How To Be Present

How to be Present: 3 of the Most Effective Strategies

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, The Teaching of Buddha

Read Kyokai’s quote over and over again and let it really sink in. Think about it for a second and consider how you spend the majority of your time. Being present is a concept many people struggle to grasp, but it’s also the reason so many people are not truly living their lives to its full potential. Do you want your whole life to pass you by while you’re just sitting in the passenger seat? Of course not! Here’s 3 simple ways you can take control over your mentality so you can take back control over your life. 

Start each day with gratitude

Your mindset plays an important role in your everyday life. Starting each day on a positive note is a great way to ensure the rest of your day plays out in your favor. You are the only one who is in control of your attitude every morning so make sure you always wake up on the right side of the bed. Need some ideas? Create a morning routine for yourself that allows you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day. Roll out your yoga mat first thing in the morning and flow through a sun salutation to express your gratitude for another day. Wake up a few minutes earlier to allow yourself some time to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee in peace while reading your favorite book. Even the simple act of waking up with a smile on your face in the morning can have a major impact on your overall mood. 

Put your devices down

Technology and social media have taken over many aspects of our every day lives. We post photos of our meals, we constantly record any events we attend, and we lose precious time while stopping to pose for multiple photos before we get the perfect one to share with our friends and followers. Making memories is great, but you have to actually live the moment in order to create that memory. If we’re too busy worrying about capturing what’s happening right in front of our faces with our phones, we’re not truly experiencing the moment. Sure you can relive it later while scrolling through those pictures and videos you filmed, but wouldn’t you rather enjoy the moment while you’re actually in it? You can even take this one step further to ensure you’re not being too distracted by your device throughout your day. Turn off all notifications for anything you consider to be a non-critical app (Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter, email, etc.). Rather than letting likes and retweets control your day, set apart a small amount of time every so often to check your social media and respond to anything important you may have missed. It may seem like a minor change, but you might be surprised how much this really frees up your time and allows you to appreciate those precious little moments. 

Take some time to ground yourself

Most people find themselves doing one of two things: regretting the past or worrying about the future. The past is in the past for a reason. It doesn’t do any good to dwell on the past because there’s no way to change it. Creating unnecessary anguish within is a waste of time. The same can be said for worrying about the future. If you’re always concerned about your next move, you aren’t able to appreciate what it took to get you where you are. Reflect on the past, grow from your mistakes, and use that knowledge to improve who you are today. When you’re struggling to be present, take some quality time for yourself. Once you realize some things are beyond your control, it becomes much easier to focus on the here and now. 

Some of these strategies may seem much easier said than done; however, they are totally possible. All you need to do is stop for a moment, take a few deep breaths, and fully appreciate the NOW. Don’t simply live your life going through the motions. There is no guarantee for tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. The only guarantee is here and now, so you might as well make the most of it. 

By: Sydney Daly-Weber

Holly MacKinnon