Every morning starts the same in my house. My son and I on the couch watching a show of his choice and I drinking a cup of coffee. Seriously, every morning around 5:00 am this is what we do. A couple days ago I noticed that while I was physically present mentally, I was not. My mind was creating a to-do list for the day, when I noticed that it made me think “how many mornings have I missed by not being present”. I was unintentionally taking moments with my son for granted.
If you are reading this and you have a hard time truly being present in moments; That does not make you a bad person. Just like me not being fully present with my son does not make me a bad mom. What it does do though, is show me where I am placing my energy.
If watching a child grow teaches you anything it is; time truly goes by so fast. Mid-last year is when I made focusing on being present a priority. Sounds simple but in a fast pace, technology filled society it can be challenging. Our brain was created to process faster than the average person speaks so please give yourself grace when you start trying to be more present.
How to be more present:
First, pick what areas in your life you would like to be more present. I know “all areas” sounds wonderful but can become an unrealistic expectation to hold for some. I recommend pointing out one or two areas that need some strengthening and build from there. Where I started was family and God.
Second, become intentional with your time. Tell yourself you are going to be present. For example; I would put my phone away sometimes (not always) when my son and I were in the playroom. Or, I carved out a moment when I would shut my office door and would not reopen until my quiet time was complete.
Now even if you are intentional with your time, there will be moments when your mind drifts while you are in your craved-out sections. Again, this is normal, please try not to shame yourself when this happens. However; when you do notice your mind drifting try this skill to help come back to the present:
Notice what is being said?
Notice what you can smell?
Notice what you can see?
Notice what you can feel?
Using your senses is a great tool to bring you back to the present moment.
I’m trying but I am still stuck.
This is the frustrating part of this process; you try and still just can’t seem to focus. This will take time to adjust. Give yourself this time. A question you can ask yourself though is “what is keeping me from being present in this moment?”. Write it down whenever you notice you’re having this problem. See if there is a connection. Mine were always work or house related tasks that needed to be done. I gave myself time to create a to-do list every day or planned time to do whatever my mind was focusing on.
If you are struggling with being present due to it reminding you of an unpleasant experience you had, it might be helpful to speak to a professional. Our minds naturally make it difficult for us to be present if the moment reminds us of a traumatic time in our life. It is the way our mind protects us, working through unpleasant experience can help relieve you from this.
Ask yourself; what would life look like if I was more present? How would you feel? Would this make you a more grounded version of yourself?
I encourage you to try this out and see! If you do, I would love to hear your experience!