How to Practice Present Moment Awareness

Experience life as it unfolds, moment by moment.


Mindful breathing exercise.

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Present moment awareness, also called mindfulness, means focusing your attention on the here and now. This practice could reduce stress, increase happiness, and improve overall well-being, according to verywell mind. But, that is easier said than done! Discover ways to cultivate present moment awareness so that you can appreciate life as it unfolds, moment by moment. 

Begin with breathing
Present moment awareness doesn’t come naturally. Left untrained, the mind tends to jump from thought to thought like a restless monkey. According to the mental health site BetterUp, mindful breathing offers an exercise that helps train the mind to focus on the present, instead of bouncing around all over the place. 

Use your breath as a focal point to connect to the present moment. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Inhale deeply, feeling the air fill your lungs. Exhale slowly, releasing tension. Repeat this for a few minutes each day. This anchors your mind to the present, and you’ll find that your focus improves as you practice over time.

Connect to your senses
How often do you take a moment to simply take in your surroundings? Shifting your attention to the sights, sounds, and sensations of the present moment can help improve your mindfulness practice, suggests the organization Mindful

Use your senses to ground yourself in the present and fully appreciate your environment. Notice the colors around you, the sounds you hear, the textures you feel. Take a few minutes to incorporate this practice into your routine. Perhaps, try it outdoors, peacefully observing the sounds of the birds, the feeling of the breeze, and the sun on your skin. This type of regular present moment practice brings peace and serenity to your daily life and teaches you to savor each moment. 

Incorporate mindfulness into your daily activities
Living mindfully doesn’t have to mean quitting your job and joining a monastery. You can practice mindful meditation anywhere, at any time! Even everyday tasks, like standing in line at the grocery store, eating a meal, or washing dishes, can help cultivate your mindfulness practices, according to verywell mind

When eating, savor each bite. When walking, notice each step. When talking, listen fully. This turns mundane activities into opportunities for present moment awareness.

Practice mindful movement
For those who have trouble sitting still, mindful movement provides a great way to focus your attention to the present. Activities like yoga, mindful walking, tai chi, gardening, or coloring mandalas help keep your attention on the present moment. 

As you go through the motions, take a deep breath. As you exhale, bring awareness to the moment. Observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath or the sensations in your body.

Create a routine
Cultivating present moment awareness isn’t easy. It takes practice and consistency. Set aside a little time each day to practice mindfulness. Reminders, like sticky notes or a chime on your phone, can serve as cues to begin your practice. Remember to be patient with yourself. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the present. Practice self-compassion, acknowledging that this journey is gradual.

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