As an over thinker with an inability to stay in the present moment, discovering mindfulness was a game-changer.
Beforehand, I straddled both the future and the past, frequently teetering between the two. My head an endless stream of mindless chatter.
Looking back, it’s any wonder I managed to get anything done with all that going on! Saying that, most of the time (over 95%) humans coast in autopilot.
All this incessant worry, robs you of your joy and causes a whole lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Though “mindfulness” may sound exotic or like a superpower, it is a “basic” human gift. Amazingly, we all have the ability to use our awareness and intentionally use it for being more in the present moment. Furthermore, mindfulness reduces anxiety and stress and provides incredible self-awareness.
Of course, I then worried that I wasn’t able to stay in the present moment… all the time.
Apparently, that takes next level practise to attain “no mind” all the time, and isn’t the end goal for mindfulness. Besides, like me, you can also learn how to practise being more in the present moment with these 5 practical tips!
Let’s get intentional.
Tip.1. Let Nature Guide You Into The Present Moment
My first tip for being more present and in the moment is… getting outside and enjoying the wonders of nature. (Incidentally, a walk along the beach inspired today’s post).
Venturing outside for a mindful nature walk is also a great form of exercise. Whilst out, take a minute to pause and look around you. How stunning is Mother Nature? Being in nature reminds me how interconnected everything is. Notice how she engages and intoxicates every one of your five senses?
Maybe you’re like me and love being near water or surrounded by the vastness of the countryside? Nature is like hot chocolate for the soul and is only one way to become more present and in the moment. And there are so many awesome benefits too. Stress reliever, trauma healer, Mother Nature boosts your immune system too.
P.s the connection is even deeper without other distractions. (Leave the phone at home).
Tip .2. Dial into The Present Moment Using Your Body
The next tip for being more in the present moment is through doing regular body check-ins. Before I get into it, let me ask this:
How often do you tune into your body and connect with what you are truly feeling?
Though journal prompts can help with this, you can also become more present by paying attention to every twitch, tingle, and sensation felt to experience the moment through your physical self.
Notice what your body is intuiting to you by checking in with a mental body scan. By using your mental awareness, you can visually “scan” your body from head to toe. This technique cultivates a greater sense of self-awareness by tuning into what you’re feeling/thinking .
An added benefit is using this technique to tune into your intuition concerning others too. Do you have a tendency for saying yes in the moment only to regret the decision later? Checking in works a treat for setting personal boundaries and saying… no.
Tip.3. Intentional Acts In The Present Moment!
My third tip for being more in the present moment is by carrying out random acts of kindness. Being mindful has many benefits. From boosting our immune system to improving overall happiness. But did you know that these are only considered secondary?
The main benefit of mindfulness is compassion, for others and for self and includes:
- Letting Go
Though we refer to little acts of kindness as “random”, it is intentional. And something we do by paying attention to what is happening in the here and now. For instance opening a door for someone, or rushing to the aid of someone who needs help.
By the same token, we can mindfully observe when we need to be a little kinder to ourselves. Resting when tired, and feeling our feelings are examples.
Kindness naturally provides joy to the other person. But did you know it leaves a lasting and positive effect on you too? Random acts of kindness, not only spring you into the present moment but connect you to other humans.
Tip.4. Brush Into The Present Moment
My fourth tip and the one I have found most useful since living abroad for being more present… is to “Just- Be”. (This is where seeming mundane tasks like brushing your teeth can spice up your life!)
As I said at the start; most of the time, people coast in life. Either dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. Research shows 95% of the time we are on autopilot whilst completing a task (probably whilst thinking about completing the next task).
However, we can use everyday tasks (like brushing your teeth) to slow down, to become more present and live life to the fullest!
“Just be-ing” is being mindful and paying increased attention to focus on whatever it is you’re doing and enjoy the moment – more.
Whether you are exploring a new place or your own backyard, notice the sights, sounds, what’s going on around you and be there. When eating…chew slowly and pay attention to the flavour and/or textures of your food.
To get the most out of life, use this tip to become more present next time you’re:
- Being Still
- Checking In
- Completing Tasks
(And yes… even brushing your teeth).
Tip .5. Practise Gratitude For the Present Moment
And my final tip for being more in the present moment is with the practice of gratitude.
I am healthy, loved and live in a beautiful place. 2020 really hammered this one home. There was loss, but I am thankful for all I received in it’s place.
Though it may not seem easy (to begin with), each day we have the opportunity to take stock and notice little joys and blessings in our life.
And the best part….sharing it with others (and fortunately because of technology you can do this in so many creative ways.) Like many people, I haven’t seen my loved ones in far toooooo long.
Sometimes during walks (which I am beyond grateful for), I take pictures of magical moments and create mini “love cards”. I then use these to share little love messages with people I am thankful for. (Yes, it’s a little soppy), but…it’s a win/win.
Practising gratitude is revolutionary for experiencing life in the present moment.
And if ever you need any further convincing…
Before going to sleep, I challenge you to write down three things (at least) that you are grateful for. This exercise will help you shift your mindset and pay attention to your joys.
Enjoy Your Life in The Here and Now
There will always be moments when your mind will wander off and that’s okay. The end goal isn’t to have no thoughts or “no-mind:, but to use these tips to compassionately bring yourself and be more in the present moment. Don’t miss out, your life is happening right here, right now ❤