Tag Archives: enjoy the moment

Is life a drag?
Living the Moment

"Enlightenment" Dalai Lama by Mimi Stuart © Live the Life you Desire

“Enlightenment” — Dalai Lama by Mimi Stuart © Live the Life you Desire

The extraordinary moments of life are outbalanced by the more frequent ordinary moments, such as working at the computer, going to the store, or sitting in traffic. The good news is that brain research shows that happiness is related more to your state of mind than the state of your current external circumstances.

One way to improve every moment is by learning to have a relaxed, mindful attitude, even when you might be bored or under stress. So there is no need to wait for the next time you go on vacation, go to a yoga class, or have a couple of drinks to improve your state of mind.

When you relax while focusing on the present moment, you can learn to be at ease, quick and on task without rushing. If you learn to be “in the zone” even in ordinary moments, life will flow more easily and your feelings of fulfillment will be enhanced.

We can consider life as a precious gift or a strenuous chore. To a large degree, it is our choice because we filter life through our mind. Here are some ways in which we can improve our state of mind, make the ordinary extraordinary, and be more enjoyable to be around:

1. Notice sensations, the air, the view, and the environment around you. This puts you in the present moment and mitigates anxiety and fear.

2. Observe your own energy and that of those around you. Intentionally transform your energy, whether you decide to focus on being peaceful, excited, appreciative, or ready for action.

3. Be mindful of your body. Correct your posture and reposition yourself to feel strong and relaxed.

4. Notice your facial expression and decide if you you’d like to change a frown into a more pleasant expression. Smiling alone will improve your day.

5. Focus on your breath. Breathe more slowly and deeply.

6. Be ready to handle anything that comes your way in a positive way. View every challenge as an opportunity for growth.

7. Focus on others, that is, engage others with wit, intellect, or a compassionate attitude. This takes the focus off of one’s own complaints. And most important,

8. Be happy to be alive.

If things get rough, then breathe deeply, think about what you can be grateful for, and if possible, look for the irony, humor, or philosophical insight that many situations present.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “I want to enjoy life and not just think about money.”

Read “Fear and Panic: ‘If I don’t keep on top of everything, I don’t know what will happen.’”

“Live in the now, not in the future!”

"Living Legends Wright Brothers"
by Mimi Stuart, Live the LIfe you Desire

Research studies show that individuals’ time orientation influences their “quality and satisfaction of life, relationships, school and work performances, and a variety of other future outcomes.”*

Most individuals are dominated by a particular time preference. Their focus on the past, present, or future is generally determined by cultural influence, upbringing, and personal experience. Each particular orientation has its benefits, but any one in excess can damage the quality of relationships, work performance, safety, and happiness.

1. Past Oriented

Benefit — People who focus on the past can learn from the past and enjoy the nostalgia. If their view of the past is positive — e.g., one of triumph or successful coping — they are likely to have positive expectations of the future.

Problem — They may hang on to grudges, making it difficult to get beyond negative experiences. They may have a limited view of themselves and others based on past events. Dwelling excessively in the past makes it hard to deal with the present or to plan for the future.

2. Present Oriented

Benefit — People who focus on the present are able to enjoy the moment, connect well with people, and experience pleasure. They are carefree, spontaneous, and completely in the present.

Problem — Studies show that people who are dominated excessively by a present orientation are found to be the least likely of the three types to be successful or to find deep happiness. Their inability to delay gratification can lead to reckless behavior, resulting in harm to themselves and others. Impulsive behavior, including addiction, promiscuity and unethical behavior, ironically often leads to a future lacking in pleasure as well as security.

3. Future Oriented

Benefit — People who focus on the future are able to conceptualize long-term consequences, and thus avoid reckless behavior. They take care of their health, finances and are responsible to their family. Planning for the future often leads to a more secure, comfortable, and desirable future.

Problem — Too much planning for the future can lead to workaholism and worry. People who focus excessively on the future miss out on spontaneity, personal connections, and present enjoyment of beauty and pleasure.

Dwelling exclusively in any one time-orientation thwarts overall happiness and effectiveness. Note that your first concern is your present security. If you are being attacked by a grizzly bear, you won’t be thinking about your IRA.

Ideally, we can balance all three time orientations — past, present and future — with different proportions of each depending on the situation. Work may call for greater future orientation, while spending time with loved ones calls for more present orientation, while the lessons from the past may be more relevant when dealing with uncertainty.

It is when we lose sight of other time orientations that we get in trouble. When we make present-day decisions, we need to keep the future in mind (think about drinking and driving, over-eating and other impulsive behavior.) Likewise, when we are at work or doing any kind of planning for the future, it is important to be in the present moment, so we can connect with the people we deal with, enjoy the small moments of beauty, and not let life pass us by. Life feels more embodied, whole and satisfactory if we can stay aware of all time-orientations rather than getting completely carried away by one.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

*Recommended Reading: “The Time Paradox,” in which Philip Zimbardo & John Boyd discuss how the time-focus individuals emphasize greatly shapes how they think and act.

Read “Impulsivity: ‘I knew the negative consequences, but couldn’t resist.’”

Read “Too Responsible to Enjoy.”