5 Easy Ways to Be More Present In Every Day Life

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In today's fast-paced society, it's easy to feel like you're going through the motions. There's just so much to do! Whether you have a demanding job, a family to nurture, or simply a drive to become your very best self, we're all at risk of forgetting to savor life because we're too busy rushing through it.

If you've found yourself stuck on auto-pilot wishing you could slow down, enjoy the view, and maybe even experience some adventures on paths you never considered, take heart. By incorporating these five simple ideas into your daily routines, you can regain control and learn to live life today.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of becoming deeply aware and appreciative of the present. It's most often achieved by building thought-patterns that are open, accepting, and focused on your immediate surroundings. Studies show mindfulness reduces stress, improves memory, and gives you more control over the way you react to the world.

In additions to these benefits, mindfulness also helps you stay present so your mind doesn't trap you back in the past or away into the future. Here's a simple way to practice mindfulness if you've never tried it before:

Take five minutes out of every day to explore your senses. In your mind, at random intervals, list five things you see, smell, hear and feel in as much detail as possible.

As you grow more accustomed to noticing these details in your life, you'll be able to analyze situations and your reactions to them with more clarity and understanding, leading you to act in more thoughtful and meaningful ways.

Ask Yourself Why

Why do you do the things you do? Oftentimes, our motives have gotten muddled and lost.

Maybe you have heavy feelings of responsibility. Maybe you fear change and going out of your comfort zone. Maybe you're really just trying to make life better for everyone else, but accidentally losing yourself in the process.

To gain a better understanding of your motives, go through your daily activities and ask why you do them. This is especially important for those things in our life that seem dreary, cumbersome, or stressful.

While we can't cut out jobs, family responsibilities, and other necessary tasks of day-to-day life, we can focus on finding things we love to do because we want to do them.

Take Time to Unplug

Recent studies have found American adults generally spend 11 hours a day interacting with technology and media in some way. If you've ever started with a single episode and found yourself still streaming three hours later, it's easy to see how technology can be controlling us, instead of the other way around.

Make yourself the master over your technology habits. Take time to unplug every day, especially when you're around other people. Put away your phone at mealtimes and keep track of how much recreational streaming, swiping, and staring you do.

Focus on useful activities technology can provide, such as using apps to improve your mental and physical health, connecting with loved ones through social media, or championing good causes.

The more you unplug, the more free time you have to take the uncharted path in your life. You'll likely notice more chances to develop skills, serve others, and accomplish other meaningful goals.

Start a Gratitude Journal

When life moves quickly, it can be easy to take the good moments for granted. The sweetest moments in life can come from the smallest details. Journaling is an effective way to explore your own thoughts and feelings; journaling about what you're grateful for can open your eyes to things previously unseen.

It's alright if the things you write about seems mundane or simple. Being grateful for a good lunch, a warm bed, or even a smile from someone else is like collecting drops in a bucket. The more drops you collect, the sooner you'll find your cup is filled.

While it may seem counterintuitive, research shows gratitude is a great tool for difficult times. Participants who expressed gratitude found huge increases in their overall happiness scores measured by the studies.

Do Nothing At All

Our lives are full of pressure and that's a large reason we why put ourselves on autopilot. Sometimes, it's easier and more comfortable to just sail through life that way. Take some of the pressure off of yourself and do nothing at all. Plan it. Schedule it on your calendar and remove distractions.

Chances are you'll feel silly and maybe even uncomfortable at first. But, when you give yourself the freedom to do nothing, your mind can open up to new ideas and new possibilities.

Life can be so many things and passes by quickly. Take control today. If you'd like to learn more about any of these five ideas, reach out and share your thoughts. We'd love to help you discover a more authentic, deliberate way of living.

Michele Burstein, LMSW