“Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment.”
— Deepak Chopra
According to a Harvard study, we are not fully present during almost 50% of our time. Instead, we either ruminate about the past or worry about things that are yet to come in the future. This often leads to anxiety, frustration, or even pain in our daily lives.
Each morning we wake up with a clear mind but quickly seek thoughts. Instead of being grateful for a new day and being fully present, most people grab their phones or mindlessly rush into their days.
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And as if that’s not enough, the majority of our thoughts are about problems and how things might go wrong. Even though the present moment is all we have, we often choose to live in the past or even in the future.
“Realise deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.”
— Eckhart Tolle
Neither the past nor the future is of relevance if you can’t enjoy this very moment right now. The present moment is your biggest treasure in life, and it’s what you should protect most.
Once you manage to be in the present moment with all your thoughts and emotions, you realize how everything else loses importance.
And the best thing about it is that the magic of being present is available to you all the time. You can literally tap into the power of presence whenever and wherever you want. Learning to be present takes discipline, yet, you’ll soon experience the benefits.
According to psychologist Martin Seligman, happiness is not about what happens to us but rather about the state of our mind. And that’s something we can actively control at any given time.
“You may not be in control of what you feel in the moment but you are always in control of what you think and that will change how you feel.”
— Mel Robbins
Stop being a slave to your mind
For the next three days, try to pay attention to any thought that crosses your mind.
You’ll quickly realize how difficult this is as we’re thinking all the time. Plus, you’ll very likely recognize that the majority of your thoughts are destructive.
Only a fraction of your daily concerns are related to the present moment. The majority of your thoughts, however, are about the past or future. Whenever you catch yourself wandering in the past or future, consciously bring your focus back to the present moment and to the activity you’re practicing at this very moment.
Accept that multitasking is a myth and allow yourself to do one thing at a time: When you work, just work. When you shower, just shower. When you eat, just eat.
Stop switching from task to task and losing your mental energy. Instead, tap into the power of focus and do one thing at a time. And whenever you catch your mind wandering, bring your attention back to the activity and do it with all your consciousness.
How to do it:
The moment you realize that your mind shifted to the past or future is the moment of tremendous power because it means you just woke up. Use that wake-up call and ground yourself at that moment. Focus on the current activity and your inner world instead of shifting to the past or future.
Choose a daily activity you practice several times and remind yourself to stay present during these moments.
You could, for instance, remind yourself to be more present every time you sit down or stand up. Or you could practice being present whenever you pass through a door, brush your teeth, drink water, or unlock the screen of your phone.
Choose one repetitive daily activity and consciously focus on being more present every time you practice it.
Tap into your senses
Mindfully tapping into your senses is a fantastic way to bring more awareness into your day.
While our eyes are wide open all day long, we often ignore our other senses, such as the sense of smell, touch, or taste. Yet, making use of these can lead to more presence and help us calm down during stressful situations.
Our human body is a massive miracle, and our senses play a huge role in manifesting our reality. Everything we see, hear, and think regularly turns into our reality. Thus we can use the power of our senses to calm down and be more present during our daily lives.
How to do it:
There are tons of things you can do to tap into your different senses. Here are a few simple ideas:
- Eat more consciously: enjoy your food with all your senses, appreciate the people you’re surrounded by during the meal. Avoid phones, tv, or other distractions during meal times. Chew your food more often. Add your favorite spices and aromas with full consciousness.
- Add a pinch of cinnamon, vanilla or any other flavor to your daily coffee and be fully present while enjoying it: Hold the cup with both your hands, put your phone away and enjoy the smell of your drink for a few calm seconds.
- Make use of essential oils: Scents like lavender, lemon, rosemary, peppermint, and others are known to reduce stress, promote alertness, and improve relaxation. Find your favorites and make use of them throughout your days, for instance, through a little air diffuser next to your work desk or by putting them on your skin.
- Learn how to solve the Rubik’s cube. Or consciously hold items of different shapes in your hand throughout the day.
- Grab a foam roller and give yourself a massage whenever you feel like it could help you let go of tension and tap into your tactile sense.
- Eliminate sources of unnecessary noise throughout the day, for instance, through noise-canceling headphones. Moreover, take some time to listen to your favorite music.
Most people love to talk, but few like to listen.
We want to share our ideas, how we feel, what we desire, and what great things we accomplished, yet nobody seems to be willing to listen properly.
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
— Dalai Lama
Yet, listening carefully will not only help you to learn new things and charm people but also allow you to be fully present and focus on the current moment.
By consciously listening to your fellows, you can silence your thoughts about the past and future and instead focus on what they have to say. This will not only help you to stay present but also benefit your relationships in the long run.
How to do it:
Brené Brown once said:
“Be as passionate about listening as you are about wanting to be heard.”
Too often, we stop listening to our conversation partners and instead worry about what to answer. We miss out on their thoughts and the majority of the information because we’re already one step ahead and want to share our perspective instead of acknowledging their ideas or even pain.
Next time you have a conversation, take control of your mind by not thinking about what to reply. Instead, listen to your conversation partner. By being fully present, your answers will come naturally anyway. And if not, a little break and silence are still better than interrupting your conversation partner or not listening at all.
“If you think about history, you will be depressed. If you think about future , you will have anxiety. if you think about present, you will be in peace.”
Being present is no magic, but neither is it a coincidence. It’s rather the result of small, conscious activities that lead to a more clear, focused mind throughout our days.
And while these little exercises might not sound like a big deal, practicing them regularly can have a massive effect on your wellbeing, relationships, and ultimately on your happiness in life.
- Stop being a slave to your mind: Instead, bring more awareness into your daily actions and thoughts by reminding yourself to be more conscious during regular activities such as sitting down, unlocking your phone, or passing a door.
- Tap into your senses: Make use of different smells, tastes, shapes, and sounds to be entirely present in day to day moments.
- Listen carefully: Instead of thinking about what to reply, shut your mind down, and be completely present while listening to your fellows.
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