The Art of Savoring the Present Moment
When we savor the present moment, we shift our focus from worries about the past or our fear about the future to what is happening right here, right now, a moment that is often missed.
Life can be hectic, and it’s far too easy to move quickly from one task to the next or to tick another item off our to-do lists. Honoring the present moment can not only be a welcome respite to this hustle and bustle, it is also a powerful mindset that can provide clarity into how we experience daily life.
You may have heard of the concept of awe. Awe is the practice of finding wonder in your surroundings. Much like a child experiences something when they first encounter a new place or a new toy, they are open and curious to what is in front of them. Noticing the beauty that surrounds you at his very moment can be transformative. The sounds of birds singing in the morning, the warmth of the sun on your skin, the laughter of a loved one–these are moments that we often let pass by unnoticed. In some ways, this can seem artificial, but when we look at things as if we are seeing them for the first time, we open our minds to the positive potential in everything.
When we savor the present moment, we shift our focus from worries about the past or our fear about the future to what is happening right here, right now, a moment that is often missed. This shift can have a powerful impact on our overall well being and can help us better manage our stress. By paying attention, we can learn to connect more deeply with those around us. Giving someone your undivided attention and being completely present in conversations and interactions lets others know that what they have to say is important and you are listening. This practice alone can strengthen relationships and foster a greater sense of emotional intimacy.
Think about the things you savor. I love a good cup of coffee–the smell, the taste and the feelings of warmth these senses conjure. Over the summer, I visited The Lake District in Northwest England. The window above the bed in the inn I stayed in was over a brook. The sounds of the water were soothing, so much so that I had some of the best night’s sleep I did all summer. Savoring coffee moments or the white noise of the brook can help foster gratitude. It’s these small pleasures in life that help us realize the abundance around us.
So how can we practice savoring the present moment? Consider using the following techniques:
- Think about slowing down, specifically slowing down your breath. Notice how your breath moves in and out (try breathing through your nose). Notice how the breath is warm on the inhale and cool on the exhale. Notice where in your body your breath lands (in the chest? The solar plexus? The belly?). Breathing slowly and deeply is not only a grounding practice, but it also has the physiological benefits of calming the nervous system and lowering our heart rate.
- Try to engage your senses. Notice as you’re eating or drinking the smell, taste and texture of your meal (or coffee). Listen to the sounds around you. Feel the softness of a pet’s fur. By immersing yourself in sensory experiences, you are anchoring yourself in the present moment, practicing mindfulness.
- Spend some time each day unplugging from technology. Try a run or walk without headphones. Talk to a friend in person, rather than text or on the phone. Spend time in nature or engage in hobbies that don’t require technology.
- Practice gratitude. Keep a journal or notebook of the things that you are grateful for. Talk at meal time about something that happened in your day that you are grateful for. By noticing each day one or more things that you felt thanks for, you foster positive thoughts and train your mind to seek out moments worth savoring.
Savoring the present moment is a conscious choice to embrace life in the moment. It reminds us that there is more to our day to day experience than checking off our “to do” list. By taking the time to be present, we allow ourselves to find gratitude and fulfillment in the everyday, whether that’s sipping a rich, warm coffee or allowing the sounds of a brook lull us to sleep.