Last week we started talking about being more present as it allows you to experience life in a more meaningful and more joyful way. Right now, we are living with an all-time high level of distractions, which is sending people’s stress levels through the roof; and stress robs us of our joy. That’s why, at a time of potential abundance and ease, people aren’t as happy as I know they could be. It’s so unnecessary. People have forgotten, or never knew, that to feel content and fulfilled, you have to take care of your mind. Andi Puddicombe nails it when he talks about this and offers an effective solution: building mindfulness into your life. Check out his TED talk:

He and I are passionate about this because we know that being more present will let you feel more ALIVE. When you are your most grounded and connected, you gain access to your strengths and creativity. You create perfect moments in what (if you’re overstimulated or just going through the motions, disconnected, like a lot of people these days) would otherwise feel like an ordinary day. I don’t want you to settle for a good-enough, ordinary life. Wouldn’t you be willing to spend a few minutes of your day doing something if you knew it would have you experience your life as richer, more joyful, and easier? The amazing part is that the things we do to get present are pleasurable and have an immediate effect.

Take a deep breath, and let’s get started.

Let’s start by getting still; choose a time and place where you can tune out any distractions.

Now, turn your thoughts away from any mental chatter or noise. Silence any thoughts of plans, things-to-do, memories, ideas for the future, or recalling a past conversation or one you plan to have. This will begin to bring you into the moment. If you’re having trouble, try focusing on your breathing.

While meditation is at the top of the list of effective methods to reach a state of mindfulness, there are many ways. Try different ways and see what works for you. I think a lot of people go into nature to be present as there can be such beauty and peace there. I’ve known people that garden or go fishing to get present easily. Not an outdoors person? Find your place… in a quiet spot in your home, listening to a calming piece of music.

Let me give you a few examples of what to focus on so that you can be fully present. Presence on a walk means you: listen to the leaves rustling under your feet, watch that squirrel bound off as you approach. Presence on a beach means you focus on the sound of the ocean, watch the rhythm of the waves rolling in, take in the cry of the seagulls, or a child laughing. Presence notices the fluffiness of a cloud; it lets in the beauty of sun rays and shadows. In your house, presence focuses on the clock ticking, the chimes in the wind, or a candle flickering.

Realize that presence doesn’t focus on outcomes. So if you love to sketch or paint, and want to try to do that to get present, you can notice the feel of the brush in your hand, the tactile experience of taking the paint up onto your brush, really seeing the colors you choose. You won’t want to have your attention focused on the finished product. Similarly, if you’re mindfulness is achieved by going for a run, you’ll be actively focusing on hearing or feeling your breath, your feet hitting the ground, the rhythm of your stride. You’re not thinking about how far or how fast you’ll run today.

It may help you in your early days of practicing presence to have the experience of being connected within your body. I love this video by Sara Raymond to support you with this: With practice, you may find this helps you feel more present and can turn to this technique in the future, especially if you have a day when you’re struggling to get still in your environment.

Finally, be patient with yourself. Like any new habit, living more consciously takes time and practice. Remember, our most powerful, helpful lifestyle routines don’t happen overnight.

What actions do YOU take to get present? What tricks do you have to bring you back to mindfulness when your mind wanders?

By Dr. Lee Odescalchi

Author's Bio: 

Lee Odescalchi is a coach and licensed psychologist. She has coached and counseled clients, just like you, looking for more fulfilling lives. Her unique approach uses the most effective methods of personal development and performance strategies. She does this while addressing issues from the past that have led to self-limiting beliefs that get in the way of your success. Lee also empowers people to “get out of their own way” and maximize their strengths so they can produce extraordinary results… in any area of their life.