7 Simple Ways to Live in the Moment and Enjoy Friends

Judy Dippel
Oregon Author of
The Art of Authentic Friendship:
Real Women, Real Challenges, Real Solutions

Regardless of your age or role in life, your world may be too busy. It’s no surprise that daily commitments and habitually busy lives can crowd out fun and pleasure. Simple blessings are not intentionally disregarded, but busyness can easily drown them out.

You, like many women may feel you’re living too many of your waking hours on a treadmill and have forgotten what true relaxation feels like. Without it, you may miss built-in opportunities for friendship. Learning to live in the present moment is another important step to finding time for relationships.

To allow your senses to awaken to and appreciate this very moment takes deliberate practice. Life’s pressures can cause you to constantly focus on what’s to come next, rather than focusing on what’s happening right now, this very moment! Our culture has gotten into the habit of racing the clock. It’s a society bent on achieving goals and endless “doing.” All too often time for yourself or with friends is blurred in the rush or buried underneath a blanket of thoughts that rarely come up for air. The world pushes you to keep up with all the demands it imposes, and consequently, the beauty of each day or anything else around you is hardly noticed. Even in the freedom of your home, it may be difficult to allow yourself to pause and quietly retreat into stillness. If you do, you believe the false notion that you’re being unproductive and wasting time.

We’re made for moments of quiet and stillness, but too rarely get it. Scores of women are not able to stop long enough to give themselves license to do nothing for a time. Others say they either don’t know how, or have totally forgotten to relax and enjoy life without feeling guilty or overburdened. They feel compelled to accomplish something at every point in their day. When you lose the ability to slow down and simply have fun, you often lose your sense of spontaneity and expectation too. Learning to live in the moment can help you enjoy more time with friends. At the same time, friends can help you live spontaneously. No matter where you are, think of it as an “adult  recess.” This may help you make it a priority. Not only can life be more stimulating when it’s unplanned, but it can sometimes be a treat not to arrange a thing. Just let life happen!

The habit of a hurried lifestyle has become a prestigious badge many women wear. It’s often viewed as an acceptable and expected way of life. Slowing down and learning to live in the present moment means you are living intentionally,or you are practicing intentional living. In either case, it’s key to making more time for friends a reality. Life is not always easy or fun, so seize every opportunity you have to make your days more enjoyable. The more you embrace time rather than race or resist it, the easier you’ll be able to spend it in more satisfying ways. Begin with small steps and make gradual changes.

What you can do:
Are you living intentionally? Review the following points. Evaluate each strategy by placing a 1, 2, or 3 next to it. Raising your awareness in these small ways brings satisfying results. Use the following scale:

1 = I will do it today   2 = I will try to do it tomorrow   3 = I already do it

• Focus on the present and pay attention to your surroundings. Tune in to what you are doing this very minute. Use your senses: look, listen, smell, touch. Enjoy and be mindful of right now. The world is ever-changing. Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining. A sense of mindfulness can inspire you to slow down and appreciate a more relaxing pace.

• Pay attention to the people around you. Smile and encourage those with whom you have contact. Make a habit of connecting with others in ways you enjoy too. Who can measure the effect? Kindness is contagious and makes you feel good about life.

• Breathe. It sounds trite, but taking slow, deep breaths throughout the day is another way to ease the anxiety that can result from a stressful or hurried day. Try it as you race through the mall. Slowly inhale through your nose. Breathe deeply as if inflating a balloon where your stomach sits just above your belly button. Exhale out your mouth even more slowly. As you exhale, think of a short word or phrase to say to yourself. Examples: peace, surrender, faith, calm, God is present, the Lord is my strength.

• Take a personal time out every day. Refresh yourself doing something you love. Listen to music, sing, play the piano, garden, enjoy a recreational activity, read, sew, take a bubble bath, have a pedicure, etc.
• Maintain a sense of humor. Spend plenty of time with friends who make you laugh and who think you’re funny too. Entertain one another; it will brighten your day. Who is that friend for you?

• Cultivate a thankful heart. “Count your blessings” is not just a catchphrase. Keep a gratitude journal and list what you are thankful for every day. Review these pages as reminders of what you have to appreciate.

• Do one spontaneous thing every day, no matter how small it seems. Fluctuate your morning routine, drive an alternate route, hop on your bike, visit a new store, take the kids to a different park, perk up your brown bag by coloring a picture on it—anything, just as long as you put intentional living into practice.

Obviously, not all of life can be unplanned. Most women can’t live in spur-of-the-moment or spontaneous situations on a regular basis. Additional strategies for making time for friends are probably necessary, just as enjoying and living in the moment, takes conscious choice on your part. But if “drowning in busyness” hits a nerve for you, give the seven simple ways to live intentionally a try—I’m confident it will bring you unexpected, simple joy. It’s a great place to start.

www.judydippel.com The Art of Authentic Friendship: Real Women, Real Challenges, Real Solutions

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