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21 Ways To Live In The Moment And Be Happy Right Now - Happier Human

21 Ways To Live In The Moment And Be Happy Right Now

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Living in the present moment isn’t always easy, is it?  Our schedules are so busy and hectic that it seems like there is always something coming up that we need to prepare for or anticipate.  And thanks to social media, our lives are so well documented, that it’s hard to let go of the past.

With our hectic schedules, endless to-do lists and growing number of responsibilities, it’s easy to see why so many people are walking around stressed and unhappy.  We’re often worried about the future or thinking about the past.

But what if we could slow our lives down a bit, and really be mindful of what is happening right now at this very moment.  When we live in the moment, we can decrease our stress, and improve our ability to deal with other emotions like sadness or anger, leading to a happier more joyful life.

So how do you live in the moment anyway?  Living in the present moment means no longer worrying about what happened in the past and not fearing what will happen in the future. It means enjoying what’s happening now and living for today.  Here are 21 ways you can start living in the moment and be happy right now.

1. Live In The Now

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You can live in the moment and take everything as they happen.

It’s easy to dwell on the negatives of the past or worry about the future.  If you can live in the moment and take in everything as they happen, you’ll discover joys that are often overlooked.  There are joys of watching your child play, the smell of coffee at the local coffeehouse, the conversation with your friend across the table (instead of checking Facebook) and the smell of rain.  Relish and embrace these moments.

2. Live With Intention

Many of us go through each day reacting to whatever comes up.  Instead of doing what we really want to do, we end up doing what we have to do just to get through it.  We’re not living with intention.  Living intentionally means identifying your core values and beliefs and then living by them.  When you identify your core values, live by them everyday.  That way you can filter all of your decisions through those values. 

3. Simplify Your Life

We’re bombarded with a lot of stuff, most of it we don’t need.  What if you get rid of all the extraneous stuff that you don’t need and only keep the things that give you joy.  A lot of things we hold on to are from the past. One thing you can ask yourself as you go through everything is this:  “Has this item served its purpose?”  If it has, you can feel confident that you are doing the right thing by getting rid of it.

4. Keep A Gratitude Journal

Keep it simple and each day write 1-3 things you are grateful for in the morning and in the evening.  It will allow you to see more joy and beauty in your days.  A lot of people focus on what they don’t have, or complain all day.  When you focus on the positive, no matter how small, you attract more positive.

5. Meditate

Meditation can prevent overthinking.  It can also help slow down a busy mind.  If your brain goes “a mile a minute” with thoughts, especially when you’re laying in bed, try meditation.  It will bring you a sense of calmness by helping you control your thoughts and emotions.  A great place to start is to do a mindful body scan.  Body scanning involves paying attention to parts of the body and any sensations that you’re feeling.  Start with your toes, and focus your attention on one part of your body at a time.

Pay attention to how that area is feeling and notice any sensations that you are experiencing.  After a few moments of focused attention, move up to the next part of your body (i.e., after your toes, focus on your feet, then ankles, then calves, etc.). By mentally scanning yourself, you bring awareness to every single part of your body, noticing any aches, pains, tension, or general discomfort.  And it’s a great way to focus on the present.

6. Unplug

Many of us have FOMO (fear of missing out).  We’ve all seen the couple at a restaurant and instead of paying attention to each other, they’ve got their smartphones out scrolling Facebook, or messaging someone else.  That’s inconsiderate of the person across the table from you.  I’m guilty of this too.  Make a commitment to leave your phones behind during meal time and by present with the people you’re eating with. 

You can make a game at it if you’re eating out at a restaurant with a group of friends.  You can all put your phones in the center of the table (on airplane mode of course – you don’t want a bunch of dinging notifications).  The first person that reaches for their phone pays the entire bill.

7. Eat Mindfully

Mindful eating is paying attention to what you’re eating. Many of us eat in a rush or on the go.  How many times have you eaten lunch at your desk while working or eat in the car driving from one appointment to the next?  Life isn’t a race.  Slow down and enjoy your food.  By the same token, we often eat dinner in front of a TV or while we’re scrolling our smartphones.  We’re putting food into our mouths, almost unconsciously, and aren’t really enjoying what we’re eating. 

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Eating mindfully will help you enjoy the food you are eating and you will notice your thoughts, feelings and sensations.

When you eat mindfully, you notice your thoughts, feelings and sensations.  Some ways to eat more mindfully are to put your utensils down after each bite, aim to chew eat bite a certain number of times, unplug while you eat your meal – no smartphones or television.  Really be aware of the look, taste and smell of the foods that you’re eating.

8. Take A Friend To Lunch

I get it.  You’re busy.  I’m busy.  We’re all busy!  But when you get towards the end of your life, do you know what you’ll remember most?  The people in your life and the experiences you shared.  Not that you worked 80 hours a week.  As human beings, we need connection.  So make the time to connect with a friend and take them to lunch.  And while you’re at it, follow tip #6 – unplug from your phone and be completely present with them.

9. Call Your Friends More Often

Yes, we’re in an era where it’s easier to send a quick text, email or Facebook message, however a phone call is more meaningful and you can have a deeper conversation (and connection).

10. Forgive

We can forgive for a better life by focusing on what we can be thankful for in a situation where a person has harmed us. This is tough, especially when the harm was life altering. However, if we can look for the good that came out of the situation, it can help us to forgive and heal.

11. Stop Worrying

Try to remember that worrying today won’t change what happens tomorrow. Every second you spend in worry about the future is a second of the present wasted.  If you are facing an uncertain or troubling future, focus on ways you can solve an existing problem now or otherwise improve the current moment.

12. Perform Random Acts Of Kindness

Perform a selfless act for someone else without expecting anything in return.  Through your generosity, you can positively affect another person’s life and bring joy to yourself from having done so.  It can be giving a care package to the homeless, handing out roses to random strangers or buying someone in line a cup of coffee.  Doing a random act of kindness not only helps you live in the moment, but improves that moment for you and someone else.

13. Practice Yoga

Yoga allows you to learn to appreciate yourself through physical movement and exploration of the body. You’ll learn to savor your body’s health, intelligence, grace, and beauty. Yoga is the union of mind, body, and soul and you can be thankful everyday that you can participate in such a practice.

14. Take A Nature Walk

There may not be a better way to live in the moment than to get outside and take a nature walk. And do it totally unplugged so you’re not distracted by email, texts and social media. The benefits are pretty obvious, right?  It’s good exercise and can relieve stress.  But you can also develop a connection with nature, especially when you use all 5 senses during your walk.  Smell a flower.  Dip your toes in a pond.  Listen to the rustle of the leaves or the roaring river. 

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There may not be a better way to live in the moment than to get outside and take a nature walk.

This is your chance to experiment “being in nature anyway you want.”  And if your mind begins to wander with extraneous thoughts, gently re-focus on the present moment of being in nature.

15. Visualize goals

Visualizing your goals is an excellent strategy for not only making it more likely that you will follow through on your goals, it can also help you become more mindful on a regular basis.  Slow your mind down, and visualize yourself undertaking and completing each goal. Get as much detail as you can in your visualization, so it feels real and within your reach.

16. Say Affirmations

Saying affirmations helps us to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. We have beliefs about ourselves that, if we changed, we would take more risks, overcome our self-imposed limitations and enjoy life more.  Practice saying affirmations daily, and be completely present when doing so.

17. Celebrate Daily Wins

Be thankful for your successes.  Each evening, before you go to bed, write down all that you have accomplished that day.  They can be big or small.  You went to the gym.  You ate a healthy breakfast.  You got together with a friend.  When you write all your winds down, you’ll begin to realize how many there are and then you can savor these successes rather than thinking about what you didn’t accomplish.

18. Appreciate The Simple Things In Life

Trying to figure out what you’re grateful for can seem overwhelming if you’re only focusing on big things.  That usually only leads to worrying about things that you don’t have.  What about the simple things in life?  That cup of coffee this morning.  The bed you woke up in.  That beautiful butterfly you saw on your walk.  What about your ability to walk?  Not everyone has that capability.  We tend to overlook the simple things in life, and take other things for granted.  Don’t!  

19. Smile

A lot of people don’t smile these days, and often you have to be the one that initiates it.  But not only does smiling make you feel good, smiling at someone will make their day too.  Smile more and watch how your day can instantly turn around.  While you’re at it, give compliments too.  Be sincere – find something about the person that you appreciate and let them know.

20. Say Hello

Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  Well let me tell you a story.  In July of 2014, I took a trip to Guatemala to help build schools.  One thing that really stood out to me was how friendly everyone was to me. I was a complete stranger in a different country.  And on our walks, everytime I passed someone they would say hello. 

When I returned to the States, I became really aware that many of us don’t take the time to say hello to other people, whether it’s on the sidewalk, in hallway, or even in an elevator.  Most people seem to walk with their heads down, looking at their phone, typing messages or scrolling.  Look up and appreciate your surroundings.  And say hello to other people. 

21. Play The Gratitude Alphabet Game

We talked about gratitude earlier in tip #4.  But I want to introduce you to the gratitude alphabet game.  This is a great way to live in the moment and be happy right now, especially if you have a wandering mind and tend to worry about the future. 

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Playing the gratitude alphabet game will help you focus on the things you are currently grateful for instead of worrying about other things in your life.

For many of us, we have a mind that won’t shut off when our head hits the pillow at night.  So this would be the perfect time to play the gratitude alphabet game.  Here’s how it works: Go through the alphabet and think about 1 thing you’re grateful for that begins with each letter of the alphabet, beginning with the letter A, working your way to B, C, D, etc and continuing all the way through Z.  You’ll be focusing on all the you are currently grateful for instead of worrying about other things in your life.

I hope you found something on this list to apply in your own life so you can live in the moment and be happy right now.  You don’t have to do them all.  They key is to be mindful of what’s going on around you right now.  So pick one or 2 of these on the list and practice them daily.  The more you do them, the better you’ll get at being mindful and living in the present.

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Scott Colby is an adventure lover who has always created businesses around his passions. Although he has spent over a decade in the fitness industry, helping people create transformations, it was a trip to Guatemala that inspired him to create his latest brand – Say It With Gratitude.