What’s been going on in your mind over the last minute? Chances are, you have been thinking about your to-do list, your shopping, that silly thing you said a month ago, what your crush may be doing right now, that scary presentation next week and what your purpose in life may be…. All at the same time! All whilst trying to enjoy your morning coffee, which you made being completely on autopilot.
But imagine this… You are right here, right now, pouring the hot water into your cup and smelling your morning coffee. Imagine you are sitting down and watching what is around you, appreciating the views through your window, hearing the birds outside, feeling the chair you are sitting on, really taking in the flavour of your coffee. See yourself take a few moments to check in with how your body is feeling right now. You notice that you are feeling a bit anxious this morning, and that it’s going to be OK. Imagine being open to life as it is, right here, right now. Imagine being present.
Our brain goes through a lot during the day and let’s face it, sometimes we hardly spend time in the present moment. But why is it important to be in the here and now?
Why is it important to be in the present?
We only have right now, really!
There are so many quotes about how we cannot change the past or predict the future – and that is actually true. The only thing that is certain is this moment right now – so why not make the most of it?
We can only make the right and appropriate judgement when we are operating from our present self.
You wouldn’t want to make an important decision from an anxious or frightened self, would you? You would like to be open to the information as it comes.
There is life and beauty around us, we will miss it all if we are consumed by the extorted perceptions of it in our heads.
Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the fact that we live in our heads so much, we forget what reality is like sometimes!
How can you bring yourself to the present moment?
How can you possibly drop your worries for a moment and bring yourself to the here and now, you ask? There is one tool that can truly help you here, and luckily you always have it with you – your body!
Here are two exercises that can help you connect with the here and now.
Exercise 1 – A grounding exercise to bring yourself to the moment using all five senses and become more connected to your surroundings:
Take a moment and notice….
5 things you can see that are red (or any colour you want)
4 things you can hear
3 things that you can touch (take time to appreciate the texture, temperature, shape of each item)
2 things that you can smell
1 thing that you can taste (an excellent time to have a sip or a bite of whatever is next to you and really take time to experience the flavours)
And finally, take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Feel your feet on the ground. Take time to feel connected to the earth and everything that is going on around you.
Exercise 2 – A quick body scan to become more present within yourself
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, make sure you are comfortable for a minute. Take a few deep breaths and really check in with your body.
Mentally scan your entire body as you slowly shift your awareness from head to toe.
Really notice which areas of your body are the most tense right now. Why?
Now take a moment to notice which areas are the most relaxed. Why?
Pay attention to your breath – is it shallow, is it deep? Are you breathing through your chest, or through your belly? Try and breathe through your belly, as it signals to your body that you are safe.
Again, take a moment to feel your feet on the ground and feel connected to the rest of the world. Take another few breaths before you come back into the room.
Now that you are done, how does it feel? Chances are, you are much more self aware, calm and connected with the here and now before you tried any of these exercises.
PRO TIP: To increase your presence day-to-day, practice these exercises even when you are feeling more-or-less present and calm, or as often as possible! These tools are very effective when you are anxious or on autopilot, but they will be even more helpful when they are already something habitual to you and a part of your toolkit.
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