words by Molly Jennings

Christmas is probably one of the busiest times of the year. We often find ourselves frantically rushing around crowded streets trying to buy those last minute gifts and worrying if things will go smoothly on that all-important day. But before we have time to sit back and relax, it’s all over! We forget to live in the moment! So, how do we do that? “Living in the present” means something different to everyone. Some find it through meditation, while others find it by being observant to their surroundings. Some like to pay attention to their breathing or focus on their feelings and emotions. I learnt to be present by understanding that yesterday and tomorrow do not exist. They are part of our imagination and our thoughts. You can’t control what has already happened, neither can you predict what will happen in the future. The actions that you take today are what make tomorrow. I’ve gone all yogi on you I know, but figuring out your own way of being present is so important, and whatever that may be, it can really allow you to make the most of each day and ultimately your life. Here are some simple tips to help you find your present.

Be a minimalist
I love the idea of knowing exactly what I have and knowing exactly where it is in my house. Clutter itself can clutter the mind, making you feel stressed and unorganised. De-cluttering your home of all the things that no longer serve a purpose in your life can be a liberating and refreshing thing to do. Allow yourself to come home to a place of calm and tranquilly not chaos and clutter. 

Learn how to listen
We all listen but do we really actually listen? How many times have you tried to do something while someone’s talking to you? The information never fully goes in and we often end up forgetting it. When someone shows they want your attention give it to them. Of course there are times when you’re busy, so instead of trying to multi task, kindly explain that it would be better if you can finish what you’re doing so you can fully concentrate on what they’re saying. You’ll feel more connected to that person and they will appreciate you more. 

Let go of things you can’t control
This is so easily said, yet so many of us struggle with it. It can be frustrating when something doesn’t go to plan, but it has already happened. Acceptance is they key to letting go and the only thing you can do is move forward. Likewise, don’t waste your time worrying about something that you can’t control in the future. Life’s happening right now, cross that bridge when you get to it.

Be Grateful
This is my favourite. There is nothing more amazing than feeling grateful. Take a moment to look at what you have and the kind of people that surround you. Sure there are going to be a few idiots that won’t make it on your grateful list but try not to focus on them. Reminding yourself of all the good in your life can really help you become more aware of how important it is to live in the present. There is always something or someone in your life that you’re thankful for, whether it’s your mum for being the most supportive person in times of need, or whether it’s something as simple as your health. Maybe you shouldn’t be worrying so much about whether you’re getting those shoes for Christmas or not.

Make time for you
We can all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, especially around Christmas! We’re all so busy with work and fulfilling our do to lists and we can get a little bit wound up. Take a moment for yourself every so often to relax or do something you enjoy. It may be a whole day or maybe just half an hour but giving yourself a chance to slow down the pace a little can help keep life’s stresses under your control.

Learn to enjoy the moment
How many times have we heard this one? “Just enjoy yourself!” It’s probably the worst thing someone can say to you when you’re clearly NOT enjoying yourself! Never the less, it’s fundamental in learning how to be present. Sometimes we spend so much time on planning an occasion ( * cough, cough * Christmas day) and use so much energy worrying that something will go wrong, we totally forget to enjoy it! Life is live, its not a DVD you can rewind and play again.