What does it mean to be present?
Being present seems like such a simple concept and yet it eludes us most of the time. We are in the kitchen cooking a meal thinking about our friend who is struggling across the globe or we are outside exercising on a bike, thinking about our grocery list. We eat while watching the TV or working at the computer. Read our emails and texts at the dinner table with our loved ones, pat the dog on the head as we run on by. I am speaking from experience and I am really trying to become more aware of when I am not present during daily activities.
In comparison, imagine times when you were fully present and how it enhanced both the experience and the outcome of what you were doing. Those moments when everything else stood still because you were in the flow. It can happen during something as simple as a game that you are very involved in or in a profound moment of giving birth. It could also be the last minutes you spend with a loved one before they pass. These moments are forever etched in your mind and heart and you cherish them.
Why is it important for your physical, mental, and emotional health?
Being present has so many benefits including calming an anxious mind, helping combat depression, and reducing overall feelings of stress. It also has been shown to improve your ability to be both creative and logical.
When I teach, I know when I am truly present because my students end up loving the class. People can sense if you are present. It makes them feel better.
Presence makes you more efficient at your task too. When I design and make complicated pieces of jewelry like this one for a client who is the mother of the bride, I better be present, or the threads will get tangled and I will have to start all over again.
Simple ways to become more present in your life!
- Consider working on doing one task at a time. But taking a break every 20 minutes or so.
- At the beginning of the task or at the beginning of whatever you are doing, you might say to yourself. “I am aware that I am… brushing my teeth, speaking with my son, on the phone with my father, driving in my car, taking a walk, working on my newsletter, etc.” If you start to notice your mind wandering, repeat it to yourself again and again.
- A HeartMath® tool that I am trained in, use frequently, and teach my clients is immensely helpful for being present during conversations. It is known as Coherent Communication. Like all the HeartMath® tools, it starts with Heart Focused Breathing. Read more here.
- There is a Yogic tool that I have recently taught my students that is known for helping people become more present and that is the use of Chanting Mantra. This tool demonstrates some interesting side benefits. One study in Nature (March 2019) suggests chanting increases activity in the Delta waves of the brain, which is particularly beneficial for people who are having trouble sleeping. It is also interesting to note that many of the chants used in different religions have a cadence that would equal the optimal 5.5 seconds inhale and exhale for developing coherence between the brain and the heart. Check out the chanting practice below I taught my yoga students this past week.
I would love to hear if you try any of these tools and if they work for you. If you are interested in checking out all the interesting ways to become more present with me, please consider joining me for yoga twice a week or contacting me about my growing services in HeartMath® and Health Coaching. Namaste, Andrea