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How To Be Happier: Live in the Moment

Enjoy the fleeting beauty of a sunset.

Enjoy the fleeting beauty of a sunset.

The Ability to Live in the Moment

Some people have an innate ability to live in the moment without thinking ahead to some future activity or dwelling on something that happened in the past. Others have to learn it. For example, artists, writers, musicians, craftsmen or other very creative people are able to focus their whole beings on what they are doing, whether it is writing a poem or story, painting a picture or creating a quilt or a sculpture. During the creative process, all energy is focused on the present moment. An artist feels her brushes and the flow of the paint and texture of the paper. A poet hears the words in his head as they flow from his pen or keyboard. The passage of time goes unnoticed as the creative process unfolds.

Children live in the moment when they concentrate on their play. Some people live in the moment as they view a beautiful scene, listen to music or become engrossed in a hobby.

Why Should We Live in the Moment

Time is fleeting as we all know. This particular minute will never happen again. If you think back to times in your life when you were totally happy, those were times you weren't thinking about yesterday's mistakes or tomorrow's plans. I can think of some wonderful moments of my life when I thought of nothing but that minute. After 50 years, I can still remember the joy of being young and riding in a convertible with the top down listening to great music on the radio. The sun was hot, the sky was blue. I remember the song that was playing and the happiness in my heart.

We can't wait for tomorrow to be happy. Today is here, so let's make the most of it!

While painting this watercolor, I lost myself in the moment.

While painting this watercolor, I lost myself in the moment.

Worry is a Thief of Time

There are those who seem to be born worrying. They plan every hour, have calendars filled with things to do every day, month and year. They are so focused on what has to be done tomorrow or next week that they forget to look at today, right now. They worry that they won't have enough time to do everything on their schedules. They make time for more appointments by crossing off time with friends or families. While planning for tomorrow, today is passes by unnoticed.

Even worse are those who constantly worry about the past. Of course, we all hope to learn from our mistakes, but a life of if only and should have will only bring misery over things that are finished and cannot be changed. Meanwhile, today is happening, and today is our opportunity to do improve our lives.

Appreciation and Kindness Brighten Your Moments

There are certain areas of life where it is essential to adhere to a schedule or plan ahead or we would be fired from our jobs and certainly lose the ability to live in the moment during our "real lives."  However, even in your work, you can live more in the moment if you can look at and value each small or large accomplishment throughout your day. A memo well written, the books balanced, a problem solved, a customer satisfied, a car repaired... take a moment to look at your accomplishments and enjoy the knowledge of a job well done. Even if no one else notices, you will be happier if you can take pleasure in your little triumphs each day.

Living in the moment does not mean living selfishly, focused only on your own happiness. It is having the ability and the flexibility to find joy in each moment, in the little things of life. Looking into someone's eyes and smiling, holding a door for a harried shopper, handing someone that extra 2¢ they need at the checkout, giving a coworker assistance without being asked, stopping a moment to chat with an elderly neighbor—all of these things will make your day happier and brighten someone else's day, too. Remember, each of these moments is unique and will never come around again. When an opportunity to do something nice for someone else presents itself, do it. You will be doing yourself a favor by living that moment to it's fullest.

Enjoy Life Like You Mean it

Happiness hides in those tiny moments of life that come upon us unexpectedly. Living in the moment gives us the opportunity to recognize and enjoy those moments of happiness as we live them each day. Take the time to look at your food, smell and taste it. Watch the kids playing in the park for a few moments. Did you notice that the sky was so blue you could clearly see the moon during the day? Buds are forming on the forsythia and daffodils are showing their tiny green shoots. Did you notice? You can enjoy living in the moment in your everyday life, on the way to work or when you go out to get the mail. 

"You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth."
William W. Purkey

Enjoy Moments of Nature's Beauty

Capturing the moment of a double rainbow.

Capturing the moment of a double rainbow.

Enjoy the present moments of your life

Through this article, there have been many suggestions on specific things you can do to live in the moment. There is also one thing that you can do for yourself. Each day, take some time for yourself. It can be a half hour alone drinking your morning coffee or time at lunch time to take a walk in the park by yourself. Those few moments of quiet solitude each day are necessary for us to slow the frantic pace of our lives and become more able to focus on the present.

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If you've been caught up in a fast moving pace, you may need to remind yourself often to enjoy the present moments in your life. The more you do it, the easier and more enjoyable it will be.

Copyright ©2011 Stephanie Henkel


Live in the moment

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Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on July 18, 2013:

Tilsontitan - Thank you so much for your kind and lovely comments! I'm so glad you found this hub and enjoyed it. Your comments made my day! :)

Mary Craig from New York on July 18, 2013:

I so love led me to this beautiful hub. Your sentiments should be everyone's, "carpe diem"!

You are such a talented lady, your hubs are brilliant, your photos incredible and now I see your beautiful watercolor...amazing.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting...shared too.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on January 05, 2013:

Thatswhatido - You're absolutely right! Living in the moment is a way of life. Thanks so much for your input!

Thatswhatido on January 05, 2013:

What people don't realize is living in the moment is a life long practice. Vigilance is the key. It's not enough to understand it. It has to become a part of us. We don't need a wake up call, we need a 100 wake up calls a day. Great hub!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 25, 2011:

Thank you Gail. I know from reading your hubs that we do share a certain outlook on life, and it always pleases me to hear from you. The photo I used on this hub is one of my all-time favorites. It was taken in Frisco, NC at sunset in a golden light that I've never seen before.

Thanks for the complement on the butterfly painting. I was glad to have a photograph of it to share as I somehow "misplaced" the original in our last move. But then, butterflies symbolize new beginnings and fleeting beauty...

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on September 24, 2011:

Don't know how I missed this hub but I'm glad I found it tonight. As I was reading this I kept nodding and agreeing with what you were saying as our outlook on life is so similar. The top photo is absolutely breathtaking and the watercolor with the butterfly is exquisite. Thanks for sharing it.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 20, 2011:

Naturalsolutions, Thank you for stopping by to read my hub. I appreciate your comment!

naturalsolutions on September 20, 2011:

Nice one, worry is the thief of time. What a good thought I admire you by thinking of that thing!.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on April 03, 2011:

Thanks, Jaye. I agree, and I think that as time goes on, I'm more aware of those ordinary times that can be so special. There is a little wisdom to be gained with age, isn't there? :)

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on April 03, 2011:

Stephanie...This is a terrific hub. The sentiments expressed are so very true. It's to be hoped that more people will learn to live in the moment while they are young, rather than wait until they are older and realize there probably aren't as many moments left to enjoy! JAYE

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on April 03, 2011:

Thanks for commenting, Kashmir, very well said!

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on April 03, 2011:

Hi Stephanie, great hub, living for the moment is the only way to live because yesterday is gone and no longer matters and tomorrow is not here yet and may not come at all,so embrace and enjoy the moments of today before they become yesterday .

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on April 03, 2011:

Thanks for visiting my hub and for your comments, TravelMan and SMcompywrite. Sometimes when life is hectic, it is difficult to remember to appreciate what we have right now.

Ireno Alcala from Bicol, Philippines on April 02, 2011:

I agree. We must always enjoy the present. The past already happened while we're just expecting the future. Thanks for this very enlightening hub, Ms. Steph. :D

smcopywrite from all over the web on April 02, 2011:

always living for the past or the future is not the way to go. you will miss out on a lot without realizing it. well said and great hub

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