Just a few ideas for living in the moment, most of which cost very little or are completely free
- Write a letter and post it – when was the last time you actually wrote for pleasure? We often find ourselves hurriedly filling out a form or signing our name for the umpteenth time, but writing a personal letter to someone we care about, is kind of old-fashioned. Imagine a clean, fresh sheet of paper, a smooth, inky pen flowing over the page, saying words to someone you love, words that you may often think, but don’t often speak aloud. Now imagine their face as they read what you’ve written and how you’ve made them feel. Priceless.
- Turn off all screens, close your eyes and listen to your breathing – many of spend hours a day looking at a screen. Whether it be a computer, iPad, phone or television. My eyes are sore just thinking about it! Try just five minutes a day with no screens. Find a comfy chair, close your eyes, put your hands on your stomach and become aware of your breathing. If you find yourself caught up in your thoughts, try and focus your attention back to the sound and feel of your breath.
- Have a cup of herbal tea – take a few moments to enjoy a hot, steaming cup, wrap your hands around it, breathe it in, savour the taste. Many herbal teas, such as chamomile have a calming effect.
- Sit outside for ten minutes and notice the world around you – whether you’re at home, out for your lunch break, wherever you are, try and cast aside thoughts about deadlines and what you’re going to do for dinner and just notice. The way the clouds move across the sky, the way the trees move in the breeze, that pleasant fragrance in the air, I wonder what it is? Honeysuckle perhaps, or jasmine?
- Give yourself permission to do something you haven’t done since you were a kid – jump in puddles, do colouring in, finger painting, make silly faces. Often as adults we think we’re no longer allowed to do things we did as children. We have to be all mature, responsible and grown-up – yawn! Who said? Maybe it’s self-imposed, maybe we feel inhibited by social expectations, whatever the reason, throw off your inhibitions and give in to your inner child.
- Go to the beach and watch the waves rolling in – a great antidote to stress; the repetitive motion of the water can be infinitely soothing.
- Eat your favourite food mindfully – take your time over your favourite meal, notice the smell, taste and texture, eat slowly and savour it.
- Read a book – yes, an actual real life book! You know the ones made from paper and ink? There’s something more down to earth and satisfying about turning the pages, bookmarking your place so you can see where you’re up to, ready to easily pick up again when you have another spare few minutes.
- Sing your favourite song out loud – doesn’t matter if you can’t sing, or if you sound like a chipmunk, singing releases endorphins, those lovely little chemicals that make you feel good.
- Perform a random act of kindness – next time you see someone in need, whether it be helping someone carry their bags, giving up your seat on the train or picking up something a person has dropped, they’ll feel good and so will you. So spread the kindness around.