I have started to talk about this a lot recently. Over time I have recognized that there are many benefits to being present once we settle into a practice of behaviours that support us with that.
It can be hard to get out of our heads at times and to keep ourselves, mind and body, in the present moment. And yet by working to be more aware of our daily habits, and those that can take us into our heads, into the past or into the future, we can begin to spot those times when we need to bring ourselves back to the present moment. Then we can begin to learn to take the present for what it is, we can take our experiences and consider how they feel for us, and what they teach us about ourselves.
The present is in essence a gift of personal growth every day. So how do you keep yourself in the present?
Here are some key strategies you could try to help you be more present in the moment you are in.
Let go of your thoughts
Well, firstly, once you are aware that you are in your head too much, work to let go of your thinking. Bring yourself back to the present with some grounding techniques like focusing on your breathing or looking around you and finding something in your immediate environment to focus on. If you are out walking, listen to the noises around you; what can you see around you? If you are with other people, let go of your thoughts and hear what they are saying.
Be connected and engaged
Another issue that comes with being in our thoughts too much is that we can be disconnected and disengaged with the people and events going on around us. So, pause for a moment and reflect – are you sat scrolling on your phone? Is your mind on something else when someone with you is talking to you?
If you recognize that you have a tendency to do that, make a commitment to yourself to give yourself a moment to pause and come back to the present whenever you notice that happening for you. It could be something as simple as shifting your physical position, and then allowing yourself to listen and observe what is going on around you.
Pause and breathe
Build a habit or ritual that helps bring you back to the present moment whenever you notice yourself lost in your thoughts of the past, or the future, or on “he said, she said”. Have a grounding technique that works for you. Ask yourself some “present checking” questions such as “where am I right now?”, “what is happening around me right now?” or “what can I focus on right now?”. Pause and let the thoughts drift away and then choose what you want to focus on in the present.
Listen for feelings
When we get lost in our thoughts, we can sometimes lose track of what we are feeling. Letting go of your thoughts and just giving yourself time and space to ask yourself “how am I feeling right now?” is a good way to regularly assess your feelings. Process and release them and assess how you can support yourself around those feelings, which over a period of time avoids that emotional build-up that can completely take us by surprise and leave us feeling overwhelmed with things.
Reflect on your day
Another aspect of being present is taking the time to reflect on where you are at currently and assessing in the moment what you need and how you can best support yourself with that. Getting to know yourself in the present moment enables you to proactively support yourself in the here and now. Don’t dismiss it, talk yourself out of it or bat it away as something for another day. Look at what is going on for you today and support yourself around that.
So, pause for a moment, think about how you can be more present in your day today. Remember to let go of your thoughts, come out of your head and into your present. Listen to and connect with the people and things around you. If you feel yourself drift away on your thoughts for too long, pause and breathe and bring yourself back to the present using a grounding technique.
Also allow yourself to be with yourself in the present and recognize your feelings when you feel them and support yourself with those. A self-reflection question of “how am I feeling right now?” is a great checking-in strategy that supports you in the now, to build deeper emotional awareness and self-awareness. Which then shapes and informs your capacity for personal growth.
Would it help to have a template to walk yourself through this process. Click here and get your 4 page template booklet now to work through these key steps. And start your own process of transformation and growth, towards living more in the present.
If you feel it would help to have a conversation about your next steps – email me directly at email@example.com and I would be delighted to arrange a time to talk.