General Question

FluffyChicken's avatar

How do you stay in the moment?

Asked by FluffyChicken (5459 points ) July 8th, 2011

I often hear it said that to live life to the fullest one must live in the moment. What methods do you use to stay in the moment and not dwell on the past or worry about the future?

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32 Answers

cockswain's avatar

I play sports and other physical activities that gain my full attention. When not occupied like that, I just try not to give a shit about anything that has already happened. Not that I’m great at that second part, it’s just what I try to do. I’m not much for the bible, but I like that quote about granting serenity for the things I cannot change.

JLeslie's avatar

I just remember to be very consciously aware of when I feel good, feel happy, am enjoying myself. If you pause and actually say to yourself, I am really enjoying this, it suspends time a little bit, the moment lasts longer, other thoughts dissappear.

Staying in the moment does not mean you are in the moment every waking minute, it just means you are able to recognize good moments as they happen and enjoy them to the fullest. At least that is how I see it. It really does increase happiness if you can do it,

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It helps to be busy or to have specific goals. For me, I work a lot because I want to achieve a certain amount of security and ease. Because I’m working so much then I purposely plan something nice to do with my partner away from home at least once a month. I look at each month and plan for birthdays, holidays and visits.

Because I have a bit of control over how much or how little I work then I don’t feel hopeless which I think makes people run away to the past or start worrying about the future, pinning all their hopes on it to provide some satisfaction they can’t get in the meantime, thus creating a ton of stress and worry.

TexasDude's avatar

I write everything down in a journal at the end of each day.

If the entry is short, I know I’ve wasted a day.
If the entry is long and wrought with details, I know I spent that day well, living and feeling everything, and I try my best to replicate the attentiveness that helped me to do so.

KateTheGreat's avatar

I wake up in the morning and tell myself that I’m going to make my day better than the day before.

I try to learn something new, express my creative abilities, and do a good deed each day. It makes me feel alive. :)

Schroedes13's avatar

I think living in the moment is a very subjective term. For some who find it hard to focus, it might mean to try and stay “actually” in the moment and realize more about their environment and the people/objects in it. And yet for others still, living in the moment is the idea of revelling in both the ups and the downs. I think one of the biggest stereotypes with the living in the moment idea is that we should pay special attention to the good/happy moments.

From my life’s perspective, I have found that one has to revel in the emotionally trying times as well as those happy times. I find this is the time where we grow as people. Many times it is hard to grow in an emotional, spiritual, psychological sense when we are truly happy. It sometimes takes an adverse event to make us strain our “emotional” capacity in order that we can become stronger in the long run.

I really have never had a problem with living in the moment. I love thoroughly engaging things and those around me all the time. But one of the greatest proverbs I’ve ever heard and used is “be where you are.” So that when you are in a certain setting, don’t let thoughts from another place or time cloud your persona. Just “be where you are.”

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

I wake up every morning and pretty much torn on my computer and will be in bed until midday thats when i get up and start doing something productive.
I blog and keep up with the latest fashion and such.
I also listen to music like crazy.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard does something I’ve done off and on that really does work. If you don’t journal then at least get a 12 calendar, even one online that you fill in each day with at least one thing good to you.

Something about looking at filled in boxes reminds you have done stuff, seen people, gone places. Start off by filling in birthdays of friends and relatives, highlight those. Highlight holidays you’ll have off with another highlighter. Plan monthly jaunts. Join Groupon for your city and try new things. Put a smilely face or foil stars on all the days you have romance ;p

intrepidium's avatar

Doing only one thing at a time and not allow yourself to be distracted by other thoughts or stuff? Easier said than done I know… but that’s kinda what they teach in Zen meditation too i.e. just pay attention to your breathing. Less can truly be More if we can discipline ourselves to start off with Less to begin with!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I make a consious effort to concentrate on the task at hand.
If you are washing the dishes,just think about that,no extra stuff.If you are with another person,really listen to what they are saying.If you are out on a walk,enjoy every bit of scenery.Notice things,damnit! XD :)
Listen to music and enjoy the sounds of all the instruments and inflections in the singer’s voice,sit in a comfortable chair and take some nice deep breaths.
Check out some artwork,notice the colors,the technique they used,the way it makes you feel ! Go for a swim.Feel how your body glides through the water,notice a rhythm to your breathing,the temperature of the water.It can be a reallly great thing!
One can enjoy things so much more if they settle their outside thoughts and just notice what is happening around them! Notice your life happening as it’s happening:)))

CaptainHarley's avatar

It takes a bit of work first. You have to keep dragging your attention back to the moment, but once you make it a habit, it’s easy. : ))

Schroedes13's avatar

just remember that your life truly is awesome, no matter what happens. That helps a lot.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I’ve found that it helps to narrow your focus. Learn to become intent on the smaller things.

thorninmud's avatar

One thing that helps get you out of your head (which is where the past and the future hang out) is to let your attention flow down into the body. Tune into that subtle tingle of energy that is constantly there, but that we never really notice. Really feel what it’s like to be this living body. Learn to do this when you’re still and quiet (lying in bed at night is a good time), but once you know how it feels, you can find it when you’re active as well.

Coloma's avatar

Welcome @Schroedes13

Another sagey jellies swims into the fluther. ;-)

Being in the moment, presence, is never a constant, it is always a return. It is in the awareness of NOT being aware that one becomes present.

With practice one finds that they catch and return more quickly, but, if you are new to this practice, even ONE catch, ONE time a day is progress. lol

It’s about becoming aware that you are not being aware. ;-)

I’ve been doing this work for about 8 years now, and while a good amount is fairly integrated, it is still, an ongoing thing.

YARNLADY's avatar

I find it easier to do all three.

WasCy's avatar

It pretty much takes all of my limited concentration and intelligence to “live in the moment”. I can’t spare a single brain cell to “worry” about things that I can’t control, and if I can control them, then that’s where my concentration is.

As for “the past”, that’s why I rely on bigger and bigger hard drives and better writing skills to record it while I can still think of it. I’ve lived through more than I can comfortably recall… and that was just yesterday. (Literally, yesterday, 7 July 2011.)

jerv's avatar

Attention deficit is a gr… ooh, a butterfly!

/wanders off looking for a net

rooeytoo's avatar

It is like meditating, it takes a lot of practice. Just concentrate on concentrating on what you are doing, feeling, experiencing right this moment. No rehashing the past or worrying and anticipating the future.

@jerv – old age is good for that also, new friends, new adventures each and every day!

Cruiser's avatar

You let go. Let go of the day to day responsibilities you have that will be there when you get back from this opportunity to let go and experience a moment in time for just what it is in it’s pure unadulterated form. A fresh brewed cup of coffee tastes so much better sitting on your deck in the morning with no one else around but the sound of the birds and the sight of te dew and mist shading an early morning sunrise….versus that same cup of coffee getting cold on the counter as you scurry to make breakfast for hungry kids before you have to rush out the door.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Practice the art of Simply Noticing, as proposed by author Rick Carson in the book, Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way.

rooeytoo's avatar

@SABOTEUR – I was not familiar with the Taming Your Gremlin books. But after looking over your link, it sounds very worthwhile. Have you read the books from the original, should I read the first one first? Or is it okay to start with the one you have linked?

Bellatrix's avatar

Thank you for re-pointing to that link @rooeytoo. I had missed this. @SABOTEUR, do you think the advice in this book would help students to stay on track and not give up? I am currently looking at ways to keep students on board and one of the key problems is that “inner voice” that says “you can’t do this”. Do you think some of the ideas in this book would help with that? If so, I might buy it. I think ‘staying in the moment’ is a key tactic for students and especially in the first year when they tend to look at the program or even course ahead like a big mountain and see what they can’t achieve rather than what they can.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Bellatrix – I just ordered his first gremlin book on fishpond.com. It is only $12.95 and free shipping. I love amazon.com but the shipping fees are killers!

Bellatrix's avatar

Yes, one of the downsides of being where we are. Thanks for the tip @Rooeytoo. It sounds like it might be a good one to pull some exercises out of.

SABOTEUR's avatar

re:I was not familiar with the Taming Your Gremlin books. But after looking over your link, it sounds very worthwhile. Have you read the books from the original, should I read the first one first? Or is it okay to start with the one you have linked?

@rooeytoo I’m quite fond of the original book since the series didn’t exist when i was first introduced to it. I seriously don’t believe it matters which books you read first.

The books are merely reference…the important thing is Simply Noticing.

SABOTEUR's avatar

re: do you think the advice in this book would help students to stay on track and not give up?

Absolutely.

Whether or not students will consider the advice timely enough for them to consider practicing is a different question.

Young people aren’t very much inclined toward practicing meditation (which is what this really is). But then…neither is most anyone else. We’re usually much more concerned with exercising our freedom of expression.

Even if the “freedoms we’re expressing” concern how miserably opinionated we are.

We’ve practiced opinion-ating most of our lives.

It’s what we know.

This is not to say that you…we…shouldn’t offer suggestions to people. Just be mindful that the suggestions given may not be immediately accepted and/or applied. As someone knowingly advised me years ago concerning offering advice to other people:

Your job is not to see results.
That’s not your concern..
Your job is to plant seeds.
Those seeds are watered over time.
They sprout when they’re ready.

All things in due time.

Bellatrix's avatar

Ty @SABOTEUR. I don’t actually teach young people. My students are of all ages and I am looking for strategies that will help them to stay the course, long term rather than short term. I am aware that sometimes, ideas may not be taken up straight away but I think we agree that the seed is planted and that is all I can do really. Part of my job is to offer advice to people in this instance so I will have a look and see if there is anything I can pass on that might be useful to some students (or not). Thank you for the suggestion.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Bellatrix Ok.

Well here’s a suggestion for you.
Practice the techniques yourself.

As your mastery improves, you’ll find yourself less concerned about what to advise people.
You’ll develop an uncanny ability to hear exactly what someone asks for.
And if it’s within your ability, you’ll give them exactly what they want or need, or point them in the right direction.

You know, occasionally I’ll re-read some of the things I’ve written on Fluther, especially advice.

Questions I’d forgotten I’d answered.

Some of those answers are so articulate and so profound I have to check the author’s name again because it’s hard to believe I wrote it.

It’s because I didn’t write it.

For a brief moment I allowed something other than “My Personality” to communicate.
That’s an effect of Simply Noticing at work.

I can always distinguish my “inspired” answers from my…eh…other answers.

My other answers are total nonsense.

rooeytoo's avatar

@SABOTEUR – wow, that is exactly what my favorite shrink always said. He was a pastoral counselor and he never claimed victories or defeats in his clients. He said he was merely the mouthpiece, so to speak. He never preached religion, but he spoke of the god within, we are all our own gods, we just have to stand still and listen to what is happening inside. I can’t say it as eloquently as he did or you did. But I totally get what you are saying and it makes me feel good to hear it again.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Thanks @rooeytoo. Glad I ignored the urge to remove the last ⅔ of that post.

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