The new year is here, and you start to think about the habits and routines that didn’t work for you last year and what you should change in 2020. In the past year, you spent your days rushing, planning, ruminating, hoping, regretting and among all of that, you forgot to be present.
Even though being present is a goal you have every year, it can be something difficult to achieve. Here is a guide on how to disconnect from the world and practice being present.
1. Pay attention to your thoughts.
Believe it or not, your thoughts dictate your past, present, and future. Your thoughts can help manifest the life of your dreams or draw you closer towards your deepest fears. According to Wander Lust Worker, there are 10 steps that can help you shift your thinking towards what you most wish for, but it all starts with focusing on your thoughts.
Taking some free time to observe where your thoughts are coming from and how you can redirect them will activate mindfulness. You aren’t necessarily focusing on your thoughts to change if they are negative, but you are watching them as they come and understanding what sparked them. The art of focusing on your thoughts is to lay them as if you were painting them on a canvas and observing how colorful your mind can be.
2. Slow down.
Life moves pretty fast, but we don’t stop to smell the flowers. According to Cara Bradley, Tibetan buddhist and meditation master Choygam Trungpa taught that we generally experience less stress and fewer struggles in life when we move and speak slowly and mindfully. A rushed day is sometimes inevitable because of the lifestyle that we live by. We speed through our day causing mishaps, oversights, stress, and suffering. Slowing down doesn’t mean that you have to put your whole day to a stop, but it does encourage taking life as it comes and exploring every experience as if it were your last.
When doing everyday tasks like walking or driving to work, stop to appreciate the birds in the sky and the green in the trees. Before waking up, take 5 minutes before getting out of bed to say why you are thankful for a new day.
3. Connect to your senses.
When we stop being present, our senses are the first to let us know. Our senses are the gateway to how we interpret and experience the world. Look around you and keep your mind silent. You have five senses to explore. Before labeling everything you see, take some time to really understand what you are connecting with.
When you step outside, feel the sun glaring on your skin, feeding you with light. Smell the coffee as you wake up. As soon as you have your first bite of the day, taste all the flavors, and feel the textures of different foods. See how vibrant and explicit your life is. Our senses open us to being in the moment and feeling everythin
4. Keep a journal.
Journaling is a practice that helps us become aware of our thoughts and surroundings. Keeping a journal can be the outlet that expresses your daily thought process in a creative and mindful way. Instead of letting your thoughts bubble up in your head, grab a pen and paper and let your thoughts flow.
Journaling is a form of expression that is free of judgment, fear, and expectation. It teaches you self-compassion, acceptance, how to be present, and how to express gratitude during difficult times.
Meditating has an amazing amount of benefits including reducing stress and improving your focus, but it also teaches you how to be present. According to Mindful.org, meditation teaches you to pay attention to how your breathing goes in and out, and to acknowledge your thoughts no matter how much your mind wanders.
There is no right or wrong or set way to breathe when you are meditating. Just breathe naturally, no matter if it’s heavy or soft. Meditating teaches us to be conscious with our breathing. When we pay attention to our breathing, we are learning how to return to, and remain in, the present moment—to anchor ourselves in the here and now, on purpose and without judgement. Even though meditation doesn’t fix everything, it reminds you to be present even when you stop meditating.
Practice these steps one at a time. Don’t feel forced to do them all in order to achieve being present. Being present is not achieving all of the steps above or any specific routine. Being present is acknowledging and accepting your state of being in a specific moment while seeing nature’s true colors. Find your unique way of being present and put it to practice every day.