HOW TO BE MORE PRESENT IN LIFE
Life can be busy. It pushes and pulls us in different directions and our body and mind have to react. This means we can easily become unfocused, distracted and out of alignment with where we want our days and life to head. Here are some tips on how to slow down and be more present in life.
HOW TO BE MORE PRESENT IN LIFE
I recently found myself sucked into the wormhole that is social media. After feeling poorly and recuperating in bed, I’d been mindlessly checking my phone until I felt better and more energetic. I enjoyed watching videos of cute puppies and people doing funny things, but it was also a lesson in what distraction can do.
I’m normally really good at creating more than consuming when it comes to social media, but I’d racked up hours on my phone without realising it. Not really a habit that I wanted to continue once I was starting to feel better and ready to get back on track with my life (instead of watching other people’s).
I’d been distracted and although, perhaps, I had a reasonable excuse, I’ve been reminded again how important it is to stay connected to and present in life – without distraction.
It could be distraction of social media and those cute puppy videos, or whether it’s goals that no longer align with what we really want from life, conflicting priorities or anything else that pulls us off course.
“Life is available only in the present moment.”Thich Nhat Hanh
In a busy world that distracts us from every angle, I think it’s time to remind myself (and maybe you too!) to be present.
5 WAYS TO BE MORE PRESENT IN LIFE
Let’s regain focus, be mindful and aware in the moment, create clarity and be more present in life.
Here are some tips on how to be more present in life.
1. Eat slower
I’m a fast eater and in years gone by I’ve usually finished my meal before anyone else. Maybe it stems from when my children were young and I snatched a quick bite or two of my food in the little slots of free time I had. Maybe I’m just rushing to eat because I have a tendency to do everything in a rush – walking, housework, talking, typing, eating…
Eating slower helps me savour the taste of my food, enjoy the company of those I’m eating with, be grateful for the food on my plate, improves my digestion and encourages me to slow down and stop rushing through the day. Eating slower helps me be more present in life.
2. Bath instead of shower
When I shower, I’m quickly in and out. I don’t tend to hang around. When I choose a bath instead, it takes longer to run the water. I choose carefully which bath products I’m going to use, maybe I take a book, a candle or a drink with me. Sometimes I listen to music or a podcast.
Having a bath is more of an experience. The water flows at its own rate and the whole process feels more luxurious, intentional and slower. I take time to enjoy the warmth of the water, the scent of my bubble bath and I can lose myself in my thoughts. Taking a bath instead of a shower helps me be more present in life.
3. Stop multi-tasking
We often think of multi-tasking as a superpower but actually it’s often more of a hindrance than a help. If you’re fed up of juggling all the things and struggling to focus on what you’re doing right now, the chances are that your body and/or brain are equally struggling to keep up!
Multi-tasking usually means we’re skimming the surface of whatever we’re doing at the time, without the time and space to commit to the task at hand. Think about the number of times you’ve re-read a paragraph of your book because your mind got distracted and you can’t remember what you’ve read. Or, when the dinner boils over because you’re trying to help your child do their homework.
Wherever possible, and I know it’s difficult when busy life demands otherwise, try not to multi-task. Do one thing, then do another. Don’t be afraid to say no, postpone or cancel. Listen to your body and mind when they tell you they’re too busy. Doing one thing at a time helps me be more present in life.
4. Declutter your environment
A clutter-free home and simplified space is a wonderful way to regain space, ease, calm and clarity. Get rid of the visual distraction, the mental clutter and the physical stuff to make your home easier to manage. Everything in your home has a message to send you – “look after me, use me, tidy me away”. Give yourself freedom from this ‘Silent To Do list’ as Fumio Sasaki calls it.
Without the distraction of clutter and stuff, your mind and body are free to focus on the life you’re living here and now and the things that add true value to that life (which often aren’t tangible things anyway). A decluttered home helps me be more present in life.
5. Practice gratitude
So many times we can get caught up in chasing, achieving and doing. More, bigger, better. When we earn more, we’ll be happier. When we get a bigger car, we’ll be able to travel more. When we have that new pair of shoes, we’ll look better. We wait for the future instead of embracing the present.
Gratitude helps us enjoy what we have right now and build on it in a positive way instead of through negative comparison, dissatisfaction and green-eyed envy.
Create a regular journaling practice to help you reconnect with yourself or just spend a few minutes each evening as you close your eyes to go to sleep. Reflect on what you’re grateful for in the day and feel your thoughts become lifted and more positive. If you need ideas, try my free 30-Day Gratitude Challenge. Practicing gratitude helps me be more present in life.
Here are some other tips you might like to try to be more present in life.
- Free yourself from sentimental clutter – live in the present, not the past or the future
- Meditate regularly – practice focusing your mind and stop listening to the noise of the outside world
- Spend time with people who lift you up – laugh, talk, share and support
- Make time for the little things – find joy in the every day
- Re-align your priorities – take my free 1-week Intentional Living course
- Check-in with yourself regularly – make a date with yourself mid-week and ask these 10 mindful questions
- Be silent – take 5 minutes to sit quietly. What do you hear when you really listen?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
I hope you enjoyed these ideas on how to be more present in life. If you have any ideas of your own, I’d love to hear them! What distracts you in life and how have you found ways to avoid or minimise that distraction? Please leave a comment below!