“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
One of the best, unforeseen consequences of simplifying our lives is it has allowed us to begin living our lives in the present moment.
Eliminating nonessential possessions has freed us from many of the emotions associated with past lives that were keeping us stuck. And clearing our home has allowed us the freedom to shape our lives today around our most important values.
Living in the present moment means no longer worrying about what happened in the past and not fearing what will happen in the future. It means enjoying what’s happening now and living for today.
Choosing to live in the past or the future not only robs you of enjoyment today, but it also robs you of truly living. The only important moment is the present moment.
With that goal in mind, consider this list of ten tips below on how to live in the moment.
How Do You Live in the Moment?
1. Remove unneeded possessions
Minimalism forces you to live in the present. Removing items associated with past memories frees you and allows you to stop living in the past. Once the past no longer has power, you can begin to live in the moment.
Each day is full of endless possibilities! Start it with a smile. You are in control of your attitude every morning, keep it optimistic and expectant. Be intentional about it and you’ll find yourself doing it every day without even realizing it.
3. Fully appreciate the moments of today
Soak in as much of today as you possibly can – the sights, the sounds, the smells, the emotions, the triumph, and the sorrow. These are in our daily lives but we often forget to take them in and truly appreciate them.
4. Forgive past hurts
If you are harboring resentment towards another human being because of past hurts, choose to forgive and move on. The harm was their fault, but allowing it to impact your mood today is yours. Let go and choose to be present
If you just “survive” the workweek constantly waiting for the next weekend “to get here,” you are wasting 71% of your life (5/7 days.) There are two solutions: find a new job that you actually enjoy, or find something that you appreciate about your current career.
6. Dream about the future, but work hard today
Dream big. Set goals and plans for the future. But working hard today is always the first step towards realizing your dreams tomorrow. Don’t allow dreaming about tomorrow to replace living in the moment. Dreaming about the future is only productive when combined with
7. Don’t dwell on past accomplishments
If you are still talking about what you did yesterday, you haven’t done much today. There is still plenty of time to build upon past successes and create more memories and achievements for future-you. In the future, you’ll be cherishing the memories of today.
8. Stop worrying
You can’t fully appreciate today if you worry too much about tomorrow. Realize that tomorrow is going to happen whether you worry about it or not. And since worry has never accomplished anything for anybody, redirect your mental energy elsewhere.
9. Think beyond old solutions to problems
Our world is changing so fast that most of yesterday’s solutions are no longer the right answers today. Don’t get locked into a “but that’s how we’ve always done it” mentality. Yesterday’s solutions are not today’s solutions and they are certainly not tomorrow’s solutions.
10. Conquer addictions
Addictions in your life hold you hostage. They keep you from living a completely free life and removes your focus from the moment. Find some help. Take the steps. And remove their influence over your life. Allow yourself to live in the moment addiction-free.
Learning how to live in the present moment is an essential ingredient in a happy life.
If you can only live one moment at a time, you might as well make it the present.
How to Enjoy a Life You Don’t Need to Escape From
This is so true see the man that picks up litter on our beach He is unphased, He is there if its snow or Sun and he seems content with his lot.
Get on with it,enjoy now,remove bad habits,reduce your cluttered unneeded possessions,interesting reading informative true,, greed and jealously just take you down, say I’m free and do what you want don’t let no one tell you what you should do.I do not know what I will have but its today I do.
How do you know that the garbage man is content? I’m sure if you were to listen, he’d tell you a different story.
Some enjoy their habits. What’s bad to you may not be bad to them. Some enjoy clutter and need their possessions for different reasons.
Most just want to be able to do what they please without the disapproval of others. It has nothing to do with greed or jealousy.
Everyone knows what they presently have, what they used to have and what they’d like to have.
The concepts of freedom and enjoyment are different for everyone.
I thought about this recently and wrote:
Masters of the Moment
The days go by with each setting sun,
And as time passes our minds become
Filled with memories of glee and sorrow
And of bricks we use to build tomorrow
The past is our teacher, the future our dreams,
Our family and friends at this moment it seems,
Are the loving realities of our lives in the present,
Savor each moment of the time with them spent
The setting of the sun usually signifies the end of a day. We all have happy and sad memories.
I learn from the past as well as the present.
My family and friends are not very loving. I prefer to be alone, because it’s more peaceful.
I don’t get it…
If your family and friends are not very loving, then it is time to move away from them and find new friends that encourage you to be your best and that you enjoy being around. I for one moved away from family because I couldn’t stand the drama. Best decision I ever made. We all need time to try on new clothes (friends and experiences) and it is sometimes impossible when we continue to wear the same old shirt (family and dysfunction).
I agree with your comment. We are all responsible for our happiness! Living my life in the moment keeps me centered without family drama!
live in the present moment is the only way.
It’s not the “only” way…
Actually, unless you’ve invented a time machine, living in the present moment IS the ONLY choice we have …
Great post. I just found your blog and I have been enjoying your insight.
Mandi @ Organizing Your Way says
I love #5. As someone who worked my way out of one career that I enjoyed but really didn’t fit our family’s needs (transcribing with 4 little ones underfoot isn’t exactly ideal), to one that I am passionate about and fits our lifestyle perfectly (blogging and consulting), I am also passionate about encouraging others to find work they love. When you’re not able to draw a line between work and fun, you know you’ve found it!
Realistically, there are likes and dislikes to everything.
10. conquer addictions. addictions in your life hold you hostage. they keep you from living a completely free life today.
this really resonates with me.
when i am stuck in my stupid addictions, i easily get overwhelmed and forget to enjoy living in the present.
i am very working on my addictions.
i am trying to be more content minded, get rid of my unnecessary desires and focus living in the moment, simply, happily :)
valuable post, joshua~
My addictions do not hold me hostage. They are not overwhelming and I find them to be pleasurable.
I can enjoy myself whether I think of the present, past or future. I am content embracing all my desires.
It is the restricted thoughts of others that hold me hostage. They are overwhelming, bring on discontent and are not pleasurable.
di August 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm:
“My addictions do not hold me hostage. ”
Di – Your addiction to responding to each and every comment on this blog post is holding you hostage.
haha…someone had to say it…not bashing anyone….just giggling!
Was just thinking the same. Di, what are you looking for on here?
Pedro Santos says
Those points clearly state what everyone should be doing.
To each his own…
That comment about hating your job is wasting 71% of your life is a real eye opener. I choose to take on a lower paying job that makes me happy rather than have a higher paying job that will cause more stress. I think it actually balances out because if a higher paying job causes higher stress than I’ll be spending more money on unnecessary trying to soothe myself anyway. My career goal is to simply avoid “Sunday Night Syndrome”, meaning as soon as I start dreading my job, I find a new one!
Ahh, Sunday Night Syndrome. Thank you, Rachel, for giving me a title for the panic I used to feel at prior points in my working life. When put into perspective, spending 71% of one’s life being miserable is absolutely unacceptable. I’m so fortunate that I no longer experience SNS, and I hope others who do are able to move on or find the good in the meantime.
P.S. I love this blog! Thanks for sharing the minimalist perspective in such a thoughtful and practical way.
Simpler said than done. Some have no choice. Some are forced to be burdened with all the responsibility, regardless of their personal needs.
When you have a family, you can’t just quit and find another job when it’s convenient for you. You can’t expect anyone else to support your family. And you can’t just give up!
I Agree di. These all sound so grand, but when you have responsibilities and debt, it isn’t that simple. Just find another job sounds so easy…………with millions out of work. I’m just happy I have a job and am not homeless.
We all have limitless choices as to just how much responsibility we take on in life, whether it is a decision to have children that we will need to support, to live above our means and go into debt, to own property and possessions that require upkeep and attention, to allow ourselves to become addicted to any number of things, etc. There are VERY FEW burdens in life that are truly forced upon us but rather are a result of our lack of considering the consequences of our actions and decisions. To say that anyone has “no choice” in their responsibilities is totally inaccurate. A more accurate statement would be that we wish we didn’t have to deal with the consequences of our previous actions and had made a different choice, not that we never had a choice to begin with. Other than being born, most illnesses and dying, (and yes, taxes), pretty much everything else in our lives is a choice. We are the creators of our own lives through our actions and choices.
mmm.. assuming you live in a Western country and have been educated and supported emotionally and financially as you grow up to live to your full potential… then perhaps these options are available to you. Many on the planet don’t have these choices…
I have lived in a third world, poverty stricken country. And having also read much on the subject of living in the moment, and choosing joy, I am confident that it is not education or financial support that mold our happiness, or our ability to live to our potential. Many of this planet’s most joy filled occupants are among the poorest. There is a lot to be said for appreciating the little things, and living in the present. It was much easier to live in the Philippines than it was to come back to America and live here. We have complicated life, and cause 95% of our own distress and worry.
No one said it was was easy. It is not easy to change one’s life whether or not you have kids or a lot of debt. In fact, it is very difficult to do.
Bill Gerlach says
Great post, Joshua. Mindfullness is the key to so much in this life. One mantra that I try to live by — and with three small kids it takes on new meaning — is “Allow what is to be”. When you go with the flow you can’t help but be present and mindful!
The difficulty lies in accepting what’s before you. Everything happens for a reason – even it is not understood at the moment.
Bill, I agree with your comment on Mindfulness! It was key to my recovering from a 6-year-long depression, which I know I will never return to. Mindfulness IS about choosing to fully experiencing the moment that you are in. Stopping to breathe deeply and just BE is my cue to make a mindful moment.
Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey says
You know there’s an interesting connection between #5 and 8. Whether we’re distressing over our job or worrying about the future or the past, we’re wasting an even greater percentage of your life.
I agree that we should always make a conscious decision to appreciate the present. We can never get this exact moment back again. Every moment of every day is different in it’s own unique way!
Great post, thanks for sharing!
We all distress and worry. We’re human…
Forcing ourselves to do otherwise would be inhumane.
I embrace all aspects of my life.
I don’t think anyone is talking about FORCING ourselves to not stress, the post is about choosing our focus so that stress and anxiety are not empowered by our thoughts. We can hardly say that simply choosing our actions and being deliberate with our thoughts is forcing anything upon ourselves. Acceptance alone will not result in a mindful state or living in the present, obviously some action and practice must be involved if we want to see positive change for ourselves.
I’m wondering, are you saying you embrace all aspects of your life and therefore will take no action to improve them?, or are you saying you accept those things but are willing to practice techniques designed to improve your personal experience of life?
Actually, we don’t all distress and worry. Our actions, thoughts, and habits can all be formed through conscientious exercises. Many years ago, I spent too much time rehashing the past and/or worrying about the future. No longer. Not at all! I choose the positive in all things, and after years of experience, I am confident that most of the best things in life come after the hardest challenges. In the very least, there is an invaluable lesson to be learned. The second I feel any worry/distress come on, I reflect on the serenity prayer. If I can’t change the circumstance, I let go, right then and there. No need to carry baggage if I’m not going anywhere. It is so freeing!!! Our oldest daughter just got married. The entire process from engagement to wedding was stress-free. It would seem my daughter learned even earlier than I did to just live in the moment, and not fret about the past or the future. Ironically, her favorite quote has always been “Carpe Diem!” (Seize the day!)
Thank you Linda! I take care of elderly Dad who has Dementia/Alzerheimers after my Mom passed away in 2012. It has become overwhelming. Lately im living in the past so I dont deal with my present which has been affecting me a great I deal. I love your daughter’s quote (seize the day).
That’s not irony, it’s a coincidence.
Worry causes stress
You may have missed the point. Distress is perhaps your experience. To say “all” worry is painting over individual perspectives with a rather broad brush.
jack carter says
great post. it helped out.
How can I dream about the future and live in the present at the same time?
Just as Joshua Becker wrote in this article, “6. Dream about the future, but work hard today. Dream big. Set goals and plans for the future. But working hard today is always the first step towards realizing your dreams tomorrow. Don’t allow dreaming about tomorrow to replace living in today.”
There is a difference between setting goals for our future and worrying about it. Set goals! Work hard! But do not dwell in worry. If we set goals, then focus on worry, how will we ever get there? It is the working hard TODAY that gets us to achieve our goals. It IS the today that gets us to tomorrow. If we dwell on tomorrow, we neither reach it’s goals, nor enjoy today. It is a lose/lose situation.