I mean, is it really all it’s cracked up to be, or are we pinning our hopes on something full of false promises? One would wonder, given that being “present” is such a challenge for so many of us.
Why are we forever living in the past, or tripping ourselves up on a future that hasn’t yet arrived?
I went to a friend’s house for a coffee. The entire time I was there, her attention was constantly drawn to the “pings” on her phone. The experience left me feeling completely unappreciated.
It was distracting and drew the depth from any conversation we attempted to have. Oddly, the interruptions were tolerated, time and time again, yet when my friend’s kids wanted her attention, it was a huge “no, we are talking!”
We have lost the peace that living in the moment gives us.
We feel a need to always be on, and if we step back for self-care or other priorities, guilt sets in.
Because of this, we are always plugged in and switched on.
We cannot slow down, we cannot focus on one task or one person, and heaven forbid if we miss Cindy’s latest Instagram Reel because we tuned out to enjoy a quiet coffee.
I mean, what would our friends think?
I believe that being present requires discipline, commitment, and learning the art of saying no.
No to picking up our phone when our kids are in front of us, demanding attention from their mama.
No to others’ needs, until our own are met.
No to distractions, in order to remain committed to the task we have in front of us.
No to everything that breaks our integrity and our agreements with ourselves.
Like last week, when we said we’d start our new workout and nutrition plan, yet to this day, we have caved. Every. Single. Day.
Being present is a skill that can be relearned. A behavior that since birth has brought us so much joy.
Those moments when all that we could focus on was our mother or father, that one toy, or practicing to crawl or stand, over and over again!
Being present brings us back into integrity with ourselves. It says, “I respect myself enough to give all of myself to this moment, to this person in front of me, and to what I have chosen to value in my life.”
Being present reduces overwhelm, stress, and living from a constant state of frantic energy.
By simply refocusing our energy to the present moment, to the present task, or the present person in front of us, we can stop the rushing, racing, and resisting of life’s best moments that are happening right now.
“How do you practice being present?” I hear you ask!
Here are four tips to bring us back to life, through practicing the art of being present:
1. Boundaries around your phone and social media.
Sleep with your phone in the kitchen, or keep it on airplane mode from 9 p.m. until 9 a.m. every day.
Decide to no longer use your phone when the kids are around unless it’s for the purpose of sharing—like a weekend movie or that funny cat video your friend sent you.
When you are not at work and “on the clock,” don’t indulge yourself in the dopamine hits that emails arriving in your inbox give you. Leave it until the following business day.
2. Practice deep, daily gratitude.
One of the most overlooked mindfulness tools is gratitude. Many may roll their eyes when you mention it, but consider the last time you truly felt grateful—I mean to your core and in a way that moved you to tears.
Stop and think of 10 things that deeply move you to feel gratitude right now. Write them down. Be with them.
3. Implement a wind down routine.
How we finish each day is how we start it. If you are scrolling and allowing late nights to impact your sleep, then you will wake up restless, detached, and racing to grab a coffee, food on the run, and projecting that frantic energy onto your kids, hubby, and dog (if you have one).
Instead, formulate a nighttime routine.
Reconnect with your hubby over your favorite sitcom for a maximum of 30 minutes in length. Switch off your devices—one to two hours before bed.
Grab a cup of your favorite tea and read five to 10 pages of a book you’ve been putting off. Right before sleep, spend five minutes with your legs up the wall to calm your nervous system.
Yes, I am serious, and it works!
(Push your butt right near the bed head and with your hamstrings toward the wall, lay back and relax. Watch your thoughts. Don’t indulge in them. Simply be there, watching what your brain thinks, and practice letting them go.)
4. Breathe, respond, connect.
If the last time your kids asked for something you reacted and shouted, it is time to stop, drop, and breathe.
If right now you feel out of time, overwhelmed, and stressed, then instead of reacting when someone speaks to you, breathe.
Respond with love. Get curious to encourage conversation. Conversation is connection. Connection is the antidote for the addiction to your stress.
It will take time and practice, but I know you’ve got this!
“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” ~ Abraham Maslow