You’ve probably heard more than once how important it is to be present – but that can be easier said than done.
It sounds like it should be easy, but staying present and mindful can actually be a challenge, especially when we’re not used to doing it. We asked around for some tips and tricks to help us all stay in the moment. Here are five ways (plus some bonus advice) to be more present every day.
- Don’t let your phone rule your life: “Organize your mobile phone,” suggests Kelly Hoey, author of Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships in a Hyper-Connected World. “Consider deleting a social platform – or two.” You can keep your most important network on your phone, but get rid of the others – Hoey deleted Facebook and LinkedIn but kept Twitter. She also recommends turning off all or most of the notifications on your phone – do you really need to be distracted by all those Instagram notifications? And last but not least, use your phone’s “do not disturb” feature – it’s there for a reason. You can use it when you know you need to be present, like during a meeting, and/or set a regularly scheduled “do not disturb” period. “For me, it is 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.,” Hoey says.
- Manage other people’s expectations: “Often we're not present in the moment because we're imagining all the other people who may need us,” Hoey says. She suggests using your out-of-office autoresponder and voicemail to let people know when you’re away from your desk. “By providing details on how/when you can be found, you can settle your attention into where it should be.”
- Get in nature: “If you want to be more present, get out into nature. It is calming, peaceful and presents so much beauty,” says life coach and author Dr. Jaime Kulaga.
- Take clarity breaks: “Take 10- to 15-minute breaks regularly throughout your day,” Kulaga suggests.
- Meditate: There are different ways to meditate but simply sitting in a quiet place and breathing deeply is a great place to start. Kulaga recommends finding a peaceful location devoid of distraction, sitting with your eyes closed and taking a minute to just feel that moment of peace. “When your mind wanders, bring it back to the sound of your breath. Take several deep breaths.”
Why being present matters
“Being present allows you to enjoy beautiful moments in life that chaos and speed often force us to miss,” Kulaga says. “If you want to increase your happiness and truly see what you have in life, you must continue to strive for more awareness of the present moment.”
To really push yourself to be more present in your daily life, she suggests these little challenges.
Challenge 1: “When you are eating your dinner, be there eating your dinner,” Kulaga says. “No matter how many times your mind wanders, bring it back to the physical moment.”
Challenge 2: Choose one routine you enjoy but normally rush through and slow it down. Afterward, Kulaga says, reflect on one beautiful thing you often miss because you normally rush through it.