- If only everyone knew how to live in the moment, the world would be a way more exciting place…
- How to live in the the moment when there’s so much stress?
- Mental Health Benefits of Mindfulness & Living in the Moment
- How to live in the moment by using mindfulness
- One technique to live in the moment and to be Now is to mimic.
- Mimicking Exercise for Letting Go & Living in the Moment
- But how does mimicking help in real life?
- More tips to live in the moment
If only everyone knew how to live in the moment, the world would be a way more exciting place…
Life is lived in moments; so why continue to think of the past or future? The key to Life is always now, and never then.
Take a moment to just stop.
And answer this one question: what are you thinking about?
Odds are you’re thinking about a lot. Work, relationships, family life. . . these modern days of demands, expectations, rules and structure often feel as though they’re custom built to keep our minds distracted by something. Rarely if ever do we truly live in the moment. The vast majority of us (if not all of us) feel unable to find enough freedom from pressure and stress to create the inner stillness and calmness to allow ourselves to live fully in the moment.
How to live in the the moment when there’s so much stress?
It’s a valid question. When there are so many stresses how can I live in the moment?
If we are to take control of the stress and pressure we feel, we must learn to separate ourselves from our thoughts, to free ourselves from those concerns about work, relationships and life. We need to learn that whilst we might have a job we are not our jobs. We need to learn that whilst we might have relationships, we are not our relationships. We need to learn that whilst we might have thoughts, we are not our thoughts.
To do this, we need to cultivate a mentality of mindfulness, the mentality of an open mind, where we observe our thoughts without judging or grasping at them, but simply being aware of them. When we stop grasping at our thoughts, they slip through our minds with the ease of water, loosening their grip on us, allowing us to live in the moment.
Mental Health Benefits of Mindfulness & Living in the Moment
The mental health benefits of mindfulness have been written and spoken about a great deal over the last few years, but to give some highlights.
Mindfulness reduces stress, boosts immune system functioning, lowers blood pressure, reduces chronic pain, helps with cancer, lowers the risk of heart disease, makes people happier, more exuberant, more secure and more empathetic, improves self esteem, helps fight depression and helps improve relationships. And this is just a snapshot of the health benefits of mindfulness.
Most important to this article, however, is the fact that mindfulness loosens the grip our thoughts have on us and allows us to focus on the present, ultimately allowing us to live in the moment. And when you live in the moment you will be mentally strong and happy.
How to live in the moment by using mindfulness
You’ll find articles on meditation for mindfulness all over the internet (including this site), but here let’s look at some of the less frequently discussed exercises, beginning with an exercise used in by actors to help them perform more freely and to be more creative. exercises are all used in arts to help performers and artists let go, be more spontaneous and, as a result, more creative. All the exercises are a lot of fun and will provide immediate health and performance benefits as well as helping you to live in the moment.
One technique to live in the moment and to be Now is to mimic.
I used to ask “How can I live in the moment?” And “how can I be Now”. But then I attended drama school.
Yup, drama school.
When I attended drama school several years ago, and during my time as a professional actor, our group would frequently use mimicking exercises in order to make us work on impulse, to take control of ourselves away from our thoughts (by mimicking someone else’s actions) and to live in the moment.
Physical movements are one of the main ways in which people feel self conscious. No other place illustrates this more than the dance floor.
Likely we all know what it’s like to feel awkward standing on a dance floor. “I look like a fool,” we think. “How am I supposed to move my arms?” “ Why are people looking at me?”
In reality, its very unlikely that people are actually looking at us when we’re dancing, or that they really care what we look like dancing. Unless we are either extremely attractive or really, really, really bad dancers, the odds are that ninety-nine percent of people on the dance floor are too busy worrying about what they themselves look like to care about anyone else. And the other 1% are those with a healthy degree of mindfulness, who are aware of how other people are dancing but in a non-judgmental, accepting way. And to a large degree we all recognise this face, yet we still get nervous.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to distance ourselves from those feelings of insecurities is to pay less attention to how we ourselves are moving and a lot more attention to how other people are moving, and the best way to do that is by mimicking.
Of course, the average person is going to feel more than a little awkward if you stand in front of them mimicking their every move. That’s why this exercise should be done at home.
Mimicking Exercise for Letting Go & Living in the Moment
This exercise is extremely simple and a lot of fun. Essentially, all we need to do is to put a DVD in the player and begin to watch a scene in slow motion. The best scenes to use here are ones that include a range of physical movements. You could use a dance scene, a fighting scene or any other scene with movements.
Choose the character / person in the movie who you will be mimicking an begin by focussing on one part of their body. This could be either leg, an arm, just a shoulder, or they’re face.
Pay very close attention to this part of the person’s body and simply copy their movements as accurately as you can. As you do this, you will begin to feel as though your movements are being controlled not by your thoughts but by the other person. This is fantastic as it not only takes control away from our thoughts, helping us to let go, but it makes us feel more closely connected to the other person too and helps us to live in the moment (by connecting our actions to something outside ourselves).
Once you begin to feel comfortable mimicking this one body part, extent the area you are mimicking. So, if you were copying the person’s right leg, include their left leg too, or if you were copying their face, now include their shoulders, neck and head.
Continue in this way until you are mimicking their whole body, and once you get comfortable with this, increase the playback speed on the DVD until it is playing at the normal rate.
But how does mimicking help in real life?
Having done this exercise, you will now recognise that you can quite quickly relax by focussing on something outside of yourself and by mimicking someone else’s movements. The next time you are on the dance floor and feeling self-conscious, allow yourself to copy some small part of another person’s movement. You may, for instance, mimicking another dancer’s shoulder and in doing so you will help yourself to relax, to let go, and to live in the moment. Just make sure you don’t constantly stare at the other person otherwise you’ll likely offend them!
More tips to live in the moment
1) Consider the benefits of escaping your thoughts and living in the present moment.
It’s worth taking five minutes right now to consider all the ways in which living in the moment would be of benefit to you. Living in the moment will make you more alert, more aware, less preoccupied with thoughts and more active.
One of the best ways how to overcome your thoughts is to be aware of the benefits of doing so.
Think about the last time you really lived in the moment. It was probably when something truly awesome was happening in your life. Or it might have been during a time of intense fear.
Both extreme happiness and extreme fear make you live now. Just consider the last time you made love. I bet you lived completely in the moment. Your thoughts were silenced. You were living in a state of pure bliss. Well, if it was good sex, I mean. If not, you might have actually been full of negative thoughts about yourself or about the person you were with. But if you were really making love, spiritual love, then you would have been living completely in the moment, right?
When you escape your thoughts you live inn the here and now. And when you live in the here and now you actually enjoy your life instead of being full of thoughts of what was, what will be, and so one. You actually enjoy life.
It’s pretty amazing how much more enjoyable life is when you escape your thoughts. Think about the benefits. It will motivate you to actually put your thoughts aside. And that is the first and maybe the best way how to escape your thoughts. But there are more.
2) Consider how vitality would benefit YOU
Having understood the value of vitality, begin to question how much more positive your own life would be if you had a heightened level of vitality. What practical benefits would you see?
How would your life be better once you escape your thoughts? When you living with vitality, with zest, with a zen-sational sort of vigor, how much better would your life be?
Let’s think of an example. Right now you might be sitting at the computer thinking about a possible future. Maybe you’re looking forward to being the type of person you want to be. Maybe you’re imagining your future. Problem is if you’re imagining your future you’re not really living with vitality. Now imagine if you stopped thinking too much. Forget your future. Just live now. Would that make now better? And if you make now better, wouldn’t the future be better too?
Have vitality. Vomit out energy into this miraculous thing called the present moment. Explode on the scene, on the now. Get out your damn head and live right now. That’s the key.
Look for some opportunities to do some artistic improvisation. If you play an instrument then make up some tunes on the spot. Or you could try some acting improvisation, comedy improvisation or even freestyle rapping! Just have fun and create anything on the spot.
So many people live like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day (remember that movie?). They wake up. Live their lives on rewind. Same day. Same old day. Same damn day every damn time. Kill the repetition.
Novelty is one of the most important parts of neurological health. You want to make your mind stronger, step one is to get out of the rut. Break the rewind button on your life.
Can be tricky though. Your mind gets into habits. That’s why one of the most important daily habits is to do something novel. Something different.
Thing is. How do you do something different? Your mind is your mind. It thinks in the same way every day right? How do you change that?
I use two strategies. One: improvise. Look for any opportunity to do something different.
Two: Ask a friend. Go up to a close friend (or just share this on Facebook, have them read this, then discuss). Now ask them, “What is the one thing I would never do that would actually be good for me”. In other words, what is one thing they think you would never do, and make sure it’s something that is beneficial for you. Now when they tell you what to do you will naturally not want to do it. This is massively important. You will not want to do it because their suggestion will interrupt your idea of yourself. Your mind will think “This isn’t me. I’m not doing it”. The entire point, however, is to open your mind. And to do that you need to force yourself to do the thing your friend suggests (provided it does logically benefit you). If you do this it will revolutionise you. That is a Pauly-Promise.
4) Be spontaneous
Similar to improvising, look for opportunities in your life to be spontaneous (just don’t do it when driving or when it could put you in danger!) Talk to random people, take new routes to work etc.
I really can’t overstate how important novelty is to you brain. You know how your body takes in fresh air and that fresh air keeps your body healthy? Same with the mind. But to the mind, air is info and actions. You need fresh info and fresh actions. One of the best ways how to have a healthy brain is to do new things every day. In fact if there is one thing I want you to take away from this article it’s that. Force yourself to new stuff every single day.
I personally use a habit tracking app called HabitBull. HabitBull basically let’s you set and record your daily habits. My most important habit in HabitBull… well actually there are two. The first is to beat a fear every single day. The second is to force myself to do something new every day. Could be anything. Really doesn’t matter what it specifically is. It might be talking to a stranger. It might be giving money to a charity I’ve not given to before. It might be trying a new form of exercise. Could be anything. All that matters is that it’s new.
Newness (novelty) is the key.
5) Play with yourself!
Kids have great vitality levels and of all the things kids love to do, pulling faces is perhaps the oldest and most popular. So, you know what to do! Starts pulling faces, laughing out loud, being silly and having fun.
If you want to escape your thoughts and to live with vitality start playing around. Just messing.
I don’t mean actually playing a game here, by the way. I basically just mean being fun in life. Fun is so important. It’s funny how when we get old we forget to have fun. Actually no it isn’t funny, it’s sick. Society forces you to be a machine and to work for the man. Well, the man can go and f**k himself as far as I’m concerned. I live for me. And for me to be happy and to live with vitality I have to have fun.
Go be merry. Have a laugh. Never underestimate the importance of fun.
6) Break rules
Try to challenge the rules in your life. For instance, if you don’t think you’re very athletic just go out for a run anyway; you’ll find it very uplifting. Or be playful with your partner. Try to do things different and again, just have fun.
So obviously it is the oldest cliche in the book but the rules were made to be broken.
But let’s get much more specific than that. If you want to live with vitality you need to break the rules of your own mind. You know all those things you would never let yourself do? Maybe there are some people you won’t speak to because you don’t get along with them. Urgghhh. That’s a little shallow minded, aint it? How about we change that? How about we break that rule of your own mind? Go talk to those people you would never talk to. It will open your mind.
Break your own rules and you will live freely and with vitality. And you will also escape your thoughts.
7) Tell others to join in
Exercises like these are always more fun with at least a couple of people, so tell some friends about the exercises and get them to join in too!
So, with that in mind let me do the obvious self promotional thing. Share this article right now and get your friends to join in with this. It’s a win / win. You help our site grow by sharing our articles. And you get your friends involved with this, which will help you out too. Total win / win.
I hope this answers the question “How can I live in the moment’ and “How to be now?” As always, if you have any ideas to share, please leave a comment. Thanks.