This article offers strategies to help those of you who put your focus too heavily in the past or in the future and in doing so neglect to maximise the wonder of the here and now.
The treasure of time
Time is a precious commodity, especially when you consider that a lifetime of 70 years only has around six and a quarter million hours. Not a lot when you take out the time necessary for sleeping, eating, washing, shopping and working.
Each moment is precious and whether it relates to the past, the here and now or the future it is important to live each moment to the full.
Living in the past
Too great a focus on the past means that the present and future are short changed. Too little and the lessons that experience and living can teach us are likely to be missed.
Living in the future
Too great an emphasis on the future and we waste the precious gift that each current moment offers. Too little thought about the future leaves us ill prepared to deal with life’s challenges, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and financial. To know the needs of the future and only to enjoy the moment is feckless in the extreme.
Time to strike a balance
There needs to be a balance. Use the past to teach us the lessons for the present and the future. Plan sensibly for the future but learn to enjoy the present and to make the most of every moment.
Here are 10 strategies which help you get the most out of each moment. They don’t expect you to find more time in your over stretched day but help you to make a conscious choice about how you use the moment and feel about it.
Start your day by taking 10 deep breaths in to the count of 4, hold for 8 and out for 4. As you do so say to yourself, “It is a new day. I choose to be happy and look for the beauty and wonder within the day.
Choose a different sense to focus on for the day and as you go through your normal day make a conscious decision to notice:
- What you see – look for colour, pattern, texture, form, contrast etc. in all that you see. E.g. As you notice the rain making a pattern on the windscreen of your car or the train window.
- What you hear – be conscious of the sounds around you, at home, travelling or at work. Notice the variety of sound, the volume, harmony or discord.
- What you feel – notice the texture underfoot, the feel of a soft jumper or shirt on your skin, the feel of the razor as you shave, or the moisturiser you put on your face, the silky skin when you give someone a kiss.
- What you smell – the coffee, or smell of bacon frying, aftershave or conditioner on clothes, the pungent smell of cleaning materials or the smell of someone hot with exercise.
- What you taste – bitter, sweet or sour.
Think of the language you would use to describe it.
Make a conscious decision to smile at people. Notice their responses, expect none but enjoy it when people smile back.
Take a short time out from your busy day – 10 minutes to simply be. Sit still and let your thoughts go where they will. Start with the intention of being curious about where your mind wants to take you.
Be aware of the physical world around you. Look for the weed that has grown out of a crack in the wall, watch the clouds as they change shape. There is no need to make new time for this simply be conscious of things in your every day circumstances. Be open and curious.
As you eat and drink anything be conscious of the aroma and taste, feel the texture in your mouth. Try to identify the different ingredients within a dish.
Instead of watching TV, have a conversation about the day. What you have noticed or been curious about. Be equally curious about their day.
Make a random act of kindness during the day to a complete stranger. It doesn’t have to be anything big but it needs to be unsolicited and with out expectation of any return. Let someone out into the stream of traffic, opening a door, helping someone carry a bag. No matter how small it will make a difference to the other person’s day, and to yours.
Take the time and trouble to notice something someone has done for you and thank them. Even better if it is someone whose efforts usually go unnoticed!
Collect gratitude’s. As you lie in bed just before you go to sleep think about at least 5 things you have been grateful for within the day. They can be as simple and small or as grandiose as you choose.
Make every day count for you and for others. Live this day as if it were going to be your last. Live the experiences of the day and be determined to enjoy it.