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9 Ways to Stay Present
Feb 20, 2022

Reading time 3 min.

Being present means being fully invested in the present moment. I understand defining a word with the same word isn’t entirely useful. Some examples might help. Presence means you’re not thinking about the time you choked up during your middle school play nor are you thinking about the workout you want to get in before the day ends. When you’re present, the only thing you’re concerned with is what you are doing in the current moment. As a result, presence allows you to fully experience your life, to be in the here and the now. I want to be more present because I want to savor every moment and experience this world has to offer me. If you want that as well, here are 9 ways you can be more present:

  1. Smell. Focus on the smells around you. If you’re hiking smell the trees. If you’re at a friends for dinner think about how good the BBQ smells. If you’re studying, light a candle. Taking the time to notice and appreciate the smells around you. It brings you into the present moment.
  2. Exercise. If you find yourself feeling cloudy or spacy then work up a sweat. It brings your mind into your body and allows you to focus on the here and the now.
  3. Water. Run cold water on your wrists, drink a glass of water, or take a shower. Focus on the sensation of the water. It brings you out of your head and into your physical world. You know that feeling when you jump in the ocean? It’s one of the most present sensations. Not everyone, including me, is able to jump in the ocean whenever they want but you should try it if you have an opportunity. It’s an amazing feeling.
  4. Breathwork. Deep full breaths will center you. 3 seconds in, three seconds out will focus you.
  5. Get outside. If you find yourself ruminating or feeling anxious, get outside. Watch the trees sway in the wind, listen to the bird’s chirp, feel the sun. When you notice that life is continuing despite what you are thinking about, it helps you reconnect to the now.
  6. Be sober. Drinking and smoking doesn’t allow you to be fully present in the moment. If presence is what you’re looking for, take a break from the stuff that alters your mind.
  7. Change scenery. Sometimes we get into a routine or a rut. We always go to the same restaurant, see the same people, walk our dogs down the same streets. Switch things up, it’s a great way get into the present moment.
  8. Put the phone away. Don’t even check it. If you’re doing something you want to be fully present for, your phone is going to do everything it can to bring you out of that moment and into a million other moments happening in the techno-universe.
  9. Meditation or yoga. practices like this help us focus our attention in the present moment. They help us restructure our brains and creating new neural pathways. When new neural pathways are formed, we are able to restructure our default patterns and live more actively in a conscious state instead of a reactive state. Practices like meditation and yoga disrupt our auto pilot driven state and make it easier for us to make conscious choices instead.
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