The benefits of becoming more present in your life are huge. You get more things done with your day, you find more stuff to appreciate, your relationships improve, you feel more loving towards people, and you enjoy your life more. In short, you stop worrying about what is coming and mulling over the past and you just live in the here and now and get busy doing what you need to do. Moreover, you enjoy special moments and occasions more.
10 Ways To Become More Present
It is easy to become more present by going on a vacation. Most people are actively involved in the moment when they are on vacation and feel the benefits of it. But in everyday life, being present can be harder. Unless you have some tricks up your sleeve.
I have found that by using the following 10 tricks, I have increased my ability to be more present by a ton! And, even better, I find that practicing being more present has led me to be more aware of when I am NOT present.
In other words, practicing being present has helped me to build a habit of becoming more present, and I know it can do the same for you.
1. Play The Heart Watching Game
I learned this from Mind Calm, which is a book about a meditation technique to help you be more mindful and at peace. There are many different ‘games’ in this book that help you to become more aware, and I highly recommend the whole book for some unique practices that you will easily incorporate into your life. But, the Heart Watching game is one of my favorites because it not only helps me to become more present, it also makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, which helps me to be kinder.
To do it, simply look out from your heart at the same time you look out from your eyes. For example, as I sit here looking at my dog with my eyes, I also pretend to look out at him from the center of my heart – as if my heart has eyes that can see him. I find that I can feel a sense of warmth coming out from my heart. And, it really helps me to stay in the moment.
2. Pay Attention To Sounds
I’m willing to bet that there are many sounds around you right now that you don’t hear. For instance, when I really listen right now, I can hear my husband typing in his office and the neighbor’s kids playing outside. Both of those sounds were happening before, but because I was focused on my thoughts while writing this article, I didn’t hear them.
I find that this works really well when you are on a walk and want to become more present. There are many times that I get lost in my thoughts and walk like a zombie – lost in my thoughts. But, when I listen to the birds chirping or the leaves rustling, I become much more aware of my surroundings and enjoy the moment and the walk.
3. Get Your Gaze Wide Open
Okay, this is another tip from Mind Calm (seriously, are you not reading it yet?), but it is something that I think about when I’m on walks too, so I was reminded of it.
The next time you find yourself coming back to the moment from a whirlwind of thoughts, pay attention as you transform to the present moment. You will notice that your gaze has suddenly gone from a very narrow point to a wide open space. For instance, when I’m walking my dog, I will catch myself looking down at a very focused projection in front of me, but when I start to become more present, I can see the trees in front of me, beside me, and even notice my dog walking.
Practice looking around with your gaze wide open. Doing so will help you instantly become more present and aware, and it works to pull you out of your thoughts (from the past or future) every time guaranteed!
4. Practice Active Listening
When someone is talking to you, allow yourself to really listen to them. This can be hard to do, but with practice you will constantly remind yourself to pay attention and focus in on what someone is saying, and you will find that you will be more present for it. Even better? All of your relationships will improve because you are the best listener who really strives to understand what other people are saying at all times.
“…research suggests that we remember between 25 percent and 50 percent of what we hear.” Mind Tools
When I am with family members or friends, I always try to practice active listening to stay in the moment and appreciate their company. There is nothing worse, to me, than leaving their company and feeling like I really didn’t take the time to be present and listen to them and remember every moment, but instead I sat and thought about what I had to do for the day or something else that didn’t really matter.
5. Develop a Sense Of Curiosity
I have a friend who is always curious about things, and she always remembers every word and action that took place when she is curious about her surroundings.
I think this is in part why many of us feel more present on vacation. We are curious as to what is happening around us. Which way is the nearest bathroom? What is that island called? What kind of bird is that? These are all questions we ask during a vacation, and it keeps us in the moment as we try to find the answers.
For me, I am interested in human behavior. So, I find that I’m quite often paying attention to what people are doing or saying around me because I want to understand why they are doing or saying what they are. This curiosity into the mentality of people definitely helps me become more present when I am with people.
6. Take a Step Back From The Moment
When I was younger, I spent a lot of time partying and enjoying myself. I had some great friends and I had a lot of freedom, and I enjoyed both things. But, I was still a young person. I was worried about what a guy thought about me or whether or not my parents would find out about some things I was doing. In short, while I was technically enjoying the moment with my friends, I wasn’t actually living in the moment.
Sometimes, though, I would have these weird feelings. I used to describe it like this:
“I feel like I can feel more, see things more clearly, and hear more things. It’s like I’m totally aware of everything that is going on around me, as if I’m in a dream and I’ve stepped back and I’m watching it out of body.”
(No, I wasn’t stoned during these moments. Completely sober, I swear!)
Now, I believe I was just breaking out of my party trance and becoming more present. I don’t get that weird feeling anymore. And, the crazy thing is that my friends never had that feeling. (The looked at me like I was crazy when I mentioned it.)
When I reflect on these moments, I like to think that my consciousness was trying to move out of my ego, where I was stuck quite a bit.
So, try it! Take a step back and look at your surroundings as if you were out of your body. Notice yourself. Notice the other people. Notice the room and the space in it. Notice the sounds, smells, and anything else that you want to notice. Become an observer and allow yourself to take it all in once in a while.
7. Do One Thing At A Time
When I cook supper and watch TV at the same time, I rarely remember the time I’ve spent cooking. I remember what I watched on TV, but I wasn’t present in my own life. But, when I cook and pay attention to what I’m doing, I’m very present and aware. I’m actively involved in cutting, cooking, smelling, tasting, etc.
I also find that doing one thing at a time increases my productivity and helps me to get stuff done faster. So, that’s an added bonus to this tip.
Try focusing on what you are doing. Put your attention on one thing at a time. For instance, when you stop reading this, you may go to take a drink of water. Move your attention from your computer to your water as you do. You should feel more present when you do.
8. Did You Just Take A Breath?
This is the simplest way to become more present. Pay attention to your breathing.
I’m willing to be you hardly even noticed that you just took a breath. It is something you just don’t pay attention to. But when you do, it will automatically bring you into the present moment because it draws your attention to your body and your senses.
9. Enjoy The Silence
In order for you to hear noise, there has to be silence. Try looking for that silence. Noticing it will help you stay in the moment.
When I’m sitting in my backyard, I constantly hear cars. I can easily get caught up in my thoughts about the noisy cars, and the fact that the only main road in and out of our community runs behind our house. But the truth is that there is always silence there. The silence never leaves. It is always there waiting for me to listen to it. When I actively try to listen to, and enjoy the silence, I feel very present in my backyard.
10. Change Things Up
When you look at the same thing every day it becomes easy to tune out your surroundings. But, when you add something new to your surroundings, it becomes hard to ignore that new thing!
For instance, when you rearrange your bedroom, you really notice it! Every time you walk into your room, you become completely immersed in the new surroundings and how it makes you feel. (Personally, I get downright giggly and happy.)
So, take some time to change things up in your home, car, office, or wherever.
A great way to do this is to change your home slightly for each holiday. Put up heart wreaths during February, decorate the inside of your home during Christmas, or just buy some new candles every month. The possibilities are limitless, but they will all help you stay present in your home as you enjoy the new sights, sounds, and smells.