The Practice of Being in the Present Moment

Last updated April 11, 2024

Life unfolds in the present. And though being present is a skill that many of us have yet to learn, we can take wisdom from those who already practice present-moment awareness.

As Buddha quotes: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” 

So what are the profound benefits of being in the present moment? Read on to get out of your mind and into your body—and stay anchored in the here and now.  

Being in the Present Moment Changes You

Oftentimes when you begin to learn how to be present, you experience a profound shift and you start to see the world with different eyes—noticing the good things that are right in front of you.

Now, it’s not actually that all these external things are changing; it’s just that your perception is changing.

As this shift happens, people start to look differently, situations take on another meaning and your feeling about yourself changes. The first time you try being present, your mind may wander, but the amount of energy that goes into other thoughts will automatically decrease when you engage fully.

You Uncover New Things

A good starting point is an exercise where you focus on your tasks and truly listen to others as they speak. What eventually starts to happen is that you start listening to yourself, too, and thus get to uncover things about yourself that you didn’t even know were there.

Why does this happen? It’s mostly because when you are still, your guidance system gets turned on and your intuition strengthens. As this occurs, your deepest truths start emerging and come closer to the surface where you become aware of them.

When you sit in nature and look around at the trees, the animals and the flowers around you, that’s the perfect opportunity to practice presence. When your mind starts to wander, bring it back to what you are doing—and you become present once again.

Similar to aligning with your breath during meditation, your focus is redirected. It’s exactly these moments that give birth to new thoughts about yourself and about the world. What an incredible feeling to witness what surfaces when you learn to be without sound, without noise and just be in the here and now.

You Find Better Solutions

Everyone feels stuck at times. A situation seems hopeless and the answers you are seeking just aren’t showing up. The more frequently you are in the present moment, the faster the answers will flow to you.

You’ll hear them louder and receive them easier than you ever have before. This doesn’t mean that you have to be present all the time. The goal is to increase the amount of time being in the here and now.

The more present you are, the easier solutions come because you are putting yourself into a creative space that lets your body and your brain produce productive and creative ideas. This is what stillness does.

You Become More Creative

As mentioned above, by being in the present moment your creativity starts flowing. That means that new ideas will spark creativity in all areas of your life—how to help your relationship thrive, how to advance and do your best at work, and so on.

Being in the present moment is exactly the opposite of being in a flight, fight or freeze mode, a.k.a. stress response. Your brain finally gets to work for you and with you. Your body gets to relax and your heart starts to open.

With all this happening, you automatically invite love into your existence which results in creativity.

You Gain Confidence and Hope

Here is a great thing that happens when you are present for longer periods of time: as you get to know yourself better, your creativity explodes, you get more ideas and then you start doing more activities that you want to do.

Things that were once merely thoughts start changing into possibilities and you begin to challenge yourself. The shift that occurs helps you get excited about life and you begin to dream.

If you act on some of these ideas and desires (doesn’t have to be all of them) you get to see how much you are capable of.

Dreaming and going after things leads you to sparks of hope. Confidence soon follows. You take action, you see that you took action and you give yourself credit for taking action.

Being in the Present Moment Decreases Anxiety and Worry

They say that worry and anxiety are a result of feeling fearful about the future. As in you don’t know what’s to come next.

All practices that bring you into the present moment have the potential to decrease worry and anxiety. And many of these have science backing them up—like breathwork, meditation, nature, exercise and yoga.

These all bring you to the here and now. That’s why activities are so powerful when it comes to being present.

Life Becomes Way More Exciting!

In the end, being present lets you live your life! Live it to the fullest, beyond your wildest dreams. When you hear yourself this clearly and when you feel a strong connection to the things around you, your experiences become vivid and exciting.

You get to spread your wings and fly higher, love more, laugh harder, feel more. This is one of the most beautiful gifts of being in the present moment!

Activities to Bring You into the Here and Now

Being active does wonders for a restless mind and helps with stress.

Begin by choosing an activity that you are almost sure will be fun. Jot down a list with at least three things to do. Pick one activity that you can start with as soon as possible—today or this week if you can.

Consider why it will be fun and why you want to do it. Is there anything that you’ve always wanted to learn? Is there something that you never thought of doing but would be interesting or cool to try?

Any activity—such as playing volleyball, taking horse riding lessons or building a sandcastle (yes, this counts!)—will add great joy to your life. This forces you to focus on the doing part. If you’re learning something you’ve never done before or taking a dance lesson then that’s where your focus will be.

Share your experiences and let’s create this positive cycle of being present together!

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