Why being present is SO much more than just meditation

Posted by Olena Mytruk

You have probably heard about the concept of being present, or mindfulness. And most likely it was mentioned together with meditation. As a person who has always struggled with the “normal” approach to meditation, I used to think that this whole concept of mindfulness is not for me. Until I realized that I don’t have to meditate in order to feel fully present. In fact, meditation is just one of the many ways you can live a mindful life! There are many others, and you can definitely find a way that works for you.

But first things first, what does it mean to be present?

Being present, or living mindfully, simply means that you are focused and engaged in the moment. It means that you are not distracted and are not caught up in the past or in the future, but rather your fullest attention is right here, right now.

Being present is essential if you want to create the life that is filled with meaning, joy, satisfaction and contribution.

First, it lets you fully experience and enjoy the moment you are in and to take the most out of this moment.

Second, it allows you to learn from this moment – by being fully present in the moment, you are able to identify what works for you and what doesn’t, what you love and what you don’t, what is holding you back and how you can improve it. And as a result of this, you begin to elevate and expand your whole life.

Okay, this is all great, but we all know how busy our lives are and how hard it is to pause even for a minute. So what exactly can you do to bring your focus and attention to the present?

I have identified 10 different ways how you can practice mindfulness and being present.

They are all very easy to apply, and so you can try them all and determine which one will work best for you.

1 – Focus on your breathing

Close your eyes, then take a slow deep breath. Then one more. And one more. Spend a few minutes focusing on your breathing. Notice the air as it flows through your nose and to your lungs, then follow it as it makes its way back outside through your mouth.

While doing that, pay attention to the different parts of your body. Start with your head and finish with your toes. Does this part of your body feel heavy or light? Is there any muscle tension? Try to release it.

Enjoy this moment of physical rest. Let your body just be.

2 – Bring attention to your senses

As obvious as it sounds, but the only way we can actually experience life is using our senses. So let’s use them!

Look around – what do you see?

What sounds do you hear? Are there birds singing outside, or cars passing by? Do you hear wind, or rain? Anyone talking?

What taste are you feeling in your mouth right now? What does it taste like? Is it sweet or sour? What food or drink does it remind you of?

What do you smell? Is it pleasant or not?

What are your fingers touching right now? Is the surface hard or soft? Warm or cold? What texture does it have?

3 – Think about what you love about your life

How often do you think about all the good things that you have in your life? Well, today is the day to remind yourself of those!

So, what do you love about your life?

Whether it’s something that you have, or someone you share it with – what is it?

4 – Practice gratitude

Here is an interesting fact about feeling thankful for something – you can only feel thankful now, in this moment. That’s why practicing gratitude is a great way to bring your focus and attention to the now.

What are you grateful for? Who are you grateful for?

5 – Stop multitasking

Unlike the way we have all been taught, multitasking is a myth. It doesn’t exist. What does exist though is you constantly switching focus between two or more topics. It is very tiring, and it also takes your focus away from this moment. But there is an easy fix.

Stop multitasking – when you are doing a particular activity, be fully present in that activity.

Are you playing with your kids? Then don’t try to respond to the work email.

Participating in a meeting? Stop scrolling through social media.

Having dinner? Turn off the TV and enjoy the food.

Try being fully focused on one activity at a time, and you will notice how much fuller you are now able to experience it

6 – Ask yourself how you feel

How are you feeling right now, in this moment? What emotions are you experiencing? When was the last time you even asked yourself this question?

Focus on your emotions. Acknowledge them, recognize them, appreciate them. And let them be – don’t force them to change.

7 – Acknowledge yourself

Way too often we measure our worth based on how much we have done (or how much we haven’t done), rather than appreciating ourselves just for who we are.

Take a moment to acknowledge yourself for something that you are – not that you do. You are brave, and confident, and strong, and smart – I know that! Do you know that? You are amazing just the way you are, and by acknowledging it, you help these qualities of yours shine even brighter. Give it a try!

8 – Meditate

Of course, meditation had to be on this list.

It doesn’t have to be long – you can begin with just 5 minutes. It doesn’t have to be complicated either – there are many guided meditations out there that you can try.

And here is something that I learned that has helped me a lot. Meditating doesn’t mean that you are not allowed to have any thoughts. What it means is that you distance yourself from your thoughts – you notice them as they come and go, you acknowledge them, but you keep them separate from your being.

9 – Go for a walk or for a run

And when you do that, pay attention to your surroundings. Notice how the scenery is changing as you keep moving. Bring attention to your body – notice how well it is working to support your move.

Is there anything that you see that you never noticed before? Why is it there? What purpose does it serve?

10 – Celebrate your win

What can you celebrate today? Whether it’s a big accomplishment, or just the fact that you are able to take a pause and think about it – it is worth celebrating. Focus your attention on the feelings of joy, fulfillment and satisfaction. Then try to carry them with you through the rest of your day.

Remember – it’s not what you learn, but what you actually apply to your life that creates the change and sparks your life ripple effect. So go ahead and practice what you learned today in the next 24 hours – I know you can do it!

And as always, let me know in the comments if I can be of any help.

Here’s to living your life to the fullest!

Olena xx

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