Routines are awesome until that becomes all that you are. For a lot of people life is like that. Everything is on autopilot.
They’ve forgotten the power of being present in the moment.
These are the people that drive to work but couldn’t tell you what looked different that day.
They have no clue what anyone in traffic was doing.
They’re also the ones who couldn’t tell you the last thing a person said directly to them or when that little thing brightened their day.
What is the Meaning of Being Present?
Today we do so many things without thought or consideration. We’re taught to get as many things done in a day as possible. Whether we’re at work, church, or home, everyone who’s a great multitasker gets a gold star.
It’s this mindset that pushes us to run through our day to sense that feeling of accomplishment. But have you ever considered how many experiences and moments you miss doing that?
Being present requires going against the grain. It’s not just routine! Positive Psychology details that being present is about right here and right now. It requires the person to just be in the moment. That’s even why we are doing our daily task.
Often, we rush pass this minute for the next, because physically we’re doing something but mentally, we are already on to the next thing.
Why is it Important to be Present in the Moment?
In case it’s not already obvious, the importance of being present is about taking in life and savoring it. I had to learn how to do that. When you’ve been on checklist for most of your life, it takes a bit of deprogramming to get there.
A motivator is reflecting on all you’ve missed out on. The person on the morning drive may never appreciate the visual essence of the fall foliage or the spring blooms that nature paints on their daily drive.
The person eating that meal may miss out on the stimulation that different foods offer.
Another example is the individual that doesn’t catch that important sentiment being spoken by their loved one or the person who has finally gotten the courage to say they’re not having a good day.
Think about it. When we or a person says “Hello, how are you?” or “Good Morning”, the expected response is something like “good, thanks for asking”. Say anything other than that and the other person looks at you like there’s something on your face.
After all, we’re too busy or focused to say how we’re really doing or hear that from anyone else.
That attitude can change with the choice to intentionally pause and wait for a response.
How You Can Be Present in the Moment
There are several ways to achieve this, but the greatest is making a conscious decision to slow down! This will require purging and prioritizing.
The following are a few simple things that you can do to get started on your “in the moment” journey:
- Take a week or even a month and analyze what you do with your time.
- Remove anything from your schedule that is not adding value to your life.
- Prioritize your schedule whether mentally or in writing.
- Where possible place insignificant things at the bottom of your list or save them for a less busy day.
- Practice being in each moment.
- Become aware of routines that only use your physical yet allow your mind to be elsewhere. Reduce these activities.
- Do daily reflection. Look for the small things you notice in your day. This should increase over time.
To accomplish this, you must challenge yourself daily.
What Does it Mean to be Present for Someone?
As we learn to become more present in our own lives, we are better able to do the same for others.
It may appear that we are there because our physical bodies are present or we are carrying out a favor or task for someone, but the reality is we could be so far away.
Each instance it’s not necessarily the end of the world but there are those times when the other person is expecting us to be right there and nowhere else. Times like when a person needs a shoulder to cry on, the spouse that had the hardest day, or the child whose feelings got hurt at school.
The same absence we have for our own lives can be as detrimental in the lives of those that we care about. It can cause them to not come to us or want to spend quality time with us.
At the core of being present in the moment is mindfulness. It is making the decision to have on purpose thoughts and actions that align at each space of given time.
When you learn to live this way, you will no longer wait for the big bangs in life, but you will treasure every single instance.