Enjoying the World Around You: How to be Fully Present In Every Moment

The more bad days I have, the more I have learned to appreciate the little things. Now, a bird flitting by, the sound of laughter, friends smiling at one another, and a patch of Daffodils blooming are enough to make my heart warm and my day easier. A part of me wishes I could be the bird free to see the world or laughing with my friends, but that moment is not about me. It is a privilege to have even seen it and a privilege to enjoy it, especially in this world so full of bright screens and cloudy minds and hearts.

My tough days remind me to focus on the good, which is not nearly as easy as it sounds and to be present. To me, being present means enjoying the moment in its entirety; it means to not stress about what I have to do that day, next week, or in a year (which are ever pressing worries for me) and to live in that moment –to see the beauty in it.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you be present:

1. Get off your device.

There are moments you are missing because of your non-human companion. And I do mean companion –the only difference is that you two are attached at the fingertips vs the hip. A simple first step for this is to have dinner without your phone and actually talk to your counterpart(s) across from you. I was raised with one simple rule: no phones at the table. Or be stabbed with a fork. And I am so grateful for this rule (fork stabs aside). I genuinely believe it has saved my humanity and ability to relate to others.

Pro Tip: Get off your phone especially for special occasions such as a date. Learn to socialize with a real person and let your little companion have a rest.

2. Watch the world.

There is so much you can learn by sitting on a park bench and watching everything go by. See dogs playing, birds flying, bees pollinating, and people living their lives. Look for something that elevates your soul, warms your heart, and inspires action in you.

3. Focus on your breath.

A quick trick for meditating and being present is to focus on your breath. Some people count 1, 2, 3, 4 in and out. Some people simply remind themselves “In… and out.” Some create mantras. Maybe try inhaling “Peace” and exhaling “Joy” or inhaling “I am…” and exhaling “…serenity.” Find a practice that works for you.

Pro tip: try tips 2 and 3 at the same time, exhaling joy into the world you are watching.

4. Take it all one thing at a time.

There are so many things on all our plates, but you will never get them done if you try to tackle them all simultaneously. Select your most pressing task, complete it, mark it off, and select another. Take each moment slowly and mindfully. Accomplish your to-do list with intention.

5. “High-Five” the day.

“High-Fiving” is a little trick I have found to remind myself of either the things I am grateful for that day or the things I am grateful for through an inconvenient situation. For example: If you have a difficult day at work and your boss was a jerk, then High-Five it and remind yourself you are 1) grateful for your job 2) grateful for the ability to provide for yourself and/or family 3) grateful for the times your boss and/or coworkers had your back 4) grateful for the opportunity to find another job should that be necessary 5) grateful for the moment I am able to return home and relax. To High-Five the day could look like naming the people in your life who you are grateful for, naming the moments, naming the privileges and opportunities, and most of all, the highlights of your day that day.

The highlight of my day today was sharing some good news with my parents.

6. Take a moment and just listen.

Listen to the music of the world around you. The rustling trees, chirping birds, laughter, rain, music, traffic, and so much more. Experience the world with your ears and remember that beauty is not always visual. Beauty comes in many shapes, sizes, sounds, and experiences.

7. Get in touch with yourself and write it down.

Journaling is a great way to connect with yourself and really get in touch with your feelings, thoughts, dreams, and challenges. Writing it all down makes it real. It makes the difficult manageable, and it preserves the incredible.

8. Take a chance and live in the moment.

Sometimes throwing caution to the wind is just what the doctor ordered. Feel the adrenaline, enjoy it, let it envelop you and truly live in that moment. Allow yourself to take it all in and be unequivocally you. Then write about it later and keep the memory forever. When you look back, remember the freedom you found in being utterly and completely present.

Just like focusing on the good, being present is harder than it sounds. Our world is loud, demanding, exhausting, and can be dismaying, but seeing these little miracles makes a world of difference. Miracles take all shapes and come in unexpected ways. I hope you begin to put down your devices and take out your earbuds every once in a while so you do not miss it. Freedom and peace are found within the moments in between. The second hope I have for you is to share your miracle or miracles that day with someone else. Share your happiness, your hope, your little bit of light. Pass it on. 

Photo 1, 2, 3