LIFE

Living in the moment

MEL NOAKES
The Self Care Coach

You know the excitement of what comes next.  The holiday you’re longing for.  The special day you can’t wait for.  The day your new job starts.  The day your baby is due.  We have so many things we get excited and count down for.

Those days or moments or things that you’re so excited by you can hardly breathe.  You put a countdown calendar on your phone, home-screen, calendar and anywhere else you can see it.  You’re wishing the months, weeks, days and minutes away.

But it’s not just the BIG days or holidays that we long for is it? Many of my peers, friends and clients tell me they wish the week away and live for the weekend. They countdown the day until the evening.  They can’t wait for next month when they have the pay rise, more responsibility a new job.  Life will be great when I just have [insert new shiny object, job title, status]

We all seem to be in such a big hurry we’re rushing through life and missing what is right.in.front.of.our.faces.

Photograph by Eva Krupier from Ana Lui Photography 

The year of my wedding I purposefully set myself an Instagram challenge to record the 100 days before my wedding as I knew and accepted that I was going to wish those days away.  All that mattered was August.  I just needed to get to August.  Whilst lazing away on a beach in Mexico on my honeymoon I sat down with my Instagram account and revisited those 100 days that I’d urged to pass.  Here’s what I found:

Whilst lazing away on a beach in Mexico on my honeymoon I sat down with my Instagram account and revisited those 100 days that I’d urged to pass.  Here’s what I found:

Here’s what I found:

–  Reunions with friends (and new babies!) from Canada,  Australia, and the USA

–  Trips to Tokyo, LA, and Las Vegas filled with amazing stories and experiences

–  Two beautiful weddings

–  I met THE Arianna Huffington

–  My husband’s 40th and my Father in Laws 83rd birthday

–  Fathers day with both our amazing dads

–  A lot of laughing, dancing and eating with amazing friends

–  Focussing on me time and hanging out in the gym and making friends with protein shakes

Not that I wasn’t aware of all these amazing things happening at the time, but I was so caught up with one day that I can’t say 100% that I was 100% present in these incredible moments.

And it was whilst lazing on this amazing beach in Mexico that I made myself a promise.  That I would be fully present in the moment.  I would focus on what was happening right in front of me.  Celebrate where I was, who I was with and what was happening and not delaying happiness or joy until the next big goal was met, not rushing past my achievements or wins.

“We’re so busy rushing to the next thing we forget to celebrate what we have already”

If you’re nodding your head as you read this (and I KNOW you are if you got this far!) then here are some principles to put into place:

UNPLUG

I vividly remember when mobile phones were first for sale.  My abject horror at the thought of someone being able to contact me whilst I was out and having fun, why on earth would I ever want to be disturbed?  Seems almost comical now when a smartphone is an extension of oneself.

Try leaving your smartphone in your bag during key moments in your day, say lunchtime and dinner time.  Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by social media or phone calls and instead be 100% present with those around you and the conversations you’re having.

If you go somewhere special or exciting, before checking in or taking a photo take a few moments to take in the atmosphere, the moment and enjoy it before taking that selfie.  I love it when I’m travelling and the wifi or signal is weak to non-existent.  it means the hostel common areas are full of people talking, it means the streets, woods, places of interest are filled with people taking in the surroundings they chose to visit rather than sitting in a stuffy room updating all the friends online about the “” place you’re in but haven’t actually seen yet …..

When you ask “what’s next?” do this instead

STOP.  Ask yourself what there is to celebrate in the here and now instead.  Take the time to notice the moment you’re in and what there is to enjoy, what you’ve achieved, what you learned or what you need to remember about the moment you are in.

A classic example of this is when you’re on holiday.  So many people get sad on the last day or so and don’t want to go home and start planning their next trip.  In doing so they miss the final days and special moments of the trip they’re still on!

100 Happy Days

I know, I know, but bear with me.  The concept behind 100 happy days (an instagram fad that went round in 2014) is actually a really beautiful one.  It asks you to capture something, no matter how tiny it appears, in every day, that makes you happy.  It encourages you to see the joy in every day and the mundane tasks.

I listed some of the bigger things in my 100 happy days that I did before my wedding but some of them were as simple as coming home to my slippers, cuddling up on the sofa with my then fiancee and a Nandos (veggie pitta all the way – they’re amazing!).

You don’t have to use social media to do this, you can journal it or record it in a different way, a gratitude diary for instance.

The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no (wo)man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.

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