Why and How To Live In the Present
Yoga has taught me to how to slow down, live in the present, and how to quiet my monkey mind.
Yoga has woven itself into my life beyond asana (the physical practice). I’ve carried the joy, peace and calm I find on the mat into my day to day life.
Being present on the mat became a natural state with a regular yoga practice. Off the mat and in life? At first, not so much.
You know the feeling. When life is moving quickly and we effortlessly kick into autopilot going about everyday tasks. Sound familiar?
Life is a beautiful gift and every magical moment deserves to be wholeheartedly lived.
I have become more conscious about making the most out of each and every day.
THE BENEFITS OF LIVING IN THE PRESENT [from personal experience]
Increase enjoyment in life. I enjoy life more if I’m present rather than having my mind elsewhere and on things other than that moment.
Reduce stress. In being present there are no worries. There is just experiencing all the moment has to offer.
Build better relationships. When you really commit yourself to being with someone, to listening to them, you are being a better father, husband, friend, daughter, girlfriend. You have better conversations. You connect more deeply.
What does the research say?
Practicing mindfulness can actually change the body and the brain and have positive effects on your psychological well-being.
Researchers at Harvard have established scientific proof that meditation can change the brain’s gray matter.
After 8 weeks of practicing mindfulness exercises for an an average of 27 minutes per day, MRI scans of participants showed that mindfulness:
- stimulated a significant increase in the density of gray matter in the hippocampus, important for learning and memory;
- increased the density of gray matter in other neural structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection;
- decreased the density of gray matter in the amygdala – the part of the brain associated with anxiety and stress.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, helped to bring the practice of mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine. He demonstrated that practicing mindfulness can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in health attitudes and behaviors.
Mindfulness improves physical health:
- help relieve stress
- treat heart disease
- lower blood pressure
- reduce chronic pain
- improve sleep
- alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties
Mindfulness improves mental health as an important element in the treatment of a number of problems, including:
- substance abuse
- eating disorders
- couples’ conflicts
- anxiety disorders
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
Still not sure? There’s more.
According to the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, mindfulness can also help to:
- improve the quality of life for patients with cancer;
- improve the experience of various conditions and illnesses such as gastrointestinal disorders, HIV, and fibromyalgia;
- alleviate asthma;
- alleviate hot flashes.
HOW you can train your brain to LIVE IN THE PRESENT
Although I highly recommend it, you don’t have to practice yoga to learn how to live in the present.
There are little things that you can do anywhere and anytime to cultivate a mindfulness mindset.
Focus on your breath. Notice the physical sensations of each inhale and exhale and feeling where your breath is in the body.
Don’t try to clear your mind. Our brains don’t work that way. Instead of trying to clear your mind, acknowledge your thoughts and then allow them to float by like a leaf on a river or a cloud in the sky.
Focus on your body. Notice how your body feels at this very moment. Think about how strong your body is and acknowledge all that it can do.
Count your blessings. Think about everything in your life for which you’re grateful and allow that feeling to take over your body and ground you in the here and now.
[Tweet “Find out how you can experience life wholeheartedly. #mindfulness #wellness #healthyliving”]
Being present will help you feel the cool breeze on your skin, the warm sun on your face and the full joy of being with the people you love. Beautiful little details in life that are often missed.
I would love to chat.
Does being present come easily to you? What are your biggest challenges to living in the present?
be the best version of YOU
I love this post. Im a mum to 3 kids and a take care of another 6 so finding some me time is really hard. However i do try to do slme yoga and have some quiet time as i have asthma and fibromyalgia so your post has really resonated with me. I do find im doing one thing while thinking about the next 10 and rushing all day long so ill be trying this more.
I love these quotes: “Wherever you are, be all there”; and “Live the actual moment”. So very true. Great post!
This is such a great post! It’s so important to live in the moment. My husband and I talk about this all the time. We live in a place where the attitude is constant rushing and moving forward without looking back and we’re both so ready for a change. You have to appreciate your life!
These are some great tips! I love doing yoga too. But I enjoy the physical aspect of it.
Love your post dear! You are singing my song. The biggest thing to help me stay present is meditation practice. Yoga helps me prepare <3 Many blessings!
I loved this post, I do try and do yoga but hard to keep it up, sounds like it does wonders for yourself as life is beautiful! What an amazing post to live better ☺️
I try and practice mindfulness everyday and yoga really helps me with that too – I’m so guilty of thinking and dreaming about the future that I forget to live for now and enjoy every moment!
This is a really beautiful post and a fantastic reminder to be present . . . to just be. Whew! Mindfulness is a constant practice in my life, but it still is really helpful to read your ideas for staying present and practicing further mindfulness. I love it! Thank you for your incredibly inspiring words. Cheers!
Thank you for constantly reminding me to keep taking care of me!
I am all about reducing stress and getting better sleep!!
This is a tough one forsure, especially when it comes to meal times! I try to eat without any distractions (including phone) but it’s harder than it seems! It’s such an important thing to master though, thank you for sharing all this information
What a great and positive post! Yoga has helped me mentally focus tremendously!
It doesn’t! There are sometimes so many things to do and so many emails to respond to that sometimes I’m just not there.
I love this post! Mindfulness and being present are so important, but we often need this little reminder to keep ourselves in check!
This is so true, I was just thinking that, we are always thinking about what is coming next instead of focusing on the now.
Great tips! This is so important and something I struggle with from time to time, thanks for the reminder 🙂
For many of us that love being among the beauty and serenity of nature, so much of what you have said are things that I feel we instinctively know deep down. The problem for most in the current, stressful world, is having enough determination to prioritize the time needed to invest in ourselves. To make ourselves feel and function better. The evidence provided through MRIs that you mentioned might hopefully play a role in educating people on the proven importance of living in the present and thereby improving their state of mind.
I know that you don’t have to practice yoga to become present, but a good class can really help with it. I am working on that exact skill right now.
Great post Jill! Such a great reminder to stay present. Love each of those quotes too!
i love this post! yoga was seriously a daily therapy session for me. the quote at the end by Thich Naht Hanhs about “drinking tea” is so insightful. Put down the phone, listen to your kids, listen to your husband, listen to yourself and just “be”. Once I’m done popping out baby #3, i want to start my yoga practice again, just because i have a feeling i’m going to be a little psycho taking care of 3 kids with a deployed husband! <3
i am trying to be better about using less phone and be present at whatever i am doing. this is a great reminder.
I’ve been trying to be aware of putting the phone down when I’m at home and not multitasking all the time!
Being present use to come naturally to me. I have two small grand babies living with me, so I’m kinda all over the places these days, and the peace doesn’t come naturally anymore. My peace does come from seeing those innocent little faces day in and out. I can’t seem to find the time to practice mindfulness and I really can tell, so I desperately need to get back to it. Thanks for the reminder.
What a great post! One of my goals is to do more yoga and learn how to use my breath more to calm me and keep me present. I have a long way to go 🙂
I love this post! Mainly because of the fact that I have anxiety disorder. I go to therapy and my therapist always talks about mindfulness! I’ve used a few techniques to try it before, but I thought it was only for when I was having anxiety. I didn’t quite know that doing it everyday would help with all these different things! I’ve also been wanting to stick to doing yoga, so I love that aspect of this post too.
My sister also just got diagnosed with fibromyalgia and I wasn’t aware that mindfulness could help with that too. My mom suffers from terrible hot flashes as well, so I will have to keep this technique and life change in mind for them as well as for myself! Great post!
This does not come easily to me at all! I struggle with it most at home with my son – checking email, browsing my phone, etc while playing with him. I’m trying to leave my phone in the other room these days so I’m not tempted to check it.