How to live in the present

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Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift – and that’s why it’s called the present. Taking time to smell the roses – or even notice them – can seem like an impossible dream in modern life.


Technology is fast consuming our lives, sending us in an endless loop of taking phone calls, shooting off texts, following up emails and posting on social media. And that’s on top of all the regular things like holding down a job, running a family, seeing friends, and being a part of your community.


But this around-the-clock tech addiction means we rarely stay present long enough to savour the special or even simple moments in our lives.


To combat this, we’ve prepared an IRL (In Real Life) tool kit to help you make the most of every day.


Just make sure you turn off your phone before beginning.


  1. Start by being physically present. Regularly check in and ask yourself questions like: “Where am I right now”?


  1. Open your ears. Listen to your surroundings and take in everything that you hear, from the sound of birds chirping, to the crunch of your shoes on gravel, and the wind whooshing through the trees. Don’t think about them, just take them in.


  1. Take yourself to your happy place, in your mind of course. While we’d all like to jet off to Hawaii we’d all have to come back eventually and face our day-to-day. But if you can visualise what it’s like, what it looks like, what it feels like, what it smells like – see how relaxed and present you feel.


  1. Complete a mindful body scan. Get comfortable in a seated position or lying down, and slowly scan every part of your body from the feet up. Bring awareness to any sensations you are experiencing, whether it’s pain, tingling, tension, warmth or tightness. Do this for about five minutes. Again, don’t think deeply about them or worry about these feelings. Just experience them.


  1. Choose a colour and look for everything around you in that colour. Try to find at least eight things.


  1. Become aware of your breath. A common practice in yoga, this involves concentrating on how deep or shallow, long or short your breaths are. The technique helps bring you into the present and promotes a sense of calm.


  1. Mind your thoughts. What’s running through your head? Is it the bills you need to pay, the latest work stress or the chores piling up at home? Try and distance yourself from this inner chatter and simply observe the mind in action. Removing the word “next” from your conversations and thoughts can also bind you to the moment of ‘right now’. Imagine there is no next appointment, next event or next task.


  1. Do the 3,2,1 – three things you can see, two things you can hear, one thing you can smell.


The list may seem overwhelming, but just do what works for you. After all, dragging your mind back to the present is one of the keys to staying healthy and happy. It helps fight anxiety, cuts down on worries, and keeps you grounded and connected.


So, don’t miss out on what’s happening right now!


Photo credit: @jareddrice

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