How often, throughout the day, are you really present?
Not just physically present - but truly immersed in the reality of the moment; alive to all the sounds and sensations around you, fully attentive to the people around you and aware of how you feel, both physically and emotionally.
In an age of distraction, many of us spend our days inhabiting past, future or alternative versions of reality. We're elsewhere. Disengaged. Disconnected.
Of course, we must learn from the past and plan for the future. But these things shouldn't come at the expense of appreciating where you're at right now.
In a chaotic and fast-moving world, bringing ourselves back to the stillness of the present moment takes work. But it's so worth it.
When we're present...
- We have better concentration and focus.
- We're more appreciative of life, and notice the small moments of joy.
- We're less likely to be overwhelmed by anxieties about the past or future.
- We feel more connected to those around us, and can build stronger, more trusting relationships.
Okay, so this all sounds great. But how do I actually get there?
How to be more present: 5 steps to a more intentional life
1. Practice mindfulness
The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness.
Jon Kabat Zinn
Mindfulness is all about paying attention to the sights, sounds and sensations of the present moment. It's a skill that, with practice, you can get better at over time, and which you can incorporate into all areas of your life.
2. Check in with your body
Our bodies are constantly giving us signals about how we're doing and what we need: both physically and emotionally.
In an age of distraction, many of us have lost touch with these natural signals. By regularly regularly checking in with ourselves throughout the day and connecting with our breath, we can better identify our needs and feel more connected to the sensations of the present moment.
If you feel disconnected, check out Jamie's reel on how to reconnect with your body.
3. Look up from your phone
Our phones are constantly transporting us out of the present moment - whether we're scrolling through our newsfeeds, capturing experiences through the lens of our phone cameras (rather than our eyes and minds) or prioritising virtual connections over real ones.
Screens are designed to divert our attention, so if you want to commit to being fully present, be conscious of how much time you're spending on your phone. Keep it in another room while you sleep, away from the dinner table while you eat and out of sight while you're working.
4. Tune into your senses
Our senses are a great tool to help anchor us into the present moment. When you feel overwhelmed, or simply distracted by thoughts about the past or future, practice bringing your awareness to the sights, sounds and sensations in your environment. What can you see, hear, touch, smell and taste?
Want to watch the full class? Download MindLabs from the App Store and start your free trial.
5. Appreciate the little things
Pay attention to the small details of your day that usually go unnoticed: the smell of your morning coffee, the birdsong outside your window or the trees in your local park. Slow down. Look up.
As well as bringing us into the present, learning to appreciate small joys like these can help us cultivate gratitude: improving overall life satisfaction and positivity.