Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.Corrie Ten Boom
If there’s one thing most of us have learned since the COVID-19 pandemic started, it is just how fragile life is. So many of us had big plans for the past year and this year, but we’ve had to put them on hold or scrap them off entirely because of the pandemic. This situation has made us realize how often we take things for granted.
It can seem like living in the moment isn’t the best idea right now as we continue anticipating better days when things will be back to normal. After all, wouldn’t that mean obsessing about the situation we are going through right now? Well, today is all we can be sure of because tomorrow is not guaranteed. You have to find things that make you happy now and worry about tomorrow when it comes.
You have no idea how many things you miss out on by either regretting the past or obsessing about the future. To live your life to the fullest, you have to learn to be present in the here and now; even in difficult times.
How to live in the moment during the pandemic
We have all been told numerous times to stop worrying and instead live in the moment. But it’s hard to do in ‘normal’ times and much worse during tough times like these. Below are a few tips that can help you learn to appreciate the now and focus on living in the moment during the pandemic.
1. Practice mindfulness meditation
We are living in chaotic moments where a lot of things are happening around us every day that make us feel anxious and stressed. Your mind could be full of chatter, and you are always overthinking situations, thus increasing your anxiety. Taking care of your mental health is vital. As much as possible, we should try to pause and take a breath to stay calm.
Practicing mindfulness is one way to quiet the chatter in your mind and stay calm. When living in the moment, you focus on the now and become aware of your surroundings, feelings, and thoughts, with no judgments. You observe things objectively without the influence of the past or future by just focusing on reality.
Calming your mind and emotions will help you see things more clearly and stop worrying. Most of the time, the things we worry might happen, don’t. Mindfulness also increases connectivity and reduces the feelings of being lonely and isolated.
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2. Enjoy the important moments and be grateful for them
Time waits for no one; not even a pandemic. Life is still going on, and even though it is tough right now, we can make the best of the situation we are in, and find something to make us smile. We are getting older, and we can’t put our lives on hold until the unknown future date when the pandemic will end. So even during this time, celebrate the special moments in your life such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, holidays, promotions, and any other things happening to you right now. You will only turn 18, 25, 60, or whichever age you will be on your next birthday, once. So celebrate it, eat some cake; live in the moment.
Since most of us are still stuck at home, see the positive side of this; you get to spend more time with your loved ones and increase your bond. Savor and cherish the moments spent with them.
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3. Go outside and touch some grass, literally
When we are in a bad situation, it is easy to get so caught up in our negative thoughts and obsess about them. Furthermore, if you are an outdoorsy person, being isolated and cooped inside your home can get to you. It is at such moments that you need to bring yourself back to the present and connect with your physical environment.
Go outside, take a walk to get some fresh air, even if it is just in your backyard. Take your shoes off and walk barefoot on the grass. The sense of touch is very effective at creating connectivity and grounding us to a moment. Furthermore, walking has numerous benefits other than helping you live in the moment, including, improving your mental and physical health.
4. Don’t worry about the things you can’t change
Every minute you spend worrying about the past or future is a minute lost. Sometimes, we make life harder for ourselves by living in a state of “What could have been,” “What should be,” or “What will be,” instead of just being here now in “What is”. You can’t change the past or predict the future. All you can do is live NOW. Make peace with your past by learning to forgive others or yourself for past mistakes. Also, get rid of things that hold you back and keep dragging you back to the unpleasant moments and move on. Out of sight, out of mind.
Your future will happen no matter what you do. The only thing you can do is to use today to make decisions that will determine how your future will be. For example, you can work hard today to have financial freedom in your later years. Also, engage in whatever task you are doing today with all your heart to avoid regrets later in life. If things go wrong, at least you can be sure you gave it your all.
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5. Find something new in every moment
Have you ever read an entire page of a book but couldn’t recall what it said? Or gotten off work but have no memory of how you even got home? Or it is already the weekend, and you have no idea what you did for the entire week? The latter has become quite common during the pandemic. We have a distorted sense of the passage of time. Days seem to melt into each other and feel the same. What day is it? How is it that May is already here? These are moments of mindlessness. Our minds tend to wander when we aren’t fully engaged in what we are doing or if we have done something so many times that the mind does it on autopilot.
Be in the present moment by paying more attention and finding something new in every little thing you do. You could also do things differently to avoid monotony, such as taking a different route to and from work, noticing the new faces you meet on the way, or the new smells. Differentiate days by doing something differently or learning some new skills that make you feel accomplished at the end of the day.
6. Dare to take risks
How often have you postponed something saying you will do it tomorrow and then end up never doing it? Or were too scared to do something because of one reason or another? Think of how this period is making you feel. Not being able to travel or do things that you always took for granted. From what we have seen, life is too short and can end at any moment. Live as if you are going to die tomorrow because today is all we have.
Start living in the moment by doing whatever makes you happy now; consequences be damned. To have a meaningful life, you must be fully participatory, by taking risks and seizing opportunities that come your way while being your true honest self(of course, this doesn’t include risking your health). It is okay to get out of your comfort zone. It could be that you embrace being your true self, want to quit an unsatisfying job, or that you want to move houses. Just do it.
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7. Deal with your problems instead of ignoring them
Living in the moment is not only about the happy moments; it is fully accepting your reality and not letting the bad times bog you down. Avoiding pain or stressful situations only makes them last longer and magnify. If something is really bothering you, don’t resist it, deal with it instead. If there is nothing you can do to change it, accept it the way it is. This moment can only be what it is, and you will be frustrated if you try to manipulate it to be otherwise. The sooner you deal with a problem, the sooner you can move on from it.
Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.Dale Carnegie
Every day you are alive is full of possibilities. Your moment is already here. Live in it. Relish the feeling of being alive and be grateful for it. To live your life to the fullest, you have to focus on the present and learn how to live in the moment, even during a pandemic.
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