Our Lifetonic as a community this month is to practice being present.
So, what does this mean?
Quite simply, it means focusing on the here and now. Paying attention to what’s in front of you in the moment rather than focusing on what happened this morning or what’s about to happen this afternoon (or what’s happening over on instagram or facebook or the countless other things that are now at our finger tips ready to take us away from the moment we’re in!)
In our current twenty-first century lives, being present is not easy. There’s always something coming up that we need to prepare for or anticipate, and our lives are so well-documented that it’s never been easier to get lost in the past.
Given the fast pace and hectic schedules most of us keep, a base level of anxiety, stress, and unhappiness can all too often feel normal for a lot of us.
The cure for this, is believed to be conscious awareness and a commitment to staying in the “now.” Living in the present moment is the solution to a problem you may not have known you had and can be the most effective thing you can do today as this Forbes article explains.
The psychology of being present
Being present, or living in the present moment, is a recognized and evidence-backed lifestyle that psychologists are quick to recommend for those struggling with anxiety and stress in their day-to-day life.
What is the Meaning of the Present Moment?
Being in the present moment, or the “here and now,” means that we are aware and mindful of what is happening at this very moment. We are not distracted by ruminations on the past or worries about the future, but centered in the here and now. All of our attention is focused on the present moment (Thum, 2008).
Why is Being Present Minded Important?
Being present minded is the key to staying healthy and happy. It helps you fight anxiety, cut down on your worrying and rumination, and keeps you grounded and connected to yourself and everything around you.
And it’s backed up by good science!
“Being present and exerting our ability to be mindful not only makes us happier, it can also help us deal with pain more effectively, reduce our stress and decrease its impact on our health, and improve our ability to cope with negative emotions like fear and anger”. (Halliwell, 2017).
Why being present can be difficult in today’s culture
Living in the now is so difficult because we are always encouraged to think about the future or dwell on our past. Just think through your day so far and count the different ways that your attention is diverted away from being present – online ads, reminders, notifications, direct messages, texts and alerts.
Things like this are actually challenging and changing our ability to be present. For example:
- Humans now have less of an attention span than a goldfish (8 seconds). (Read the full article here)
- “A 2013 study found an office worker gets only 11 minutes between each interruption, while it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption.” (Click here to read more)
- One recent study showed that the mere presence of smartphones damages cognitive capacity – even when the device is turned off. “Everyone is distracted,” Rosenstein says. “All of the time.” (Click here to read more)
- “The second big theory is spiritual—it’s that we’re distracted because our souls are troubled….in the seventeenth century, Pascal said that “all men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”
Be here now
This month, think about all the ways that you’re perhaps less than present in your life and then think about one goal that you can set to become more present. Some of us will want to practice presence in conversations with loved ones, others will want to find ways to detach from our mobiles phones or social media accounts, and others will want to explore what it means to be present and mindful from a more experience based perspective. Examples of this might include being more present and mindful in every day activities like eating/walking/driving/sitting etc.
I encourage you to pursue our June lifetonic in your own way, but here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
- Set boundaries around your mobile usage (or even specific app usage).
- Practice “presence checks” a few times per day – pause to focus on the present moment, noticing how you feel, what you see, what you smell, etc.
- Make it a goal to eat without distraction (no reading, browsing, texting – just focus on your meal and enjoy). Even try setting the table nicely for yourself!
- Set a goal to have 15 minutes of uninterrupted conversation with your partner each evening after dinner (no phones, TV, magazines, or multi-tasking).
- Explore our Mindtonic Library and learn to relax in the moment
- Use your pilates workouts to truly focus on the present moment – your alignment, your body, your breath, etc.
- Commit to less multi-tasking.
- Turn off phone notifications.
- Save your monthly mindtonic to your desktop, phone or on instagram as your trigger to be more present this month (you can download it below!).
I’d love to hear from you in the comments. How do you intend to be more present in your life this month? Let me know in the comments below and share in our Facebook Community!
Love Julie x
Want to take things a step further? Then watch this YouTube video by Mel Robbins where she shares a simple, proven way to live in the moment.
Don’t forget to download your June Mindtonic for added inspiration on being present:
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