How To Be More Present: 12 Ways To Live In The Now

- It seems life has never had more distractions. 

From social media to global pandemics–and not to mention all the daily struggles that come with relationships, school, work, and money–there’s a lot of things that can get in the way of your appreciation for the present moment. 

But luckily, with the right tools under your belt, you can cut out those distractions, get in touch with both yourself and your surroundings, and find a sense of presence no matter where you are or what’s going on in your life. 

To help you gather those tools and cultivate presence every day, we put together a list of tips on how to be more present. Find them all below!

1. Practice mindfulness and meditation

One of the best ways to be present is to make meditation and mindfulness part of your daily routine. 

Even if you just take five minutes every morning to listen to a guided meditation, this will allow you to become more in touch with your thoughts, feelings, and body. 

All of this will cultivate a greater sense of presence as you go about your day, especially when you make a habit out of it. 

You can even sprinkle bits of mindfulness throughout your day, such as counting your breaths as you wash the dishes, paying attention to how your feet feel on the pavement on your walk to work, or doing a quick body scan while sitting at your desk.

2. Notice your surroundings

While being in tune with your thoughts is important, there is such a thing as being too deep into your own head, and this can hold you back from being present in your life–especially when your thoughts are caught up in troubles from the past or worries about the future. 

Whenever you find yourself in this position, it helps to pay attention to your surroundings. 

Focus on what’s happening around you rather than the thoughts cluttering your brain. 

This is a major part of mindfulness, and it can be as simple as noticing the color of the wall, a smell wafting through the air, or a sound in the distance. Use your five senses!

3. Digital detox

It’s extremely difficult to live in the present moment if you’re constantly checking your phone and staring at a screen. 

You know what they say: Life is what happens when you’re not scrolling through social media. (Okay, maybe no one says that, but we’re saying it now!) If you want to be more present, consider doing a digital detox. 

Set limits for yourself when it comes to technology. Remember to take time to unplug and get outside every day. 

This won’t only allow you to live your life more fully, but can also do wonders for your mental health and help you stop comparing yourself to others–all of which cultivates presence!

4. Limit alcohol intake

Sure, having some drinks with friends can be a great way to unwind after a long week, but when you consume too much alcohol, staying present in your body and aware of your surroundings becomes difficult. 

You want to remember happy moments spent with loved ones–not look back and see a blur of questionable decisions you can’t quite recall. Consider limiting your alcohol intake. 

Stay aware of how much you’re drinking, pay attention to how your body and brain respond to alcohol, and remember that there are other ways to celebrate, enjoy the weekend, and have fun without even having a sip!

5. Don't multitask

We get it: there’s a lot to do these days, and sometimes it feels like the only way to get it all done is to do it all at once. However, whenever possible, it’s important to focus on just one thing at a time. 

You can never be fully present and engaged in one task if you’re juggling others alongside it. 

When you’re able, spend your time giving all of your attention to one thing, whether that’s a project you’re working on, a movie you’re watching, or a conversation you’re having with a loved one. Each one will become more meaningful, and you’ll feel more present.

6. Practice breathing

Whether you feel anxious, are dealing with too much stress, can’t sleep, or just need to come back to yourself, practicing breathing is a fantastic mindfulness exercise that will help you be more present at any given moment. 

There are tons of breathing exercises to choose from, but the best part is that all you need is your own lungs. 

You can simply pay attention to the breath moving through your body, you can count your breaths, or you can try a specific method, such as 4-8-7 breathing.

7. Mindful eating

How often do you scarf down a meal while watching something on TV or working? Eating food is one of the greatest pleasures in life–you should allow yourself to enjoy it fully! This is where mindful eating comes in: take the time to really taste and appreciate each meal. It’s an especially great feeling when you cooked the food yourself.

8. Practice gratitude

When we get caught up in the worries and troubles in our head rather than focusing on all the wonderful things in our lives, it can be hard to stay present. 

Practicing gratitude for all of your blessings is one great way to focus on the positive and the current moment. 

You may want to start a gratitude journal to make note of the things, people, and moments you appreciate every day. 

This will help you pay attention to the meaningful experiences and the good feelings that pop up throughout the day.

9. Spend time with loved ones

It’s oftentimes easy to get tangled in our own thoughts when we spend too much time alone. 

While getting “me time” in is definitely essential, it’s also important to connect with our friends and family on a regular basis. 

The people we love can help us stay present by filling moments with good conversations, laughter, and love. 

You may find that the times you feel most present and in touch with yourself and your life are the times you spend with the people who allow you to let go of your worries.

10. Exercise

A huge part of presence and mindfulness is staying in touch with your physical body, which means regular movement is vital. 

When it comes to mindfulness, getting exercise can be as simple as taking a stroll down the street–but if you want to hit the gym, lift weights, or run a treadmill, that’s great too! Some of the exercises that are the best for cultivating presence include ones that allow you to focus on your breathing, such as yoga.

11. Practice acceptance

If you find yourself unhappy with a certain situation, you may find it hard to focus on the present moment because you’re caught up in the “could’ve, should’ve, would’ve” of everything. 

Unfortunately, though, there’s no way to change the past or predict the future. Instead, all we can do is accept the present moment. 

When you let go of the things you can’t control and accept the moment for what it is, you’ll be able to live your life more fully, with a great weight off of your shoulders.

12. Embrace your emotions

You may think that in order to be happy, you have to ignore all of your negative emotions. 

As it turns out, that’s far from the truth! In order to be present and move on from hardships, it’s important to fully feel your emotions and allow them to pass naturally. Don’t try to change how you feel; just observe the feeling. 

You may be surprised how much better (and more present!) you end up feeling when you don’t suppress your emotions and instead give them attention and treat them with acceptance.

The bottom line

Just like any other skill, presence takes practice. There will always be things that take up your thoughts and make it more difficult to fully live in the moment. 

However, by practicing mindfulness and incorporating each of these tips into your daily life, you’ll be better equipped to lead yourself down a path of presence–and that’s something to be proud of!

Author: Faith Geiger


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