“Being present” is a state of awareness in which we can practice unbiased and honest reflection.
I aim to live wholeheartedly – and this requires me to have the ability to not get lost in my thoughts. Learning the art of being present gives you the ability to learn how to pause before taking action, so you can return to your center, remember your values, and meet every challenge with an appropriate response.
- Forget About it. Learn to meditate and subsequently redirect your thinking. Redirecting your attention to sounds around you or the sound of your own breath will help you pause before overthinking. Focusing on anxiety only heightens its negative effects.
The act of being observant will result in less self-criticism, which is usually simply the product of overthinking.
- Exercise. Move a muscle and change a thought. To really get out of your head, get in motion! This well-known stress buster changes your thoughts. Additionally, over time exercise will increase your focus and enhance your mood because of the increased endorphin levels. I think of it as meditation in motion!
- Breathe, Reconnect, and Break the Cycle. Your breath is the fastest way to reconnect with yourself. Conscious breathing enhances observational skills, stills the mind, and eliminates the many adverse effects of fear-based thinking by lowering the heart rate and releasing muscle tension. Deep breathing creates space. It gives you time to consider the appropriate constructive response before acting. Focusing on your breath will invite logic into an otherwise emotional moment.
Use your breath to avoid crumbling in the face of a challenge, acting on aggressive impulses, and giving in to cravings, thus breaking the cycle of destructive habits.
- Practice Acceptance. Think of acceptance as surrendering your need to obsessively think about a problem and solution. Be grateful for the life you have and accept the things you cannot change. Not everything is in your control. Acceptance is different from being resigned to or avoiding a situation. It’s the ability to show up fully without attachment to the outcome.
- See Opportunity in Obstacles. Stress is not a bad thing…in moderation! Small amounts of stress actually prepare your body for situations that require increased stamina or alertness, but the trick is to maintain balance. If you see obstacles only as negatives, a chain reaction of secondary emotions will ensue. Stress can herald an onslaught of snowballs, including anger, resentment, frustration, and depression.
Life is a series of lessons 100% worth learning!
- Pay Attention! Whether you are eating or spending time with a loved one, there’s more to be gained out of every moment than you could possibly imagine, but you need to be paying attention! Appreciate what is in front of you and take mental snapshots. That’s the stuff you want to collect in your memory bank, instead of renting it to yesterday’s regrets or worries about the future.
- Become a Master of Time and Energy. First, schedule and prioritize your time, then begin to apply yourself toward achieving your goals. Divide the process of achieving each goal into a set of achievable tasks. Then take the time to celebrate completing each task. A systematic approach allows for constant feelings of accomplishment throughout the process; it will also decrease feeling overwhelmed, self-conscious, or negative.
- Go With the Flow! Eliminate all distractions. When you apply yourself to the job at hand, time seems to pass by in a flash. Consider the free spirits of the truly successful, great entrepreneurs and artists of our time; their ability to apply themselves and go with the flow makes them lighthearted and self-assured. They are confident that they’re getting the most out of their moments and reaching their own potential.
- Make Life a Learning Journey. Successful leaders and innovators have the ability to change with the times and see an obstacle as an opportunity to grow. The minute you think you know what you’re doing, you are creating blind spots for yourself.
Stay humble and engaged – recognize the fact that there is always more to be learned and room for improvement.
- Learn to Say “Yes” Without Resentment and “No” Without Regret. Don’t allow yourself to get sucked into things out of a false sense of obligation. Set some healthy boundaries to create a world in which you can thrive.
I will leave you with this: learn to let go of people, situations, and environments that don’t support your goals — leave toxic environments, energy vampires, and time sucks.
Remember that the world around you influences you. Surround yourself with a tribe that supports your efforts, celebrates your success, and loves you no matter what.