All of our great teachers have told us to be present in our lives; all we have is what is offered to us in this moment. They tell us to live in the moment, emphasizing the power of now, over and over…. It is true that being present in our lives does contribute to our sustainable happiness!
Eckert Tolle, author of The Power of Now, connects living in the moment with sustainable happiness and explains how it helps us achieve our sustainable happiness. “For many of us there are new discoveries to be made along the way: we are not our mind; we can find our way out of psychological pain; authentic human power is found by surrendering to the Now. We also find out that the body is actually one of the keys to entry into a state of inner peace, as are the silence and space all around us. Indeed, access is everywhere available. These access points, or portals, can all be used to bring us into the Now, the present moment, where problems do not exist. It is here we find our joy and are able to embrace our true selves. It is here we discover that we are already complete and perfect.”
Having spent much of my life in academia, I had, until recently, found myself in the position of always thinking ahead. What paper is due? When? What do I have to read? By when? How long until this semester is over? When am I going to finish? When am I going to make money? Is all of this education going to be worth it after all? I was never in the moment because I was trained to always be somewhere else.
There came a time when I said to myself, “Is living in the moment really worth all of the hype it gets?” And I set out to train myself how to live in the moment. I invented a strategy for myself and found great results that have left me with living in the moment most of the time. The strategy I invented is outlined for you in the exercises section on the next page. It took me six months of constant practice, but eventually I was living in the moment. When I realized I was living in the moment 100% of the time, I felt an enormous stress lift from my shoulders. I have never gone back to living in anything but the moment! One of my former happiness coaching clients gave me this wonderful testimonial when I asked her if she was living in the moment after our coaching has ended:
“Whenever I feel worry or fear (which used to be an almost constant state), and notice it, I catch myself breathing in the blue of the ocean and out the white of the waves, and focusing on the core of my body as an open channel. I feel my consciousness more present deep within. Most of the time, now, since working with Aymee, it seems the worry and fears are a distant memory. I really noticed it recently when I flew without the slightest fear. That's a true test for me, because I used to always experience some anxiety with flying. It's more of a challenge to describe being present in the moment than it is to just "be" it. When I focus on the scripture, "Peace, be still," it really seems to help too! I find that now I feel lighter, more grateful and peaceful. Everything seems more profound. I'm WAY less stressed, and well-being is an almost constant state now, even when I know my body is tired and I have a lot to do.”
I really want to communicate to you that living in the moment is possible for you and everyone. It is not just for spiritual gurus who write books about it!
Here are some exercises you can do over time to learn living in the moment. Please do them, start living in the moment and watch out! Your happiness will sky rocket and your stress will decrease beyond your imagination!
1) If you notice yourself thinking about something in the future, such as a decision you have to make, directions you have find, a phone call you have to make, etc. then schedule a time 10 minutes before you absolutely must make that decision. This way, you know you will address the issue and you know when you will address the issue and it does not permeate every moment of your life.
2) If you notice yourself preoccupied with something in the past or future that is not an ‘action item’ like #1, then reel back your thinking like a fishing rod so you can be back in the moment. It helps to visualize the fishing rod being reeled in. When you see the fishing rod come back to you, use your senses to get that precious gift that is offered to us in each moment.
3) If you are bored in the moment or don’t like being in that moment for whatever reason, use all of your senses to get every possible morsel out of the experience – thinking, learning, appreciating, whatever that moment has to offer. Then express gratitude for what is being offered to you in the moment.
4) Realize that all of your appointments are tentative and you can reschedule them any time. People generally understand if the timing just is not right and you have to reschedule.
Remember it takes time, persistence, and patience to actually achieve living in the moment. When it happens, it is worth it and you will never go back to not living in the moment!
If you need more help learning to live in the moment, Visit my Self-Help Store for more tools!
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Dr. Aymee Coget, a widely-known happiness expert, has more than 15 years of experience in positive psychology. Through the Happiness Makeover™, a program developed by Coget, she teaches people how to achieve happiness and handle life's challenges. She also serves as CEO and founder of the American Happiness Association, a science-backed nonprofit designed to educate individuals and organizations about how to be happier, and was nominated for CNN Hero of the Year in 2011.