meditate at least once a day

This one has taken me over a year to embrace.  I used to judge meditation as this “woo woo” thing that New Agers were into.  I’ve spent countless hours learning about spirituality, inner peace, higher consciousness, awareness, etc. but I wasn’t putting the knowledge into practice.

I’ve recently realized that meditation is a powerful way to take a break from your habitual mind, or as Dr. Joe Dispenza calls it “your familiar past and your predictable future.”  If you are stuck in your head thinking about the same things you always think about and creating the same emotions you’ve always had, there is no way that you can taste the present moment.

Meditation takes practice and patience.  I am a novice, but I’m already seeing results of reduced stressful/anxious thoughts, happiness that is new and different, and a new kind of energy that allows me to engage with life in a more enriching way.  

Meditation can be challenging in the beginning.  It’s somewhat like starting an exercise routine, getting started is the hardest part, but you feel great afterwards.

I recommend learning about meditation from Dr. Joe Dispenza from the following resources:

3. Breathe through your emotions

Every day you will encounter situations or thoughts that create emotions that you may not want to experience.  One of the impactful insights I learned from Joe Dispenza’s book, Becoming Supernatural, is that many of the emotions we experience are habitual because of our daily routines and habits.  If we’ve been experiencing these emotions for years and years, our bodies are addicted to the chemicals/hormones we create when these thoughts / emotions are triggered.

Meditation (as stated above) is the most powerful way to break down the habit and create a new life, but you’ve also go to have a methodology for dealing with the emotions as they show up.  

I have found that returning to your breath the second you feel something negative is the easiest and most effective way to stay centered and remind yourself of who you are in this present moment.  Take at least 10 deep, cleansing breaths. Your breath is always with you, it’s free, it is your life source, and when you breath deeply your are activating your mind and energizing your body.

Performing this quick form of meditation will allow you to detach from the emotions you are feeling and allow them to pass so you can fully embrace life as it is unfolding in a healthy and peaceful way.

4. Savor the good

Whether you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one personally, or you’ve witnessed the pain and suffering of someone going through a loss – we all know that it’s the simple interaction between humans that is missed the most after a loss.  If we are stuck living in our heads (dwelling on the past or trying to control the future), we are missing out on these simple, beautiful moments in life that define how we experience love.

When you are experiencing something that makes you smile, savor it.  Become acutely aware of everything that you’re experiencing and allow the happiness to consume you.

My daughter is my world.  When I spend time with her, I try very hard to remember to be fully present with her (sometimes, if I had a long day, I have to kick myself into gear to do this).  

With children, it is incredible to watch how our energy directly impacts how they feel and behave.  If I am fully present with my daughter and savoring the moments with her, the joy and love we experience is amplified beyond description.  She gets so filled with energy that her happiness and joy becomes contagious for me and everyone around. When I think of savoring the good, I think of my daughter and how she beams with joy in those moments.

This is just one example of a moment to savor – there are countless moments every day that are worth savoring.

5. Deeply observe yourself and those around you

When you are with other people, try to do more than just interact with them at a superficial level.  If you practice this regularly (more like experiment with it), you will soon realize how directly your behaviors and energy impact other people in the present moment.

Try to make eye contact and smile at everyone you interact with for at least 3 seconds – and I mean EVERYONE – the cashier at a convenience store, the person you felt looking at you from car next to you, the person holding a sign asking for help, your family, your friends, your coworkers, etc.  See how this changes your day and how it impacts other people’s moods.

Another important practice is to listen deeply to what people say when they are talking.  Start by allowing them to finish talking without interrupting (which is hard for many of us), and then allow a few seconds of quiet before responding (which is likely hard for all of us).  During the silent time, the person might keep talking. As they are talking, listen to the choice of words they’re using, look at their body language, imagine what it’s like to live a day walking in their shoes.

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