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In The Moment

The recipe to happiness? Live in the now…
You hear a lot about living in the moment being the way to truly be happy and enjoy life. But short of posting inspirational posters as reminders to “Stop worrying about the past. Stop thinking about the future. Live in the moment and be happy,” how does one actually put into practice living more mindfully? Because although it’s a term that’s often bandied about, it’s more than just a meme. Living in the moment has research-proven benefits. For example, in a study conducted by Harvard psychologists, the findings show that people who think ahead are more miserable, even if daydreaming of something good.
Ready to live in the here and now? These tactics will help you get on the right track.
Focus on a singular thing
“Each day, decide that you are going to pay attention to something; one day, it may be sounds, the next, it may be colours. Perhaps one day, you’ll pay attention to people’s smiles,” suggests Cassidy Thedorf of Just Be Meditation. She herself commits for the day to notice a chosen stimulus, too. “Some days I’ll choose to focus on love, noticing when I see people expressing love to one another or to their pets. Letting an awareness of love guide me through the day always keeps me smiling. Perhaps if it’s raining in the morning, I may choose to pay attention to rain boots or umbrellas all day, enjoying the myriad of colours and personal expressions,” says the Toronto-based meditation coach. While zeroing in on a specific thing may mean you miss out on other elements, it’ll help to train your brain to take in the world around you, rather than being distracted by your smartphone during your commute, for example.
Visit a meditative space
There are many popular apps such as Headspace and Calm that people swear by when it comes to learning how to meditate. But it can be difficult to train your brain to live in the moment if you’re trying to do this at home on your own. “For those who have difficulty meditating, we find that going to a space to meditate can help,” says Stephanie Kersta, cofounder of Hoame in Toronto, a 5,000-square-foot facility offering mind and body services. “Not only are the rooms designed to be immersive and the guided meditation to be engaging, so it can be easier, but, almost more importantly, is the sense of connection,” she says. “Meditating in a space with others, and sharing the experience with others afterwards in our living space – without the distractions of emails, likes and alerts – can create an experience where you are fully present, which, when practiced continuously, can become second nature,” adds co-founder Carolyn Plater.
Make your mealtimes mindful
As a beginner to being more in the moment, designating a specific time in your day can make your mindful baby steps easier to manage – and mealtimes offer a simple way for you to focus on something in front of you. “Before eating, notice the colours, smells and textures of your food. Think about where it came from, the farmers who helped grow it, and allow yourself to take a moment of gratitude for your food,” says Thedorf. When you take your first few bites, she suggests taking note of how much enjoyment the food gives you. In her experience, this helps her not only to enjoy her meals, but also to pay more attention to her body and seeing what works for her and what doesn’t.

KAREN KWAN is a freelance health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter at @healthswellness and on Instagram at @healthandswellness.

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