LIFE IS NOW. Probably the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in the mere time that I’m on this planet. Although those three words form an utterly simple sentence, the meaning behind this mantra is deeply rooted in our existence. Because the need to be more present is most often discovered after an extensive analysis of your ‘self’. But once you’re open to being more present, a world of in-the-moment-experiences is there for you to explore. Here, I’ll show you a few methods to access the gateway toward the here and now.
1. Detox digitally
The term ‘digital detox’ can evoke all kinds of connotations. From a spartan monastery where you stay in silence to a rejuvenating retreat sans your beloved phone. But I’m talking about the most accessible one: a digital detox from the convenience of your own home. Schedule in one to two hours every day that you’ll spend without devices. Make sure to inform your close circle so that you don’t feel bad about being disconnected. Use this time to be more present, only undertaking whatever it is that gives you joy. If you want to take it up a notch, kick-off one digital-free day on the weekend. With less distraction, your precious off time on the weekend will certainly feel twice as long.
2. Be more present with less pressure of time
Another easy way to be more present is to take your time. Make adjustments to your schedule, allowing fewer tasks per day and more time for each to-do. This way, you eliminate stress between task A and B and gain more ownership of how you feel. Taking time in between tasks or errands leaves room for reflection and for small adjustments throughout the day. Start with scheduling in 25% extra time for everything on your agenda and see what this does to your pace and mood on the day-to-day.
3. Choose quality over efficiency
Now, start paying attention to the quality of what you undertake. Most often, we are wired to do tasks and run errands routinely in the most efficient way. But in this behavior, a fundamental factor is left out of the equation. Which is what we make out of all we need to do. An efficient, routinely, automated modus doesn’t leave much room for feeling joy. Less need for efficiency = more space to digest. So, take a stroll, go on foot, stand still, and admire what you encounter. Leave time to wonder and to spontaneously get lost.
4. Take your time to go around town
Even in your own hometown, there is, more often than not, still plenty to explore. A fun challenge is to discover new ways to get home every day of the week. The preconditions are simple: you’re not allowed to use the same street (other than your own) twice during the week. Take unexpected turns, scoot through archways, or climb as many steps as you encounter to reach different points of view.
5. Sprinkle compliments as you go
If there’s one thing our world is lacking, it’s the population being compassionate and kind. While there are countless opportunities to compliment and all together create an abundance of positivity. Whether it’s the valiant girl in a most glorious statement skirt or the musician’s heartfelt melody that sweeps you off your feet: stop and notice what you see. Be brave enough to share your admiration, as you just might make someone else’s day.
6. Help someone in need
There are numerous ways to put a smile on another face. Often, the gift of giving is right in front of you. So, look around the next time you find yourself out in the open. Do you identify how you could be of aid? You might see a stranger carrying heavy groceries or an old lady trying to cross a busy street. Any given day, there are 1000 ways to provide a helping hand. And there’s no way to be more present than to help someone in need.
7. Share your food
I get tremendously sad thinking about how many people are starving. And in the meantime, other people thoughtlessly trash heaps of expired produce and other forgotten food. Next time you’ve cooked a large batch, wrap those leftovers and share your daily bread. I often walk up to someone who searches for meals in a container near my house. I ask them to wait a few minutes while I go up and come back down with a few nibbles. If I don’t encounter someone on my way, I place my wrapped food near the container, with a post-it note + smiley face 🙂 To me, handing something good away equals being present.
8. Follow your intuition
Your gut knows very well what’s good for you. That’s why if any feeling you should be trusting, it’s the one originating from your gut. If you make decisions based on your gut, you let your feelings guide you—no better way to be more present. It’s the opposite of leading contemplatively with your doubting mind. So, make intuitive decisions, be impulsive, and act immediately, too. May that mean hopping into a massage parlor, taking a blissful daytime nap, or indulging in your favorite comfort food. Because if not now, then when?
Want to read further on how to be more present?
In my post How to feel more present: a guide to feeling alive, you’ll discover how to make the most of anticipation and which tricks help eliminate distraction. Next, in my Guide to feeling happy: how to experience more joy, you’ll learn about finding delight in your day-to-day. Besides, I love the insights in A Purpose In Pain’s post Learning to be mindful, including a brilliant reminder about the ‘when’ game.
Uncover additional perspectives on being present
If you’re in it for the long run, you might want to start reading up on Yang Sheng, the Chinese art of self-care. A surefire manner to be more present and to cherish yourself along the way. Check out Goodreads’ shelf of Chinese medicine books or read Medium’s Beginners Guide to Chinese medicine. Another worthwhile angle to discover being more present is the mindfulness one. Fortunately, Goodreads has a shelf on that topic, too. Head on over to their Mindfulness shelf to start unwinding.
Did you enjoy reading this post?
I sure hope you did 🙂 If you have any questions, recommendations, or experiences you want to share, I’d be more than happy to read your thoughts! You can leave your comment in the field below. Do you know someone who could benefit from these methods to be more present? Feel free to share this post (via the URL bar or any of the social share buttons) and get the positive energy flowing!