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20 Easy Ways to Be More Present and Live in the Moment

With our ever-quickening world, it’s hard to slow down and live in the moment. We spend time worrying about the future, distracted by electronic devices, and caught up in negative emotions.

It is becoming more important that we take a breath and learn to stay present in the moment. Being mindful and present not only helps life slow down, it can also improve our relationships, boost our self-worth, and giving us a greater life satisfaction.

These 20 ways to be more mindful, and in the moment will help you get out of that busy, hustle world and start enjoying your life just a little more!

Middle age woman smelling and touching lavender in the sunlight

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Mindful Living in the Present Moment

You’ve probably heard it called a lot of different things: mindfulness, being present, living in the moment, intentional living. Being present means the simple act of putting our full attention on the here and now.

So let me ask you a few questions:

What percentage of your day do you spend on “autopilot”, just doing the things you know you’re supposed to do?

How many times a day do you have intrusive thoughts reminding you of items on your to-do list?

How many times does someone else (your partner or spouse) have to ask you a question before you “snap out of it” to respond?

These are only a few examples of what it may look like when you’re NOT focused on the present moment. We spend SO much time inside our heads or just “going through the motions” of life.

People spend approximately 47% of their waking hours thinking about something else than what they are doing! And this is hugely detrimental to our happiness and wellbeing in life.

So how exactly do we learn to practice staying present? Here are 22 ways to live mindfully in the moment:

20 Tips for Being More Present in Your Life

1. Meditate

Mindfulness meditation is not the only mindful activity, but it is often regarded as the pinnacle mindfulness practice and it’s one of the best ways to train ourselves in the art of mindfulness.

Meditation is the act of sitting while holding our attention on a singular target, such as our breathing. With meditating, we are able to be free from any distractions and focus solely on being in the present moment. Don’t let your mind wander–if it begins to drift, bring it back to the present moment and give your full attention to your body and mind.

Consider using mala beads with your meditation routine.

2. Practice Deep Breathing

Our breath is immensely powerful. Did you know how much we can control our involuntary body systems just by breathing? The act of mindful breathing has so many benefits, including things like:

  • reducing stress
  • stimulating the lymphatic system
  • lowering blood pressure
  • improving digestion

Putting your body into a state of rest and relaxation, also known as the parasympathetic nervous system, is great for returning your mind to the present moment. Because often, what we think, our body’s reaction will follow. As in, if we think a stressful thought, our body reacts with adrenaline and stress hormones.

But it also works the other way. When we calm our bodies down through breathing, our mind can relax.

Try to notice when your breath gets shallow or controlled and do a breathing exercise.

3. Be an active listener

Female counselor listens as her client sits on the couch and talks.

Listening has become a dying art form. Unless you are trained as a counselor or Taoist nun (or maybe an actor or dominatrix), you may not have a lot of experience with active listening.

Verywell Mind defines active listening in this way:

Active listening refers to a pattern of listening that keeps you engaged with your conversation partner in a positive way. It is the process of listening attentively while someone else speaks, paraphrasing and reflecting back what is said, and withholding judgment and advice.

Being an active listener means giving the other person your undivided attention and eye contact! Put down your phone make a conscious effort to connect with the other person. 

RELATED POST: How to Meet Someone Where They Are

4. Limit Your Screen Time

This one is an easy one. We all have access to other people, social media, the news, and any other information we want to look up 24 hours a day. My own phone dings with near constant notifications.

Our phones are a huge distraction to us, and they prevent us from establishing mindfulness, even when the moments are little. Not surprisingly, ComputerWorld tells us that our phones are a huge drain on productivity, and yes, internet and social media addictions have a correlation with lower life satisfaction and mental health issues.

So unplug, disconnect, and even turn off your phone when you want to be mindful.

5. Limit work hours (or don’t take work home)

Woman playing with her kids after work and putting all her attention on them

In our hustle world, we are always working. I admit I have a hard time stepping away from my computer, even if it’s just to write a few lines of text or throw in a photo to a blog post when I could be hanging out with my kids.

But this means that I’m distracted by work and I’m not executing time management very well. When you are on the clock, be 100% focused on your work. So the next time your work day ends, put the work away, put it out of your mind, and be mindful of something else.

6. Recognize the simple pleasures in life

Simple pleasures are those small things that lift our spirits. It could be a few moments of silence in the morning before the kids wake up. It could be crunching over leaves in the fall on a walk outside.

When we “stop to smell the roses” (as they say), we’re slowing down time. These little things help get us out of our heads, where we’re doing mental work, and back into the real world, where we notice all sorts of things that can bring us pleasure and joy.

This practice is a an easy way to practice mindfulness in our daily lives that can bring a sense of peace and freedom.

7. Practice Non-Judgment

Woman with a ponytail hiking in nature and staring wistfully at the trees

Judgment is a thief of joy. It tells us we’re not good enough (or that someone else is not good enough), but these reactions are based in fear. Little judgments–like “I’m not good enough” or “Wow, that person has really gotten fat”–throughout your day can add up to a lot that give us anxiety and negative emotions, which can steal our present-moment awareness away from us and send us doom-spiraling

When we practice non-judgment, we allow ourselves to experience something without placing value on that experience. Non-judgment allows us to have an experience without having that stress-response!

8. Focus on your senses

One technique for dealing with symptoms of anxiety works here in the very same way. When we focus on our 5 senses, we are able to feel more grounded in the present moment.

Thriveworks describes the 5 senses and some different ways that you can use them to ground yourself. They call it the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. Find 5 things to see and observe their color, shape, or pattern. Find 4 things to hear, and describe how loud or quiet they are, different timbres or musical sounds you might hear. Touch 3 things with texture, smooth or rough, patterns, or soft or hard. Smell 2 things, perhaps a candle, flower, or some coffee. And last taste 1 thing like a piece of chocolate or a crunchy chip.

Focusing on our senses brings us out of our heads and back to our bodies, calming our stress response and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.

9. Listen to your body

Speaking of our bodies, they have highly tuned systems that help us to be aware of when something is wrong, either in our bodies or in the world around us.

Pause for a moment, close your eyes and do a body scan. How do you feel? Start at your toes. Are they sore? Tired? Are you experiencing any pain? Do your socks feel soft? Are your feet warm or cold? Observe each body part, working your way up from your feet to the top of your head.

So often, we go through the motions of our lives without really feeling our bodies, let alone nourishing our bodies. When we live in the present, we are aware of our bodies, as well as any pain, discomfort, or tension we may be experiencing. And simply recognizing that tension may help us relax and experience our bodies in a more positive way.

10. Connect with a higher power

Woman practicing mindful meditation

Whether you believe in a god or gods, the energy of the Universe, Mother Earth and nature, developing a deeper connection to a higher power allows us to find trust in ourselves and our circumstances and helps relieve us of worry.

Believing in a higher power allows us to let go. It can get us out of the nitty-gritty details of our lives and allow us to be more present for each moment in our life. When we trust that someone or something else is guiding us and will be there to deliver us to happiness allows us to give up controlling everything.

11. Don’t over-plan

Extensive planning can feel good because it helps us control our lives or environments, but it also robs us of spontaneity and seeing the bigger picture (which are traits of feminine energy). Spending time planning means we’re thinking about the future, but when the future gets here, will we enjoy it? We’ll probably be doing exactly the same thing we were before: planning for another new future.

Plan enough to keep your mind uncluttered and let the rest go.

12. Get out into nature

Woman hiking through dense trees

Nature is one of the easy ways to experience the present moment. When we’re out hiking, eating a picnic, or enjoying ourselves outside (with our phones or devices safely stored away), there is literally nothing else for us to be thinking or doing.

Being present is easy when you’re in nature because that is the whole objective: to just be!

Not only this, but nature serves as a wonderful role model. Trees and plants change with the seasons and recognize the cyclical nature of life, but they are never in a hurry to get to the next phase. Nature serves as spirituality for many people. As Lao Tzu, author of the Tao Te Ching wrote:

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

13. Write in your journal

Like doing a body scan, writing in a journal can help us increase our awareness of our present lives. Awareness is a tool that can help us lead to freedom from worry, freedom from judgment, and freedom from stress.

It can also help us “unclutter” our brains. When we do a braindump, we are able to get things out of our heads and onto paper. As Shelby says in that article, writing in our journals in this manner can help us “untangle” all the swirling thoughts in our brains and moves them from abstract thoughts to corporeal.

RELATED POST: My Top 10 Life-Changing Books

14. Practice Gratitude

Gratitude plays an important role in living your best life because it allows you to focus on the aspects of your life that you love. Gratitude is a gateway to your inner world where you can incorporate more of what you love in life and spend less time on things that don’t bring you joy!

So start a gratitude journal–it’s a helpful tool in tracking those little things that go a long way in our mental health!

15. Get creative

Woman playing piano

Creative activities are a great way to focus our attention on the present moment. Doing something creative works all kinds of different parts of our brains that don’t allow us to be on autopilot. Creativity means working our critical thinking skills, our imaginations, and problem solving all at once.

This applies especially when we’re learning a new skill. So if you’ve never taken Latin dance classes, now might be the time to try! Or learn an instrument (or a new one from a different instrument family!). Or maybe learn to sketch, or ski, or write poetry, or sing. The sky’s the limit!

RELATED POST: 40 Creative Affirmations 

16. Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is the act of eating purposefully and slowly. I can’t count the number of times I grabbed a bag of chips while I was watching a show and realized that I had eaten over half the bag!

This doesn’t happen when you’re incorporating mindfulness into your eating practices. Sit down for meals and eat them at specific times each day. Put your phone away. Pay careful attention to each bite as it enters your mouth. Actually taste your food!

17. Exercise

Woman running in the morning sunlight on a trail

Yes, our success each day is predicated on our good health. When you put all these tips into practice only for your mental health, you are being remiss.

Exercise, eating healthy, and taking care of our bodies is an important component in enhancing our mindfulness. Our bodies need just as much exercise as our minds to prevent getting distracted and living truly for the present moment.

When you exercise, make sure you do it every day. Move your body in the way that brings you joy! If you prefer rock climbing, then don’t force yourself to run five miles every day. Create a work out routine that helps you enhance both your physical health as well as your mental health.

18. Start your day right in the morning

If you notice your day feels off, it may be that you got off on the wrong foot. Mornings are intensely important for establishing a daily routine of mindfulness.

The morning is often the easiest time to be mindful. It’s a new day, a clean slate, and it also sets the tone for your day. Take some time in your morning routine to start your day with mindfulness: drink a cup of tea on your balcony while watching the sunrise or sit quietly in your living room before you get dressed for work and meditate.

Both of these are simple mindfulness exercises that will get you into an active state of mind where you can then continue be in the present moment throughout your day.

19. Sleep

Woman sleeping in the morning

Sleep is important for mindfulness because it helps us stay focused on the present moment. Not only does rest contribute to our physical health and wellbeing, but it also replenishes our mental energy. When we’re getting enough sleep, that means we can be in full control of our attention and mindful throughout the day.

When you do not get enough or quality sleep, your mind tries to compensate by becoming more alert. This leads to a vicious cycle where the body stays in a state of hyper-alertness that does not allow your brain to relax and regenerate the necessary neurotransmitters to rest and recharge.

So remember that while sleeping is important for everyone, it has an especially potent effect on mindfulness when you’re fatigued.

20. Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Hold the door open for someone. Leave a large tip when you go out to eat. Bring your coworkers flowers. Cook dinner for your partner.

Random acts of kindness boost our serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for feelings of well-being and pleasure!

​Remember that each person you meet is just a human being doing their best and everyone is deserving of kindness! So pay attention to those around you and you might be astounded at what you see!


Your life is what you make it, so learning to be in the present moment can make your life abundant and rich. Utilize these practices for healthy mindfulness everyday, and don’t forget your tips to keep the awareness on the present moment.

Accept. Breathe. Release.

There are so many different ways we can teach ourselves to be more present in our lives. Start by putting down your phone, getting out of autopilot and move toward something new and positive! These are all techniques for radical self-love.

Do you struggle with living in the present moment?

How do you find yourself being present in your daily life?

Make sure to put your thoughts in the comments below!

How to be more present in life: learn to be mindful and focus your attention. (Pinterest Image)

20 Easy Ways to Be More Present and Live in the Moment

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