How To Be More Present

Amy

‘Being present’ is a hardship when battling difficult life circumstances. In this series, I will be introducing you to ways that help you to stay connected to your surroundings, to the people around you and your inner self. Delving deeper into why being present will enhance your life and benefit you overall.

I have mentioned before that I struggle with depression ( How to Stop the downward spiral of depression) It often brings with it the absence of connection and being present. 

It is not only for those people that struggle with mental health, depression or anxiety. No, it can be all of us. Caught up in this information age. Caught up in schedules, rotas, school, work, family and never-ending to-do lists. We are losing the ability to truly live. To be present. To be happy and at peace with ourselves right where we are right now..

We’re always worrying about or planning the next “big” thing that’s coming up in our lives, never just living in the moment. Even our holidays have become like this – rarely just rest and relaxation but now more focused on chasing down the next ‘experience’.   There are many cultural differences amongst different societies across the globe, with some cultures having an enviable level of ‘Living Present’ (research hygge or lagom) whereas others lengthen the working day and shorten holiday times.

Predominantly the general state of affairs in peoples’ lives is that of worry, grief, stress, anxiety, and fear. Simply put, we’re not generally happy and we don’t live in the here-and-now. We are not present.

How to Start.

If this strikes a chord with you then you are in the right place. Let us explore together some easy and practical ways we can stay present. It is a good idea to take stock of where we are presently and how we are living our lives.

First of all, let us work out where all of our energy is going. If you are constantly thinking of the next thing then it is not very possible to remain present. 

Complete this questionnaire to see where your energy drains are so that we can work out where and how to plug the leak!

I often wish I had more time for doing things that I enjoy and bring me peace. ____yes_____no

I often feel powerless over my time and commitments even though I was the one that committed to them! _____yes_____no

I have a hard time saying no and often over-commit myself or my family. ____yes____no

I have missed events that are important to me because my calendar was full of other ‘stuff’. ____yes____no

Even in the 1st week of the month looking at my calendar stresses me out! ____yes____no

I am happy with everything that is on my schedule and calendar. ____yes____no

I love love love hanging out with my friends or having a girls night BUT the first space in my calendar is over a month away! ___yes____no

I’ve tried, but it still seems like every one of my moments are taken up. ____yes____no

Loved ones quite often say “wow! You are sooooo busy” (and you wonder if that is code for something else) ___yes___no

Your calendar is not really ‘your calendar’, it is really just full of stuff for every other member of your family. ____yes____no

You score one point for every ‘yes’ and none for no…

Tally up your yeses and see how you have scored – 

7-10 WOW! I am surprised you had time to get this far- you are one heck of a busy bee and this series is DEFINITELY for you. It is time to slow down, breathe and make time for you.

4-6 Hmmmm, you are juggling things quite well. But are you waking up in the morning and your first thought is your to-do list for the rest of the day/week/month? You need to be guarding those rare calm moments.

0-3 What is your secret? Or should I say “what is your story?” I’d love to hear how you are achieving this and your journey of how you got to be where you are – and so would many of us! You hold the keys that many of us are looking for.

Living In A ‘Connected’ Age And Learning to ReConnect

We are living in the most connected age of all history yet stats are showing that we are the most loneliest that we have ever been. We live in a world that is communicating to us all the time yet we have lost many basic communication skills. SO many of us are longing for connection but are looking for it online (via ‘social media’)  when what we really need is face to face communication.

No screens allowed.

In which our full attention is required, even eye contact. We need to slow down enough to feel the air on our faces, the grass between our toes even the sand in our socks! 

It is as if this new age of connection has connected all the wrong bits. The faster bits. The busy bits. The doing doing doing bits. Forgetting that all of it is only worthwhile if we are present for it. 

So how do we put the brakes on and learn, or remember, how to be more present? 

We can start as soon as the alarm goes off in the morning.

If our alarm is on our phone we turn it off, put the phone down and roll over and kiss our partner. Or we get out of bed and go snuggle our kids. Or if not any of that we get out of bed and greet ourselves in the mirror. How is that for being present? Actually acknowledging others and ourselves before our digital universe. At the time of writing (and just a google click away) there are a series of photographs of families looking at empty hands where phones usually are. It is visually haunting and cuts deep into the current social crisis of not being present in real life. It harrowingly highlights the lack of contact we have with our nearest and dearest. Our disconnect with our very own lives.

Not only are we too busy to connect with our present we are too distracted as well!

Something that I read recently has really stuck me – if we don’t put our devices down when people enter a room and treat our family and friends like they are the most important people in the room then we are sending a clear message through our actions that they are secondary to our devices.

I know, I know. I can hear protests even now. There is a time and a place for devices.

A time.

A place.

Not all the time in all the places.

So, if we really do want to be present in the here-and-now, we ultimately have to achieve some level of contentment.  Enough to satisfy that seemingly insatiable drive within us to continue our busy-ness. That being said, how is that we can simply just be happy, be present, and enjoy life for what it is?

How can we stop worrying about tomorrow and regretting yesterday?

I believe that you can live in the present moment if you daily apply these 5 simple steps, making them into a habit for the rest of your life.

  1. Start the day thinking of all the things you are thankful for. Sounds cheesy right? Maybe like a hallmark card from your gran? Well, wake up call, she was right! Nothing and I repeat, nothing is better for your life than being thankful. It literally protects your mind from negativity and finds solutions where there has only been problems. 
  2. Move your body! Not much else can make you more present than moving that booty. Please don’t plan a vast fitness regime that sets you up for failure. Instead, take some time each day to move and wake every muscle up in your body. I can bet that there are some muscles that will be very happy to be re-acquainted with you! 
  3. Find some silence. It used to be so easy to find but is now more of an elusive, shy animal. If you can set time allowances on your devices then do that. Your future self will thank you. Silence can bring with it questions and answers in equal measure. 
  4. Give something away. Maybe your time, money, knowledge or even just a heartfelt smile. This change of focus allows us to be happier, more at peace with ourselves, and subsequently, more present. Give it a try today. I don’t think it is something you will regret. There is magic that comes with this one too – the more you do this the more you become present as you look for opportunities to give.
  5. Finally, go and find the beauty in something; anything. Look at yourself in the mirror and declare out loud what you love about yourself. Look at a loved one and do the same. Take a walk and listen to the birds chirping, or literally take a deep breath and smell the flowers. Lye in bed and watch how the light plays across the room. Do anything that is not scheduled on your calendar or on your phone. You will not regret it. I promise.

Think it sounds too simple? It is that simple and you’ll be so thankful that you did it 🙂

Now, do it every single day.

Make it a habit.

You’ll be so happy you did.

(Oh, and while I think of it, keep a look out for my tutorial for ‘No Naughtiness Napkins’ – diy napkins for the holidays with your favourite table etiquette rules.  Just in time for the holidays!) xx

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  1. Thanks for sharing this perspective. So important to keep priorities right in these busy times!

    • Thanks Jenny! And yes to these priorities, especially as the holidays approach 🙂 xx

  2. I love all of this! I’ve been working on these very things and it has really increased my positivity in life as well as my self-dialogue. I can attest to the fact that each of your steps works, some I need to work harder on-like just watching the light dance across the ceiling!
    I find business comes in seasons, so I’m trying – in my new-found contentment – to ride the waves of those demands and to be present with friends and family in every moment the kids get in the car – turn the music off and actually LISTEN to their day; to take the time to laugh with them and to soak in the enjoyment of the sound of their joy. THAT’S what reminds me to be present!

    • Awww Yes Coco!! 💖 the sound of their voices *sigh* 😍 thank you for sharing your words darling xx

  3. I often think about this – how fast moving our lives seem to be these days and often feel like I am getting left behind. I usually keep trying to do more and more when really what I need most is to slow down and just savor the moment – before the moment is gone. I like that you included movement in your list of solutions… I’m feelin the need to do this! x

    • That’s great Dan. I hear there is an allotment with your name on it? 😉

Amy Chadney
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