While you may or may not like dancing, no matter who's not watching, the idea embodied in those 4 words sums the entire experience of living in the moment.
If you care—if you even consider—who's looking, you're performing.
Your goal is to dance well, to impress (or at least not disappoint) your audience. To live in the moment, to "dance like nobody's watching," you have to forget about performing for others and simply accept the moment for what it is.
Even if you're just walking, or wiping the counter, or shuffling cards—how does it feel? There's probably some kind of commentary spinning through your mind, and it probably has to do with something other than what you're doing. Let those thoughts go and focus on what is (not what was, or what could be). In Buddhism, this is referred to as mindfulness.
Just breathe. When the moment begins to escape you, as it will certainly try to do, breathe. Take a very deep breath, through your nose, as deep as you can. Listen to the air moving into your body, and feel your lungs swell. Breathe out slowly through your mouth, letting the air escape on its own.
Pay attention to your other senses—touch, sight, smell, sound, and taste. Pretend it's the very last time you'll ever experience whatever you're experiencing. Have you ever been so engrossed in something that it seemed like the rest of the world just disappeared? Living in the moment is about creating that state of mind at any time. Slow down, and try to savor the present.
Listen to the world. The birds, the sounds of one car passing, the conversations of distant strangers, the cracks and creaks of the building as it heats and cools, the planes overhead, the footsteps of passers-by. The moment is all around you.
You can set the tone of appreciation and awareness for the next 24 hours by simply waking up and smiling. Don't wake up with a groan and a smash of your alarm clock. There's scientific proof that the expressions that you make with your face can actually influence how you feel. In particular, true happiness is most closely tied to a Duchenne smile which involves smiling with your eyes, as well as your mouth.
Visualize all the good things that are going to happen to you today.
Got a presentation to give? Imagine the laughs you’ll get for your jokes and the ovation you’ll receive at the end. Got a busy day of cleaning? Imagine how good it’ll feel to sit down with a delicious tea and admire your cozy living space when it’s all done.
When you find yourself wishing for something you don't have, or wishing your life would be different, start your quest for your wish by being thankful for what is already in your life. This will bring you back to the present moment. Make a list of what you are thankful for right now, even if all you can think of is that you are alive and can breathe. You don't want to miss the gifts right in front of you, because you are always looking beyond what is in the present moment to what once was or what might be. If you are thankful for what is, you'll be happy to be in the moment – instead of dreaming about being happy someplace else.
No matter what you're doing, notice the moments that surround you. Maybe on your way to work or school, you go over a beautiful bridge, or you get a view of the sunrise behind the city buildings.
When you walk down the street, look at the way the light reflects off the buildings, the tree line, and the birds that manage to nest in random corners and cracks. The simple act of tilting your chin can give you a whole new perspective on the place you live.
Really look at a flower. Okay, so you know it’s pretty. What is pretty? What does it smell like, besides itself? How many petals does it have? Do the leaves spiral up the stem like a staircase or branch out on opposite sides every now and then? Are there any bugs going about their lives on this plant? Do you think they’re even aware of your existence?
Realizing that whether these things are great or small, you are part of that singular moment when all these things come together. When you realize you are a part of every moment that you've lived through, you'll be almost there. When you stop realizing it, and just live it, you will be all the way there.
Whether it's picking up litter, or helping people, keep alert in every moment of your day for some way in which you can make the world a better place. Even the smallest thing, like complimenting someone, can bring joy. It's the most spontaneous and unexpected acts of kindness that produce the greatest impact, and you can't be sensitive to those kinds of opportunities unless you're living in the moment.
Have an old or sick neighbor who doesn’t get many visitors? Stop by with some cookies, a pot of coffee, or a jug of lemonade. If it’s someone who won’t let you leave once they’ve got your attention, dig in and enjoy their stories. People are a lot more interesting than you thin
What are you doing that tempts your mind to run away from the present? For most people, watching television puts you in a passive state of mind, and time slips right by. Daydreaming and getting lost in a good movie or book isn't bad, but it's not living in the moment because it places your concentration on something that isn't right here, right now; it's a form of escapism. Don't zone out; zone in. Do things that are active, and that encourage you to look around and engage the world in that moment. Gardening, playing a game, knitting, and playing an instrument are all activities that lend themselves to mindfulness. So get off the computer after reading this article!
Choose at least one day a week to turn off your cell phone, your computer, your radio, your TV, and whatever other gadgets you use to distract yourself. Spend that day riding your bike to a café, gardening, having a friend over for tea, drawing something you see out the window, or exploring a new area of your town or city.
Narrow down your absolute favorite shows, write them into your schedule, and only turn on the TV at those times. Like to nod off to late-night television? Try herbal tea instead. Channel-surf when you’re bored? Get a hobby. Watch game-shows during dinner? Cook yourself something special and savor every bite of it.