Have you ever thought about how distracted we can be as a culture? Whether it’s our smartphones, our emails, TV or something different. We can be here, there and everywhere, but that doesn’t do our well-being much good. Feeling well and at peace is a lot to do with quieting our thoughts and resting here in the present moment. I would love to share with you today how to bring yourself to the present moment daily and reap the benefits of resting in the here and now.
What does being Present mean?
Being Present in the here and now means bringing your awareness into this moment. Right now this means reading these words and perhaps being aware of any sounds, silences and sensations as you read. With the realization that there is only right now, that every single moment is lived in the here and now, there comes with it a relaxing shift of perspective in our body and mind.
Eckhart Tolle puts it beautifully when he speaks of being present:
“Feel the energy of your inner body. Immediately mental noise slows down or ceases. Feel it in your hands, your feet, your abdomen, feel the life that you are, the life that animates the body.”
We can only truly feel life when we are present to it. And when we are present to it, it’s like we are being filled up with a life force that feels peaceful and nourishing.
Sold on living in the present, but struggling to do it in a practical way?
You may be thinking, “Okay Claire yes, being present sounds wonderful, BUT you don’t live in my head!”
Well I’m here to tell you that I absolutely get it! I know that our brains can have the tendency to race from one thought to the other and one activity to another at lightning speed. But there is another way. We can train ourselves to live in the present moment.
Our brains are like plastic and learn new things really quickly. The key is to repeat these things over and over again so they become automatic. My advice for you today is to train yourself to live in this moment. Yes it is possible and you will LOVE it!
Let’s get present in a practical way
So let’s get a handle on this being present business. When was the last time you felt truly and beautifully present? What stand out moments can you think of? A beautiful sunset, perhaps holding a baby in your arms, the moment you got the all clear from a serious illness, or perhaps escaping from a crisis or emergency situation?
Take yourself back to that time now. You’ll notice how clear your mind was, how colours were brighter and sounds were sharper. You had a clearer perspective and time slowed down (yes this time slowing down thing is a real bonus, right?)
My own struggle with being present
I realized I needed to make a change ten years ago when I was studying NLP. I realized that a lot of my memories where hazy. When I tried to think back to times where I felt present I came back with zilch. I just couldn’t really remember or picture that many times when I was fully tuned in to the present moment. Yes it’s true that I, for example, enjoyed my 21st birthday, but at the same time I was busy obsessing about a romance I was having at the time. And yes I did enjoy that wonderful concert, but in the same breath I was worrying the whole time I was there about something I had to do the next day. My experience was fractured because I was never fully present.
I didn’t even know being present was an option back then. No wonder I had a history of burning out and feeling exhausted. I wasn’t ever filling myself up with the ‘life’ energy that Eckhart describes so beautifully.
That’s when I resolved to be fully present as much as I could. I wanted to build a reservoir of empowering feelings and experiences in my life and the way to do that was to be present to life.
Next I’m going to share with you how I did. Believe me if I can do it, you can too.
Take yourself on a “Present Moment” walk
I started to take myself on daily walks where I trained myself to be present to everything around me. Instead of internalising, I would turn my focus outwards on what was happening around me. I would focus on what I was seeing, hearing and feeling. I focused on the sights around me, the different sounds, the feel of the air on my skin, the different smells as I was walking along. As soon as my inner chatter distracted me, I would stop and refocus again. I started with 5 minutes and then built up to 20 minutes and a miraculous thing happened! After two weeks of daily walks. It was like a switch in my mind and I was suddenly present and felt such joy and peace.
Use a “Stop” technique to anchor you into the Present
When you take yourself on this Present Moment Walk, using a ‘stop technique’ for intrusive thoughts can come in really handy. This is where you interrupt any thoughts that take you away from the present with a key word like “stop,” “pause” or “now” which will anchor you back into the present moment.
A real breakthrough for me was when I realized I didn’t have to take every thought seriously!
The psychologist Claire Weekes in her book, Self Help for Your Nerves, advises that one of the best ways to treat anxiety is to be ‘less impressed’ by our thoughts. To observe them rather than being sucked into them. This is advice that changed my health and life for the better.
Passion makes you Present
As you lessen the amount of time you’re distracted, you’ll have more time to do what you really love. This might be dancing, art, cycling or something else you love doing. There is really nothing better than that feeling of being completely engrossed in what you’re doing, is there? On a side note it can really improve your sex life, too. Quite often we want to lose ourselves in the passionate moment, but we become distracted. Instead bring yourself back to your five senses again and see how this allows you to let go and enjoy the moment fully.
You being in flow with the present moment feels good. Practice being in the moment as you go through your day, remember you can always interrupt your thoughts and bring yourself gently back to the moment. Make time for your passions, as you’ll find it much easier to engross yourself in the moment when you are doing something you love. Recognize the feeling of complete presence as you do this and learn to incorporate that feeling more and more into your every day life. Listen to Eckhart Tolle when he says, Feel the aliveness within your body that anchors you into the Now.
How do you practice being present in your life? I would love to continue this conversation with you. If you have any questions about practicing presence in your life, I would love to help. Please get in contact on .
Warm Wishes to you,