Living in the moment is about having all your attention directed toward the present. To do this, you must be mindful of your actions and your state of mind. Also, when you live more in the moment, you tend limit mind wandering.
Matt Killingsworth reveals the importance of living in the moment in his TED Talk. The results of a study he conducted suggest that people are substantially less happy while mind-wandering. He tells us that when our minds wander, we often think of unpleasant things. Even when we think of pleasant things, we are slightly less happy than when we aren’t mind wandering. Killingsworth even compares mind-wandering to a slot machine you’d never want to play because according to him, mind wandering never makes you happier; it only creates varying degrees of unhappiness:
If mind-wandering were a slot machine, it would be like having the chance to lose 50 dollars, 20 dollars or one dollar. Right? You’d never want to play.
Mind-wandering is quite an amazing ability. It allows us to escape the present, but it also seems to cause unhappiness. Yet, according to Killingsworth’s study, “forty-seven percent of the time, people are thinking about something other than what they’re currently doing.”
Living in the moment is also an important part of minimalism because it helps you embrace and enjoy all the different activities and facets of your life. When you are more mindful, you place less value in your material possessions. As I have said before, by living in the moment you realize that the essence of life is life itself and not your possessions.
However, living in the moment seems to be becoming increasingly difficult in a world where technology and distractions are so prevalent. It seems so easy to get distracted by something and just let your mind wander. Some of us are naturally more mindful than others, but I think it is something we can all work on. After a few months of trying to find a method that could make living in the moment easier, I finally found out why it can be so hard for us to be mindful and live in the moment.
When we try to be fully present and mindful, we often find it difficult to let ourselves go and be fully absorbed by the moment. I think that for many of us, there is a fear of being too focused on the present because we aren’t sure when we will come out of this state of total focus and mindfulness. We don’t want to commit to focusing on something because we are almost afraid of missing out on something else while we are being mindful. We also enjoy letting our minds wander “in the clouds” because we feel safe there. We hesitate to fully commit to the moment because we think that it won’t be as pleasant as mind-wandering. Therefore, since we are afraid of the present, mind-wandering is almost like a defense mechanism that your mind wants you to use to prevent yourself from being consumed by the moment.
I believe that we also procrastinate for similar reasons. We not only fear work because we are scared it will be unpleasant; we also don’t want to focus on the task at hand because if we become enveloped in what psychologists call “the flow state”, we are not sure when we will be able to stop working. It’s easier to procrastinate a little, do a little work and then procrastinate a little more.
Consequently, we should be asking ourselves the following question: how do I let myself embrace the moment?
The answer is simple, you just have to realize that you will not be stuck in that moment forever. You have to understand that as time moves forward, your situation will change or your attention will naturally shift to something else when the time is right. There is no need to fight the moment, just let yourself be enveloped by it. Realize that your mind will naturally focus on something else when it feels like it needs a break from what you were currently focused on. So, don’t be scared, just dive into the moment and spend more time living in the present.
I realize that it can sometimes be hard to live in the moment. However, by understanding that the present will not harm you, but actually give you more happiness, it will definitely be easier for you to embrace the moment.