Figuring out how to be more present is a worthwhile effort
There are plenty of benefits that come with staying mindful and living in the present. With all of life’s many distractions such as work, relationships, and responsibilities, it’s all too easy to find ourselves feeling nostalgic about the past or focused on the future. The present can easily slip through the cracks if we let it.
While the struggle to determine how to be more present will continue to be a lifelong challenge, there are certain things we can do to encourage more mindful behavior and live consciously on a daily basis. Surprisingly, most of these techniques don’t require dramatic changes. Many mindfulness practices can be accomplished during downtime or while enjoying everyday activities. Try these 7 tips that offer a solution for how to be more present and enjoy every moment as you’re experiencing it.
For many of us, meditation can seem intimidating. Being still and silent isn’t commonly practiced in the modern day and can feel uncomfortable for those of us who are used to being constantly active and distracted. If this applies to you, it’s time to get started.
To begin, start with just a few minutes at a time and use an app that will lead you through a guided meditation. We love the Calm and Headspace apps. Perfect for any time of day, these apps will help you wade into a meditation practice that works best for you. Meditation is effective in learning to be more present and staying more alert and mindful even during the moments when you aren’t meditating.
2. Enjoy your food
By growing up in a world of timed lunches and short breaks, we have developed the habit of inhaling our food without actually taking a moment to slow down and enjoy what we’re eating. Food is literally the fuel that keeps us going, yet we don’t often enough give it the respect and gratitude it deserves.
The next time you’re eating, focus diligently on your meal. Leave your phone in the other room, close your laptop, and remove all other distractions. Pay attention to what your food looks like, how it tastes and smells. Notice the sensation of chewing and swallowing. This is a form of meditation. You might be pleasantly surprised by how this way of eating will lead you towards how to be more present. You’ll feel more nourished, satiated, and aware.
3. Connect with your breath
When is the last time you turned your attention to the natural rhythm of your breath? The act of inhaling and exhaling is something we don’t focus nearly enough on. Breathing practices have many of the same benefits as meditation, including stimulated brain growth, lowered stress levels, and better heart health.
Because if this, yoga is a powerful tool in becoming more aware and present. There’s a reason the history of yoga dates back thousands of years. Through learning to inhale and exhale through challenging poses, a person can also learn to stay focused and calm when obstacles arise off the mat. Often, all it takes are a few centering breaths to remain mindful and conscious.
4. Give yourself a break
It can be hard to overcome the belief that you must constantly achieve for your life to be of value. However, it is important to understand that the most productive people are those who set aside time to relax and recharge.
Taking a break can mean many things. For some, it’s carving out moments to do something they enjoy like reading, cooking, hiking, or taking a bath. For others, it is more important to implement pauses between actions to give themselves a second to remember how to be more present. To practice this, take a pause and refocus between tasks.
5. Turn your attention to your senses
The senses include touch, sight, taste, hearing, and smell. Your body is often experiencing all of the senses at once, but how often do you actually pay attention to the feedback you’re receiving? Along with studying the breath, both yoga and meditation require awareness surrounding the senses. If you often find your mind wandering during practice, turning your attention to your senses is a wonderful way to reconnect.
Another powerful way to increase your awareness is to make choices with your senses in mind. When you return home from a long day, put on comfortable loungewear, make a mug of your favorite tea, turn on relaxing music, light a candle, and watch your focus quickly shift to the moment at hand.
6. Be a good listener
The next time you engage in a conversation, take note of what’s going on in your head. Are you actually listening to every word that’s coming out of the other person’s mouth or is your mind racing in different ways you could respond?
An effective how to become more present technique is to train yourself to listen more intently and thoughtfully. Rather than dedicating all of your attention to cultivating a response, shift your focus to the way you feel about what’s being said. A whole new level of mindfulness will become available to you when exploring your reactions rather than just your responses.
7. Do things that make you happy
The most conscious people are those who follow their intuition and engage in activities that make them happy, rather than only doing the things they feel obligated to do. Reflect on the moments you recall feeling the most at home in your body, mind, and spirit. Dedicate more time to the things that help you stay present, simply because the present is the happiest place to be.