Life is available only in the here and now, so why are we constantly distracted and obsessing over things that are out of our control? A lot of the time, people are caught up in their fears, worries, regrets, and their anger, and in doing so they forget to be present. We live in a world of multitasking, where our thoughts and feelings are fleeting with each passing moment. It has become common to be totally unaware of our surroundings where we space out while driving somewhere familiar or go through a conversation without absorbing any of it. Consciously being more present and mindful in what you are doing can increase your learning, strengthen your relationships and help us to be more grateful for what we have in our lives.
Heres are some of the benefits that come from being present:
When you are present, you are not forming responses in your head or analyzing what someone else just said, you are simply listening with your full attention directed towards that person. You can enjoy the interaction and it will help you to be more comfortable with your body language. Others can tell when you are not fully engaged in a conversation. Having your phone out during a conversation or the television on is a huge distraction and sends a message to the other person that you are not fully interested in their company and in what they have to say. Being present will help with your professional relationships, friendships, personal relationships and your relationship with yourself.
Being more present in your every day life helps you to decrease the amount of time you spend analyzing situations and worrying about things that are out of your control. You can focus on the things that are real in your life at this very moment such as the people around you, nature, and all of the things that you see and do that you are grateful for that maybe you don’t fully observe on a daily basis. “If your kid interrupts you, you can stress out because you have other things to worry about and now your kid is adding to your worries or interrupting your calm. Or you can be present, and there is then only you and the child. You can appreciate that child for who she is, and be grateful you have this moment with her.” (https://zenhabits.net/mindful/)
Being present allows you to be centered and let go of future or past scenarios by focusing on what is real and now. You can stop overthinking the things that may happen and instead make a real plan on how to tackle what is ahead of you.
How to be present: Being more present takes practice. Most people don’t learn to be present because they don’t practice, not because it is hard to do. The more you practice, the more it will become natural for you.
- Take a deep breath and be conscious of what is happening to you right now. Slowly release your breath, as this creates a relaxation response. Meditation is a great way to practice being present. There are many benefits to meditation and there are apps that can help you get started such as the Mindfulness App and Headspace. “Be joyful in whatever you’re doing, grateful that you’re able to do that task, and fully appreciate every little movement and tactile sensation of the task. You’ll learn that anything can be an amazing experience, anything can be a miracle.”
- Recognize that you don’t always have to do multiple things at one time. Are you reading? Then just read. Are you having a conversation? Then just have that conversation. Forget about your doctor’s appointment, the paper you need to write, and your Twitter and Facebook and emails. Those are all things that don’t need immediate attention and are taking you away from what you are doing now. “Whatever you’re doing, right now, learn to focus completely on doing that one thing. Pay attention: to every aspect of what you’re doing, to your body, to the sensations, to your thoughts.” Instead of trying to conquer many things at once, try doing one thing wholeheartedly.
- Notice other people’s presence. When you are more aware of being present, you will notice when other people are not and will realize how it feels when you are talking and someone doesn’t have the courtesy to be fully listening. It feels rude and disrespectful, and we all do it. Especially when our cell phones are involved. Break the habit. Put your phone away.
- Let go of what you can’t control. Whatever is not happening in the moment, let it go. We have no control over the past, the future is not guaranteed, the only time that we have any power over is right now.
The act of being present can help you take control of your world and how you experience it. Take 5 minutes today, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed, to practice being mindful, present, and aware of what is happening to you at that very moment. In doing so, try and express gratitude towards your situation, no matter how difficult it may seem. If you find this helpful, please share the idea with someone who it might help.