There has been a lot written about living in the moment and the idea of being present. It’s something that a lot of people really struggle with, or rarely even take the time to consider. It sounds a bit nebulous, idealistic and new age so it is hard to discuss. The inability to enjoy the moment you are in, however, is something quite troubling. Being caught up in the past or busy planning the future gives you no time to appreciate what is going on.

Our minds like to weave in and out of the past, present and future with fluidity. Remembering an amazing event that took place or something ridiculous you said that can’t be taken back. Planning ahead for an upcoming trip or worrying about a situation that one day might come. They all seem very trivial when something in the present grabs your attention. Danger or a sense of fear can snap you back into the present in an instant. Laughter and pain also have this kind of effect. The overwhelming power of these occurrences render anything else insignificant. You have experienced this yourself.

So can our lives be engineered to create more of these occurrences? Of course. Spending time with others can keep our mind on what is happening in the now. Being spontaneous and adding a little manufactured danger to our day can be just what we need. Putting our body or mind through some moderate stress is also a great tool (lifting weights, working through a problem and creative writing are all examples). Setting up our day in a way that creates these moments would seem more effective than merely trying to push thoughts out of our minds. This isn’t a slight against meditation or any similar practices that have proven to be effective for many people, just an alternative strategy that can be adopted.

Being aware of the moments that make you feel most alive or most present is very important. Using this information to help you live in the moment more often, is a smart tactic.