Practicing mindfulness and living in the moment are important for our mental health. Being present and consciously aware of our existence in this life allows us to appreciate the little things rather than worrying about the struggles of tomorrow. Our lives often move quickly, and it can be easy to get lost in our hectic schedules. Being present ensures that we take time to enjoy our lives to the fullest. Explore insights offered by our Manager of Clinical Programs, Jaylynne Koch, about easy ways to be present in our daily lives.
When we practice mindfulness, we cultivate an awareness of what is happening around us externally and how that impacts us internally. Being present is about paying attention to what is going on without attempting to control or change anything. Staying present is often easier said than done but implementing this practice into your routine can be a huge benefit. When life gets hectic, slow down and enjoy the little things.
Below are 9 easy ways to be present when living in the moment:
1. Set Aside Distractions
Commit to setting aside distractions by giving yourself a 10-minute break from your computer screen or daily tasks. Establish reasonable and appropriate goals for yourself to step away from your busy schedule and integrate frequent breaks between projects and meetings. Many of us move through life without ever being fully present because we are constantly distracted. Identify your top distractions and develop a strategy to take purposeful time away from those activities to recharge.
2. Practice Your Breath
Focus on your breath for one minute. Breath-work is important and can ground, center, and calm your mind and body. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breathing. Inhale deeply, hold it for a few seconds, exhale, and repeat.
3. Observe Your Thoughts & Actions
Take notice of your thoughts and actions. Is your internal dialogue speaking kindness or criticism? Part of being present involves taking a closer look at how our self-talk and actions contribute to our quality of life. Guide yourself to be present mentally, as well as physically.
“Just like gasoline is fuel for our cars, our thoughts are fuel for our life,” says Jaylynne Koch, Manager of Clinical Programs at Diversus Health. “What are you fueling your life with? Are these thoughts positive and uplifting or are they negative and self-defeating? We need to work on consciously choosing thoughts that fuel our life in positive and uplifting ways.”
4. Practice Conscious Gratitude
It is necessary to pause and sit with ourselves in gratitude. Practicing gratitude can build and strengthen our connections with ourselves and others. What are three things that you are most grateful for in this moment? Consider recognizing more of the things you are grateful for in your life on a daily basis and watch how differently you observe your circumstances. Try journaling or writing a list of the things you are grateful for. Reflecting on what we appreciate is a great way to think positively about your day.
5. Celebrate the Small Wins
Remind yourself of what is beautiful in the world by celebrating the small wins. Whether you find a flower that you admire while out on a walk, discover an extra dollar in the bottom of your handbag, bump into an old friend at the grocery store, or get a few minutes to sleep in on the weekend, celebrate the tiny joys in your life as much as possible. Go out for root beer floats after a successful interview. Buy that new plant you’ve been eyeing on your next payday. Whatever you choose to do to celebrate, the important part is acknowledging where you are at in your life and the path you took to get here.
6. Cultivate a Mindful Practice
Whether you enjoy meditating, practicing yoga, or going for peaceful walks in the outdoors, carve out time in your day to be intentionally present. Write down your thoughts, what you envision for the path of your life, and any positive quotes you enjoy or affirmations. It takes patience, energy, and dedication to be mindful and practice it daily.
7. Listen to Understand – Not to Respond
Engage in conversation will your full attention. We often have a habit of half-listening to what the other person is saying, because we are busy thinking of our own stories and what we can contribute to the discussion. Try to invite more presence into your social encounters and relationships by listening with curiosity and the intent to listen to what the other person has to say.
8. Feel Your Feelings
Part of your mindfulness practice should include time to sit with your feelings. Observe your emotions and the thoughts and triggers that come along with these feelings. Let go of the mentality that certain feelings are bad or that you need to be positive all the time. It is okay to not be okay.
9. Indulge in Your Rituals
We all have special routines or rituals that we practice on a daily basis. Maybe you like to sip a cup of coffee in the morning or go on a light mid-afternoon jog. Perhaps you take your dog on a walk every evening. Give yourself the gift of a little peace and quiet every day. Indulge in your rituals by slowing down and savoring this time dedicated for you.
“An exercise I like to give people when practicing mindfulness can be eating a piece of fruit, like an apple or an orange, or even while brushing your teeth, bring awareness to each of your five senses,” says Koch. “The activity should take 3-5 minutes to complete.”
*If you or someone you love needs guidance or support, reach out to request an appointment with one of our providers at Diversus Health. We are here for you in your challenging times. If you need immediate assistance, contact our crisis hotline at 844-493-8255, or text ‘TALK’ to 38255.