Being present

I am always thinking about my future – where I want to go, my goals, desires, ambitions. What I want out of life, who I strive to be, etc.

While I think these are important questions, I often find myself wondering am I missing out on things right in front of me by always looking ahead, and by always thinking of the future?

A close friend of mine recently, confided in me that his focus tends to be more on his past.

After having this conversation, I started to realize, maybe both of us are missing out on a really important time – NOW.

But how exactly do we stay present?

I am no expert, but here is a list of a few techniques that I find work for me:

  • Yoga – Yoga has played a huge part in my effort to stay present. Yoga is amazing for your mind, body and soul. Yoga not only helps you gain strength and flexibility, but it helps you accept yourself, it helps you truly appreciate everything that is around you.
  • Meditation – Similar to yoga, meditation has some of the same benefits. Meditation is all about calming the mind, focusing on the breath, so it is, arguably, one of the best methods for getting present. In fact, something I read recently on beachyogagirl’s instagram page pointed out that we all meditate on a regular basis – whenever you take a deep breath to calm down or when you pause to think for a moment before doing something – those moments of pause are moments of brief meditation. I think having that mindset really changes your whole perspective on meditation. Changing it from a really challenging task to something not so daunting and something that everyone can partake in.
  • Express gratitude – This one has also had a huge impact on my ability to stay present. Sometimes when I find myself really overwhelmed with life I take a moment to create list of the things I am grateful for. Such as my family, friends, pets, the roof over my head, my job, anything really to change my perspective.
  • Look up and around – Put down the cell phone, and take a moment to really appreciate your surroundings. Whether you start to see things you see everyday a little differently, or start to pay more attention to your family and friends when you are with them. Make a conscious effort to put your phone on silent, and away in your pocket while you spend time with people who are important in your life. Something to keep in mind is that the time you get to spend with people you care about is limited, so take every moment and every chance you get to focus all your attention on them and appreciate them. And no, you cannot multitask. Seriously put your phone down and be with the people around you, you won’t regret it.
  • Always explore – I find stepping outside, and exploring the simple things around me helps me appreciate the moment and stay present. Simply making a detour on your usual drive home can brighten your day and increase your presence. Make time during your days off to not only relax but to also look for interesting things around you. There really is beauty everywhere, you just have to be open to finding and seeing it.

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it. – Ralph Marston