The present moment, if you think about it, is the only time there is. No matter what time it is, it is always now. -Marianne Williamson
Time is a funny thing
Time has no wings, but flies occasionally. It has no feet, but sometimes drags on. We never seem to have enough of it, but there's no way to store it for later. It's not uncommon to spend time planning our future or reveling in our past glories, however, how often do you truly stop and savour the moment? To be honest, we have neither the future nor the past, only the present moment in time.
Now I’m not saying it isn't important to plan for the future or look to the past for guidance or inspiration. What I'm saying is that it is important to slow down and appreciate where we are. Finding ways to be in the moment can have a positive effect on your health and well-being. It can help by promoting relaxation, reducing stress and narrowing your focus when needed. Learning to stop and appreciate the moments when good things happen can improve your mood and cheer you up.
Be "in the moment"
There are many ways to be in the moment. Activities like meditation, tai chi, and yoga can help ground you in the present. Even more intense activities like playing sports, cycling, or working out can have the same effect. In the end, it doesn't matter what you do as long as it connects you to the current moment in time.
I know, you're probably thinking that while those are great suggestions, they might not always be practical. In reality, you're right. I know my employer wouldn't approve of mountain bike riding through the office corridors as a way of being in the moment! Nevertheless, there is one thing that can be done almost anywhere and anytime. You've done it since birth and you’ll do it every day for the rest of your life.
Breathe. Yup, that's it.
The best thing is there's nothing hard about breathing and you don't need any special skills, equipment or a facility to do it in. Breathing exercises are a great way to stop the whirlwind around you and connect with the moment. But as always, there's a catch.
You really need to pay attention to your breathing
Take a minute and try the following:
- Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose.
- Breathe in and fill your lungs with air.
- Feel your chest and belly expand as you breathe in deeply.
- Make sure to breathe at a pace that's comfortable and when your lungs are full, pause for split second and exhale. You can exhale through your mouth or nose, it doesn't really matter.
- When your lungs are empty, pause for a split second and repeat.
- Focus on your body and the breathing process. Feel the air moving into your nostrils and down to your lungs. Feel your chest rising and falling.
- Repeat until you feel a sense of calm.
- Open your eyes and be in the moment.
That's it in a nutshell. You can learn to do many different types of breathing exercises and they all have the benefits of relaxation and stress reduction. Best of all, they aren't complicated and don't require hours of practice.
I know that at times it can be hard to focus on your breathing. If you have a smartphone or tablet, you may want to look into downloading apps that have guided breathing exercises. You can also use music if it helps you focus on your breathing. It also helps if you get into a habit of daily practice.
Now, take a few deep breaths and enjoy this moment of your life. A single moment can hold the surprise of a lifetime, but you might miss it if you're a day ahead of yourself or a day behind.