How to be in this moment
We all do it – think that only when all the circumstances of our life are perfect that we will be truly happy. Happiness is now a subject which is being studied in universities and research centres around the world and they conclude that happiness lies less on our natural demeanour and external circumstances – this makes up only 40% of our happiness – the rest is affected by our ability to be present, have fun and our general outlook whether that is positive or negative.
One of the most precious things you can give to anyone is your undivided attention but most of us are so busy worrying about the past and replaying things that happened – or worrying about the future – that we forget to be in this moment, right now.
When you are dating it is especially important that you learn to be present with that person, not just in body but in mind as well. Listen to what they are saying, take notice of their skin, the colour of their eyes and their mannerisms – take the time to really ‘see’ them even if you think you won’t want to see them again – dates are much more enjoyable when you are present.
This doesn’t just apply to dating, you can bring your conscious awareness to any situation throughout the day – when you are cooking or walking the dog try saying to yourself – be here now – and notice what is around you with all of your senses. The past is gone and cannot be changed – holding onto sadness, anger or regret will only keep you stuck – the future is a mystery no matter how much you try to predict it. Being too caught up in yesterday or tomorrow could mean you are missing out on today – the present – be here now.
Life is difficult – but as Scott Peck said in his famous book The Road Less Travelled, that doesn’t mean it can’t also be lots of fun. Sadly for some people having fun – playing, laughing and allowing themselves to be silly – is actually the thing that is most difficult. It is in our nature to have fun – children do it naturally but for some reason as we grow up we think we have to be serious and sensible all the time and only do things that are worthwhile.
Constantly maintaining your grown-up, adult persona will stop you from enjoying this moment because you will be more concerned with how you appear to others than the sudden impulse you may have to dance or tickle your children.
What do you do in your life just for fun? Do you play? If you feel as though your life is lacking in fun then try doing something you used to enjoy as a child – skipping, bouncing a ball, doing a drawing or blowing bubbles – let there be times in each week where you let go of your serious, grown-up self and play a while – it is like giving a plant water, it will help you grow.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
It is often much easier to notice what is lacking in life than what is good. This is especially true when you are dating because you may have built up an ideal picture of ‘the one’ and realistically no-one is going to fit the blueprint exactly. You can pick holes, find fault in the food, the service in the restaurant, your date and even yourself – going through the whole date admonishing yourself for that silly remark or for wearing the wrong shoes. It can feel like there is a voice in your head that constantly has a stream of negative commentary about everything and everyone. It takes work to tune it out – the most effective way is through the use of gratitude.
Practice noticing, and saying, what is good in your present circumstances – the colour of someone’s jacket – the fact you found the restaurant even though you were a little late – the flowers on the table. Because we are so used to seeing the negative it can feel hard to notice all that is good.
Try, at the end of the day, writing down 5 things that were good about it – there will always be 5 no matter how difficult the day was – you just need to take the time to notice.
No matter what shape or size you are, a positive attitude towards life – one where you are engaged and engaging, having fun and able to be fully present when you are with someone -will not only mean you enjoy life more but will also make you much more attractive to others.
“Carpe diem. Seize the day.”
― John Keats
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