Mindful living involves showing up for every aspect of your life. When you learn to be more present, your senses become sharper and the little things that are so integral to living a happy life get noticed. When you’re not fully present, you miss out on so much … including precious times that bring both joy and peace.
Being present also involves being aware and accountable for decisions you make, your interactions with others, and choices that get you from one moment to another throughout your life. How to be more present involves the ability to see how everything that happens in your life works together to create the bigger picture of your life. When you make the choice to be more present in your life, you’re choosing to cherish your life, one day at a time.
What Does It Mean to Be More Present?
We all have days where our minds are not fully present to what is actually happening around us. It’s as if we are on a moving sidewalk that’s moving so fast that we can’t focus on everything that’s going on, so we only focus on what’s ahead of us instead of what’s around us. That future focus may seem wise at the moment, but in fact, it’s really stealing your today. Done repeatedly, you miss a lot your life.
Your life can only be lived in the present, which means if you’re not deliberately mindful of what’s going on today, you miss out on a LOT of your life!
To be fully present means that your mind is actively engaged in what you are doing and the events going on around you. You notice small details. You see the sun shining and the blue sky. You hear the birds chirping and children giggle as they skip along their merry way. You notice the taste and smell of our meals, instead of mindlessly gobbling them down. You savor the sweet, subtle, beautiful moments that enrich your life. You don’t let your chattering mind distract you from what’s important in the present moment.
Being fully present allows you to engage fully with whatever is happening right here, right now. For example, at the moment you’re reading this blog post about being present, which means you already know you have a desire to show up more fully for your life. You want to experience the richness of your life. Kudos to you for recognizing the beauty of mindful living and taking steps to be more present in your life.
How to Be More Mindful & More Present
There are some very specific actions you can take right now to start living more mindfully and be more present in your life. Here are a few strategies to help you be more present …
Limit Time Spent with Technology
The first thing you can do to be more mindful and present is to put down your phone, your tablet, or your laptop. One of the biggest “mindfulness wreckers” adults engage with today is spending too much time with technology. If you’re constantly scrolling social feeds on your phone, your mind is not focused on what’s actually happening in YOUR life. Rather than being present for your life, you’re living vicariously through others’ lives. Technology can be great, but it can also be an incredible time-waster.
Even worse, technology can be an anxiety-provoking trap. The human mind can only take so much information before it’s overloaded. Worse, the news that you’re exposed to on your mobile devices is often packed with negative, stressful, worry-inciting information. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and overloaded, so if you want to be more present in your life, limit your tech time.
Fully Engage with People
The next thing you can do to be more present in your life is to is to engage fully in conversations you have with others. Make it a point to make eye contact with the person with whom you’re speaking. Actively ask questions and let the person know you care about what they’re saying.
Being fully present in conversations shows that you are invested in that person in that moment. It improves relationships and you connect with people at a whole different level. It’s a game changer in so many ways.
Stop Trying to Multi-Task: It Doesn’t Work
Another great way to be more present is to limit the number of tasks you take on in your life and focus on just one at a time. In our society today, many of us think we have to take on a lot to be valued and productive. We are also under the belief that we can do many things at the same time. The truth is that multi-tasking never works. The best way to get anything done is to focus fully on the task at hand, one task at a time.
Take “Mindfulness Moment” Breaks
If you want to start being more mindful, then you need to practice taking deliberate “mindfulness moment” pauses throughout your day. This is simply the discipline of stopping and asking yourself, “Am I really being present to what’s going on around me right now? Is there anything I need to do right now to be more present in my life?”
These mindfulness moment breaks may seem a little unnatural at first, but they have the power to bring you back into the present moment more fully so you can embrace mindfulness. You may need a little help remembering to take these breaks, so try setting an alarm 4 or 5 times a day on your phone so that you don’t forget to take your mindfulness moment breaks.
Notice Worrisome Thoughts
Do Some In-Depth Reading on Mindfulness & Presence
When learning how to be more present in you life, it’s helpful to expose yourself to more information about living a mindful life. This blog post is a great place to start, but there are some mindfulness masters that can help you get to the next level.
Here are the top books you should check out:
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
“People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear.” – Michael Singer
Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Make Peace with Your Mind: How Mindfulness & Compassion Can Free You From Your Inner Critic, by Mark Coleman
“Mindfulness is the ability to be aware, to note, to notice. When we apply that to our thoughts and mental habits, we bring a clarity of awareness in seeing what’s just an ordinary thought and what’s a judging thought that’s pejorative or putting us down in some way. So, we first bring that lens of awareness, and then we can do all kinds of different strategies.” -Mark Coleman
A Guide to the Present Moment, by Noah Elkrief
“Our intuition is always here to guide us, but we aren’t able to hear or feel it because our thoughts are too loud and take too much of our attention. Intuition is very subtle and can easily be overlooked when we are constantly listening to our thoughts and looking to our thoughts to help us make our decisions.” – Noah Elkrief
You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment, by Thich Nhat Hanh
“In daily life, you are in the habit of running because you think happiness is impossible in the present. This is a habit that was handed down to you by your ancestors, by your parents. Happiness does not seem possible to you in the here and now, so you look for it in the distant future. The practice consists of stopping that habit of running.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
Now Is the Way; An Unconventional Approach to Modern Mindfulness by Cory Allen
“The modern world has overwhelmed us. Anxiety rates are high and we’re more distracted than ever. We’re suffering. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By learning how to control our minds, we can control our lives. In this book, I offer a fresh guide to mindfulness for you – a person living in the strange and beautiful times of today.” – Cory Allen