Your entire life only happens in this moment. The present moment is life itself. Yet, people live as if the opposite were true and treat the present moment as a stepping stone to the next moment - a means to an end. - Eckhart Tolle.
If you're anything like me, your mind flutters between the past, the present and the future- constantly.
We can sometimes go through our days and weeks living on autopilot, ticking off things on our to-do list, the next thing- and the next- and the next. The whole while, our minds dancing between the past, the present and the future. Isn't this normal? You may be wondering. Sadly, this is the norm.
But there is a practice we can tap into, one that brings with it a sense of peace and less stress.
Its name- Presence.
Presence is defined as; the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present.
For me, this isn't the best definition. What I've described above is existing- going about our day on autopilot. Sure- we're in the room, we're moving and breathing but we're not 100% invested and there in the moment and this for me, is what Presence is all about it. It's about being where we are in the moment, fully. Physically and Consciously.
I've been using Presence as a tool personally and professionally for some time now and I'm enjoying the benefits; in my personal life as my anxiety levels have dropped greatly, professionally when I'm working with a Client as I give 100% of my attention, I hear what they're saying and how they are saying it. At the same time, I'm aware of myself and my surroundings. Fully in-the-moment.
If you work with people, Presence is a bloody Super Power making people feel listened to and understood, people really sense when you're present.
Practicing presence has many benefits but the best thing is, we can practice it anytime, anywhere and the practices are simple too. Here are 3 tips for living more Presently.
1. Paying attention to your Breath.
Focusing on the breath is at the core of any presence practice.
There's nothing else you need to do, breath normally and simply be aware of the inhalation, the exhalation and moments of stillness in between. Even just a minute or two of focusing on your breath can be enough to pull you back into the present moment.
Two variations you may also like to try are 4,2,4,2 Breathing and Alternative nostril breathing.
4,2,4,2 Breathing is simple and deeply therapeutic. Breathe in for the count of 4, hold the inhalation for 2 seconds, breathe out again to the count of 4, again, hold the bottom of the breath for 2 seconds. Repeat.
Alternate nostril breathing is exactly as it sounds and is believed to be particularly effective at reducing anxiety levels. Below is a short explainer video.
2. Slooooowing Dooooown.
There are times we run around like headless chickens resulting in us feeling more stressed as our body races to catch up with our frantic minds. Slow-it-all-down to become more present. Have to do the Hoovering? Do it at half the pace you normally would and notice what difference this makes.
(Not recommended if you are a professional cleaner).
Washing up? Slow it down. Feel the sensation of the warm water and the bubbles on your hands. Listen to the splashes and splurges. Notice the smell of the washing up liquid. When we're not present, these are the very things that we drown out, our senses.
Another interesting thing to do is to ask yourself, how many different channels of sound can I hear? It's amazing to become aware of just how much our minds filter out (there's a very good reason for this I must add, we would soon crazy if our minds processed all the information it was receiving).
3. Body awareness.
When we are stuck in our heads, where do you think our awareness is? You guessed it. Not in our Body! A simple practice we can do just simply to direct our attention to a part of our body.
My favorites are the hands and feet.
It's a strange sensation bringing our attention to our hands, sometimes you will feel the pulse of blood surging around them. Other times, you will notice the tingling of energy, others a warmth. Discover these for yourself and you'll see what I mean!
Bringing your attention to your feet is very grounding. Notice the sensation of your feet touching your socks, your shoes, and the ground. If you want to take this a step further (excuse the pun) try barefoot walking on grass or in the forest. In each foot, you have over 7,000 nerve endings. Walking barefoot outside in nature is incredibly calming and forces you to be present as you look down, carving a safe path out with your eyes. Go Hobbit and go barefoot!
Thanks for reading, let me know what presence practice you will be giving a go by leaving me a comment and to make sure you never miss a new Blog post, subscribe below to receive a notification every time a new blog is posted,
P.S Although I know a thing or two on Presence, I'm no expert, two guys who really know their stuff are:
Check them out if you're curious to learn more about living with more Presence!
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