Can you live in the moment? Research suggests many can but is this really likely?

There was a report published which noted that, despite all the pressures of this time, many consumers wanted to continue to eat, drink and be merry; most especially dance.

The basis of the report was that many young people today plan less for the future but tend to mentally live in the moment. It is one of the reasons that one can see numbers returning in strength to bars, restaurants, clubs and festivals. Even dancing classes have seen increased numbers take up the discipline. Far from being depressed by the gloomy economic reports, many are focusing on what is positive within their lives.

However, one can understand this emotional release post pandemic but will it not all find its path back to a normality of stress and tensions once again after some passage of time? Thi has understandably led to some debate amongst psychologists. It sounds very attractive to live in the moment; return to the carefree days of past times however, most will note that it may be easy to desire; far harder to actually do.

One doctor has argued that much of our stress lies in what we all fear may happen rather than what does in truth happen. We create scenarios in our own minds which create immense tensions with many of them never actually materialises. One can argue that it is all for good reason why many of us see dark moments in advance. For example, if one misses a train and feels stressed by its implications, it is easy to create negative mental scenarios for how things will play out as a result which simply increases the levels of stress and when in truth, few of those scenarios actually materialise as we thought. Things naturally go wrong in life but we often fail to calmly manage the moment.

The concept of “mindfulness” has become almost a common phrase but how many of us truly understand it?

One expert author (Jon Kabat-Zinn ) defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” This definition of mindfulness is widely used in research, and it highlights exactly what makes being present is and why it is so difficult to achieve. There is a reason why so many are judgemental and struggle to live in the moment. The reason is often not as a result of positive thoughts but rather as a result of fears and anxieties.

There are many reasons why good intentions go wrong. One is rest. We have created a life which is fast paced and which allows little time for rest and yet rest is arguably one of the most important factors which lie behind excellence. One can not be productive and work at a level of excellence without rest.

So, in simple terms, if all want to create stronger mindfulness and mind-sets for living in the moment, then new work structures and lifestyles are needed which place rest at its core. Will this happen? In time maybe but not yet.

However, there is a counter argument too. Many argue that increased stress can actually boost mindfulness because of the level of awareness that stressful events require. This arguably is very true in hospitality where managers consistently work under stress. It is one of the reasons why many need the level of stress in order to bring the best out of them.

Perhaps the real learning is that mind-sets need to be trained to be able to handle the imperfect moment. If missing a train can cause such angst in many, then surely the answer is to develop a mentality which can handle such a moment?

It is interesting that many of us can not enjoy a good moment; we almost forecast the end or ruin of the moment before it happens, even when it never does. This again suggests that too many mind-sets are dominated by negative thinking and that this needs to be addressed within development from an earlier age. If we can all learn from an early age to accept the imperfect times and acknowledge those as all part of the journey, then perhaps we can all build healthier mind-sets which will positively impact on our daily lives.

Many argue that it takes practice to develop but truth is that it is a skill, or art form, which needs to be developed from an earlier age. It all ties back to how we develop talent.