Staying present seems almost impossible in our hectic world.
We are all constantly multitasking and being stimulated from so many different outlets and therefore we forget to connect to the present. We are always wanting what is next and this is because as a society we have been taught that we should be constantly chasing the next thing and that we aren’t enough as we are. This is one of the main reasons why we are so disconnected, anxious and stressed out. This is also why understanding why staying present and how to do this are so important to help get us get back to our authenticity.
So, first of all, staying present simply means focusing your mind and attention on what you are doing right now in this present moment. Whether it’s drinking coffee, eating lunch or walking to work. It isn’t thinking about your next activity or what you are doing tomorrow. It’s what you are doing right now.
A question my clients frequently ask me is ‘but why does it even matter if I’m staying present?!’ Becoming aware of being in the present gives you a greater connection between your mind and body. Stepping into the present; physically, mentally and emotionally, will enable you to become more successful in your career and lead a happier and more fulfilled life. By stepping into the present moment you are allowing yourself to disassociate with negative thoughts related to the past and your future. Staying present can improve your relationships with your friends and your partner as you become more engaging and open to the conversation you are having with them in that moment and enables you to connect to them on a deeper level and become aware of feelings they may be having.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha
So, how do I become more present?
You may already think ‘I am living in the present, I’m doing X right now and I am here’ but in actual fact when you tune in, you will notice how much of your day you are actually living in the past or thinking about your future.
1. Become aware of when you aren’t in the present such as when your mind is wandering to the past or thinking about the future. Remember that becoming more present is a constant journey you have to guide yourself through. Consistent practice will make this easier for you and before you know it you will be living in the present much more than you ever thought you could!
2. I know this sounds a little airy fairy to some, but once you realise that the now is all we have, the past is just a story and the future is a mystery, we are living in this present moment right now, it becomes much easier to bring yourself back to the moment and understand the difference between being in the present and living your life in the past and for the future.
3. Meditation. I know this seems like an obvious solution to staying present, but it actually works. Taking 5 deep breaths in and 5 deep breaths out allows us to connect with our bodies, calm our nervous system and bring us to the now. Letting go and being aware of any thoughts that come into your mind and let them float through. Do not judge them, do not think about them, let them just be. Almost like you are stood above them, watching them enter your mind and leave again. Becoming aware of your thoughts allows you to step into the present moment and realise that you are not your mind. You are merely observing it.
4. Pay Attention. Go for a walk and pay attention to your body. To the sensations that are flowing through your legs, your arms, your spine. Do you feel cold? Do you feel warm? By making yourself aware of these sensations you are bringing your focus into the present moment. This also works with your breath. Take 5 deep breaths and notice the sound, the sensation of the breath entering and leaving your lungs.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic I would recommend reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.