Let me start by saying I find the title of this blog to be extremely obnoxious. We talk about “living in the moment” as though there is some magical state of being in which we soak every ounce of meaning and appreciation out of each minute of each day.
Big announcement – my husband and I are expecting our first child in June. When people find out, they always offer a hearty congratulations followed by something to the effect of “Better enjoy that sleep while you can!” or “Appreciate every moment! It won’t last.”
While I enjoy the sentiment and I don’t doubt its truthfulness, the pressure to “appreciate harder!” during this pregnancy is getting a little insane.
Needless to say, I’ve given a lot of thought recently to “living in the moment” and have found these three tips to be helpful:
1. Engage Fully
We feel so pressured to do multiple tasks at a time, but I’ve found that fully engaging with whatever it is I’m doing has helped me appreciate the “little things.” For example, when you sit down to eat lunch, don’t feel the need to be also scrolling through your email or catching up on the news. It’s been helpful for me to devote my whole self to doing an enjoyable or relaxing task for a shorter period of time than to try to split my attention.
2. Avoid the Count Down
Do you ever feel like you live from one big milestone to the next? I began feeling like I was living from one countdown to another. “I just have to get through the holidays” then “I just have to get through to the Spring” etc…When we get into this linear way of thinking, we forget to look around and enjoy what’s happening now. One of my favorite quotes is “Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain” and I try to think about that daily.
3. Practice Daily Reflection
I’ve tried to devote a minute or two before I go to bed to thinking through the events of the day. Not by re-hashing the problems that occurred, or second-guessing my actions and decisions, but by finding the happiness and the joy in what happened. It’s hard, and sometimes I don’t want to find the time to make happen, but it’s worth it in the end.
Finally, let’s not put so much pressure on ourselves to live each and every moment to the fullest. Once I stepped back and stopped trying to “appreciate harder,” I was free to enjoy the small things while looking forward to all the new experiences still to come.
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