Personal Growth

How to be more present in everyday life

So many of us are constantly busy, going from one appointment to the other, working,juggling a side hustle, whatever it is. This often leads to feeling stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted. In a time, where we put pressure on ourselves to constantly be available in both the digital and the physical world, we often forget about our own self-care and how to be more present in day to day life. We always think of the next “to-do” and all the things we are planning to do, but what about living in the now? Simply feeling happy and grateful to be alive right here, right now?

I think the problem is that we’re often either living in the past or living in the future. But let’s view it from a neutral perspective (I love this because it just gives you so much perspective).

When we live in the past…

-We often experience regret and have feelings like “I should have done/said…” or “What if I did…instead of …?” You probably know this conversation that is going on in your head in these moments. BUT we cannot change what happened in the past, so it’s not worth dwelling on it and overanalyzing it because we cannot turn back the hands of time. 

When we live in the future…

We are postponing happiness because we are overthinking everything and imagining scenarios that haven’t even happened yet and are also very unlikely to happen (sometimes, our minds can turn into drama queens). Also, when we see it from a neutral perspective, it doesn’t make sense to worry about something that hasn’t happened. Before I worked on my personal growth journey, I used to worry A LOT and it often stopped me from enjoying the present moment. Plus, 99% of the things I worried about never came true. So if you find yourself worrying about the future a lot, I totally get you.

Both patterns of thought keep you stuck and are actually a form of self-sabotaging because by thinking this way, you prevent yourself from being happy in the present moment.

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you’ll ever have.

Since implementing mindful practices has changed so much in my life, I’m always looking for new ways to be more present in everyday life, so I put some tips together for you that have worked for me:

Tips on how to be more present in everyday life

1. Meditation

 Being present and observing your emotions from a neutral perspective is actually what meditation is all about. So it’s the perfect way to live more in the present. Personally, I meditate every morning and after doing it, I feel like I’ve been reborn. It calms you down and allows you to shift your perspective from your outer world to your inner world. Many people think that you have to change external things and being happy and grateful will follow. I think that it’s the other way round. When you create a beautiful space within yourself first, it will eventually reflect in your outside world.



2. Really listen to other people without intending to respond

We might think that we’re listening when others talk but often we’re actually NOT really listening. Instead, our mind wanders off, we think of scenarios and already plan what we are going to say. But in order to be truly present in conversations with other people, it’s crucial to just listen for the sake of listening, without intending to respond. It’s somehow more grounding, relaxing and you will also realize things about the other person that you didn’t notice before.

3. Practice gratitude as often as you can

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know how much I love gratitude and if not, welcome to the tribe!! I’m happy to have you here and it’s one of the many things I’m grateful for. That I’m able to share this with you and get to empower and inspire you to go after your dreams and live your authentic life purpose. Here is how I practice gratitude in everyday life. Besides journaling and writing down 6 things every morning I’m grateful for, I take conscious time during the day to be grateful for the things around me. Right now, I’m in the library writing this and as I look around, I’m grateful for my laptop, my water bottle (that I have something to drink), all the books, my chair and that I get to write this article. I also do this when walking in nature or when I’m in the car. It only takes one minute but it’s so beautiful to consciously see the things around you and feeling grateful for them.

You might also like: 100 Things to be grateful for

4. Unplug from the digital world for some time

I know that this is not always so easy but it’s well worth it. Take the time to do a walk outside alone, to meet a friend without taking your phone with you or to simply read a book or exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet and I think it’s amazing that there is social media and phones but it’s also important to do activities that don’t involve a phone. I don’t know if you have also experienced this before but when I’m on social media, it’s somehow easier to completely lose track of time and space. You just want to scroll through Instagram and before you know it, 20 minutes have passed. I personally feel like those activities that don’t involve a phone, make you so much more aware of the present moment. So try implementing more of those into your life.


5. Reflect and journal

You probably have experienced the following scenario: Somebody asks you what you ate two days ago but you cannot remember because you were busy and living on autopilot. To really appreciate every day more, there are two helpful ways.

  • Journaling: Reflect on your day and write down what happened (takes a bit longer)
  • Reflection: Before going to bed, recap your day in your mind and find three things that went well. If you have a partner, you can also tell them about it. It’s such a beautiful exercise and helps you live more consciously and remember even the small things that happened



6. Become aware of your breathing during the day

Take some time during the day (5 min are enough but try to do it multiple times) to focus on your breath and observe it. Actually, many of us breathe in a shallow way which is not so healthy.  By shallow breathing/chest breathing, we breathe in too much oxygen and breathe out too much carbon dioxide. Thereby, our body remains in a stressed state and we are basically telling our nervous system to stay on alert. What’s much healthier than that is belly breathing but most people don’t know it (I mean, who normally talks about breathing?!) When you take deep belly breaths, it can reduce stress.

Here is a brief instruction on how to belly breathe:

Lie down and place your hand on your belly. Breathe deeply into your belly and when you feel your hand rise and fall slightly while breathing, you’re belly breathing. Congrats!

7. Use the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique

During the day, we are often so busy that we don’t even perceive the subtle things anymore that are happening around us. This technique that I’m going to explain to you is awesome because it grounds you and makes you feel calm by taking you through your five senses. You can actually do it right now. Time to sharpen your senses!


5- LOOK

Look around and find five things you can see and either say them out loud or in your mind. For example, I could say: I see the water bootle, the bookshelf, the tree, the chair, the watch.

4- FEEL

Now, gently focus your attention on your body and how it “feels”. Name four things you can feel. Right now, I could say: I feel warm, I feel the chair underneath me, I feel the floor beneath my feet, I feel my fingers touching the keyboard

3- LISTEN

Shift your attention to the things you can hear around you. Come up with three things you can hear right now. For example: I hear the chatter of people on the street, I hear cars in the background, I hear the washing machine

2- SMELL

Now focus on the things you can smell. What are two things you can smell? For example, I can smell my perfume, I can smell flowers

1-TASTE

Lastly, focus on one thing you can taste right now. Since I ate fruit 30 minutes ago, I can taste something sweet in my mouth


Take your time to do the exercise.

How did you feel before and after the exercise? I’m curious to know and would love to read about it in the comments.

Remind yourself to be more present in everyday life and pin this for later!

Have a beautiful day!

Much love,

Jennifer


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