Are you here? I asked you that in a post a few weeks ago. In that post, I explained the importance of living in the present moment. Being present allows us to be worry-free, calm, and focused. This leads to feelings of gratitude and joy. Fretting about the past or the future causes us to feel disconnected, stressed, fearful, and angry. These negative feelings can block our journey to success.
Being present in the moment is important in all aspects of our lives, from relationships, to work, to personal safety. So, what are some things you can do to start living in the present?
- Breath – Breathing through the nose activates a relaxation response in the body. This results in feelings of calm and focus. Bringing attention to your breathing when you find yourself living in the past or future guides you back to the present moment. You can only breath in the here and now. Refer to my post, Just Breathe, for a useful diaphragmatic breathing technique.
- Become a witness to the moment – Whenever you notice yourself wandering away from the present, stop and take a few moments to observe your current situation. Just observe, do not react. Take note of the sounds, smells, colors, and activity around you. Note what you are doing and how you feel. Give everything a label. Becoming a casual witness to what is happening around you rapidly draws you back into the moment.
- Remind yourself to be present – Between running from meeting to meeting, checking a never-ending barrage of emails, Facebook notifications, and text messages, not to mention managing a social life, it is easy to begin to focus on the next thing we need to do, rather than where we are. When life gets hectic it can be helpful to set some reminders for yourself to help bring you back into the moment. Try setting a few reminders on your phone throughout the day or put a note on your computer or a picture on your mirror, anything that will remind you to stop thinking ahead (or behind) and be in the now.
- Meditation – Meditation is a technique that brings focus and stillness to the mind. In meditation, you focus your mind on a single point. This can be your breath, a mantra (a word or phrase), or even an object, like a candle flame. As the mind wanders from your point of attention (and it will, especially at first) you gently bring it back around to the object of your attention. Start small by spending 15-20 minutes each day meditating then slowly work up to 30-40 minutes several days a week to get the greatest benefit. Be patient with yourself and go with the flow.
These are just a few of the ways you can learn to live in the present moment. My hope is that these tips get you started down the road to living a mindful life and that you develop your own techniques to bring you all of the benefits of being present. Good luck and have fun!
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