Life is a long journey, however if we spend too much of it focusing on future plans, goals and fears, we won’t leave much time left in the day to just enjoy and experience it.
Today, in February, I was going through my calendar and organising annual leave for weddings, holidays and more right up until December. I got so caught up in thinking about what was coming up and how excited I was for it, I forgot to reflect on the time and all the hours that were flying by.
I spent the week dreaming I was back travelling like this time last week.
I spent the days wishing I could be home so I could write.
I haven’t fully appreciated three whole days so far this week by focusing on the past, future and wishing away the hours, and by doing it, I am missing opportunities to be as happy as I can be.
We only experience moments once. We might have lovely memories to reminisce. We might have future dreams to imagine over and over again, but they are emotions that have been or are to come. They are not now.
Daily life becomes much more enjoyable if we are mindful about what we are doing. If we experience each moment rather than floating through yet another day like a well rehearsed routine.
There are several ways to help you stay present and live in the now:
- Stop, breath and smile
How often do you just take a moment to stop. Right now I want you to just look up, take a deep slow breath, and smile. A big cheesy over the top smile, even if it feels unnatural.
Too much of our day is spent in autopilot. Making breakfast, getting dressed, taking the same commute with the same radio station, washing the dishes. We must zone out for at least 20% of the time.
So try your hardest to stop during these daily routines just for a second, and take a minute to mix up and enjoy what you are doing. Focus on how good that coffee tastes. Enjoy the scenery on your drive to work or the song on the radio. Just take a deep breath, and appreciate it all.
- Focus on today, not yesterday
It is far too easy to enjoy life more in retrospect. To think how great that one weekend adventure was. How easy your old job role was to do on a daily basis.
If you are still dreaming of last week, you have missed a whole seven days of opportunities to do something enjoyable that you can reflect on.
Take this chance to enjoy every little moment. It might not be a margarita in the sun, but it is you time, with your favourite book, and it’s pretty damn good.
- Stop comparing yourself
This is such a big trap and easy to fall into. Stop wishing you were experiencing the lives of others. Social media makes this kind of voyeuristic living almost second nature now. But it shouldn’t be.
People are experiencing their lives, and you are experiencing yours. Don’t feel bad if you are not doing what they are. You don’t want to get old and have memories filled of other peoples experiences now do you?
Embrace the good in your day. The grass is always greener.
- Think now, not what if or what might
So you find out that your car has been making a weird noise. So you take it to the garage.
Do you spend this whole time worrying about potential issues, and planning for upcoming scenarios?
If this is a yes, you have lost many hours worrying about what might be. This is a hard one, but it is incredibly important to face issues as they arise, and take steps to solve them, and not worry and solve countless potential issues in your mind that might never occur.
Life is too short to worry about it all.
- Take time for you and be conscious of your enjoyment
Every day, take at least five minutes to do something you truly enjoy. Yoga, reading, dancing, walking.
I used to feel guilty sat on the armchair on a weekend curled up with a good book for two hours when there were ‘jobs’ to be done.
But life is too short. Especially for dusting in case we got visitors.
Can you think of three things today that you appreciated and brought you happiness?
For me it was a long cuddle with my cats, taking time to write this post and lying in bed and listening to the wind howling early this morning in darkness. There was just something so serene and perfect about that moment.
If you can’t, try to journal and note down three things you appreciate each day.