5 Ways to Be Present
November 17, 2014
You hear it all the time – Be Here Now. It’s part of the reasons we come to the mat – and also one of the hardest things to practice.
There are countless suggestions out there to help us stay in the present moment, but here are 5 great tricks to get you back to where you are, which is Now, right now. Try any of them when you feel like you’re wandering mind can’t be stopped, see if they help bring you into the present moment more fully.
1. Count Your Breaths – Close yours eyes and count each inhale up to 10. Depending on the day and the activity in the mind, you may find this pretty hard to do. You may only get to three and before you know it, your mind has wandered and you can’t remember where you left off. It’s ok! It happens to all of us! When this happens, without judgement or telling yourself “don’t do that”, just acknowledge that you’ve wandered off and start again.
2. Active Observation – Take one to two minutes to sit with an object and observe it as it is. It can be anything, a flower, a tree, your keyboard. Allow yourself to be curious about it and explore it as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Try your hardest not to judge it, but simply make objective observations of it. Keep your mind connected to that object fully. You may start to rediscover your own sense of wonder and awe with the simple things that life presents to you.
3. Go on a Walk – Put everything down and take a short walk. Even just up and down the street or around the block. Leave everything you don’t actually need to complete the task of walking around the block behind (your phone, your wallet, your iPad, your laptop. etc.) and just walk. Lift your head up and look around you. Listen to the sound of the street. Notice the temperature in the air. You may discover things in your neighborhood you’ve never seen before.
4. Share Gratitude – Offering up a moment of gratitude for the current moment brings us back. If you’re feeling lost or distracted, take a few moments to say thank you for what is. Try to avoid searching for the “good” stuff, but instead, look at the current situation in all it’s glory and offer gratitude for the reality of the moment. Even the sensation of being lost or distracted can help bring you back to yourself – which is something to be grateful for.
5. Stick with it – Being present takes practice. We are creatures of habit and for most of our lives, we have been wandering in our minds. We’ve spent countless hours remembering the past or fantasizing about the future and rarely allow the now to have our complete attention. Mindfully practicing returning to Now will help develop new patterns in the mind and in behavior so you can remain more and more present.
Be patient. Be persistent. Be Present.