Today I’m really excited because we’re going to talk about ways to be more present in our lives.
It sounds like such a simple idea but I think when it comes to practice, it’s one that’s hard to put into play. We have so many distractions in our lives these days and while I very much believe technology is a huge factor, that’s not the only thing to blame. Our schedules are packed and making time for ourselves seems to be a lost art. I’m hoping that with this conversation (and definitely check out this episode of The Soul Connection podcast) we’ll learn to make that a bigger priority.
So today we’re talking about 9 ways to be more present in your life. You may find that you do some of these or none of these (but I’m guessing if you’re here and you follow me, you’re hopefully doing at least some of them), but I’m hoping you find something new you can try or add into your life on a more regular basis. Being present in our lives allows us to be more present with ourselves, in our jobs, and when we’re interacting with those we love most.
How to be more present in your life
When it comes to our meditation practice, this is something that we’re constantly practicing. Meditation is the practice of coming back to our present moment. It’s not uncommon for our mind to wander off while we’re meditating but the goal is to become aware of that and then simply return to the moment at hand.
Put your phone down
I wrote a post on my old blog about a day when I was working at a coffee shop and watched a group of teenagers sitting on couches together and every single one of them was looking down at their phones. I’ve also been in many situations where everyone at the table has their phone on the table, whether face up or down. I challenge myself to keep my phone in my purse or coat pocket and instead be in the moment of my life and the people I’m with. Sometimes this means I don’t get as many photos, but I like to think the memories are deeper because I was able to experience them not from behind a camera.
Focus on one thing at a time
I’ll admit that this one is particularly hard for me. I’m a chronic multi-tasker and I spent most of my life, up until a few years ago, thinking this was something to celebrate. I’m no longer sure that it is. I have a hard time just watching TV shows as I’m often also on my computer or phone. Movies are next to impossible unless I’m at a theater as I usually find myself pausing them to get up and do other things and need more breaks. But this carries over into other areas of our lives too. Food becomes more fulfilling when we’re just eating and noticing the deliciousness of what we’re eating and how it’s making us feel, instead of sitting in front of a TV while eating. I’m not saying I’m great at this, but it is another thing I’d like to work on.
Get in nature
It’s so easy to get grounded so quickly when in nature. I love to get out on a walk and since it’s something my dog also really enjoys, it’s something that I prioritize. Sometimes I will listen to a podcast, audiobook, or music but sometimes I just listen to the sounds of nature while I walk. I find myself immediately ground back into my body and breathe a little easier after a walk outside. You could also just sit outside in your backyard, in a park, or even put your feet on the Earth (preferably bare feet), or work in your garden. However you enjoy getting in nature, give it a try and notice how it makes you more present.
Listen to your body/mind/soul
Learning to have conversations with yourself about how you’re feeling requires being really in-tune, aware, and present with yourself. If this feels like a foreign concept, keep practicing. It takes time, but it’s such a beautiful thing when you start to get the hang of it and it becomes easier and easier the more you do it. You can start practicing this with my Mindful Movement Class Calendar. It helps teach you to tap into how your body is feeling each day and choose your movement for the day based on how you’re feeling.
This may seem like a duplicate of putting your phone down and in some ways it is, but it also deserves its own point because it’s actually so much more than that. We have so many distractions in our everyday lives that sometimes it can be hard to focus on the thing in front of us. For example, I recently took a Yoga Breath Coaching course. It was a 12-day intensive. I couldn’t attend the sessions live because I was working my day job, but since it was not a self-paced course and I needed to ensure I had everything done at the end of the 12 days to submit my exams, final project, and graduate, I needed to stay on top of everything in a timely manner. I would work my day job and then spend my evenings reviewing what I missed earlier in the day. It was a lot of screen time and I was so easily distracted at the end of the day until I found the way that was a game-changer for my focus…I’d hop on my stationary bike and watch the sessions. I found this was such a great way to focus because I couldn’t be distracted by emails, texts, or other notifications because I was busy moving my legs on the bike so my mind was available to fully focus on the sessions. I started calling these my “Bike + Learn” sessions and they were a game-changer for me.
Obviously, I’m a huge fan of movement which is a great way to get really present with yourself. Whether you’re choosing to walk, run, lift weights, or take a yoga class, you have to be really present with your body to ensure you don’t get injured. These practices also often become a practice of mindfulness and presence in and of themselves. For me, teaching yoga really requires me to be so present because I’m focusing on how to safely guide my students into and out of various postures and help them have the best class they can. I’ve noticed that when I get distracted in my teaching, that’s when I get my left and right confused and stumble on my words.
Reflecting on your day, expressing gratitude, or letting your subconscious take over in your journal practice requires you to get really present, and often, the more present you can be in and throughout your day, the easier it becomes to reflect on your gratitude or what you were feeling at different moments because you were actually in them.
Feel your feelings
This means ALL of them – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Instead of trying to diminish the feelings we are having and trying to judge them as being “too much” or “bad” – can you sit with them and FEEL them?
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but these are things that I have personally put into play in my own life and found to be really beneficial. It is my hope that something on this list resonates with you to try for yourself. But I also want to know if there are things that didn’t make my list that you have found to be helpful to be more present in your life? Come chat with me on Instagram @iamkatiearnold and let me know how you are able to be more present in your life!