The most important element of mindfulness is being present now. There are several ways you can do this but just being aware that you should be in the present moment more often is a good start, as most us don’t think about time and life this way. The most obvious ways of making sure you are in the present moment are:
- Notice how you feel When you catch yourself thinking about something that happened in the past or worrying about something in the future take notice of how it is making you feel right now in the present.Remind yourself that these are just thoughts and not what is happening to you right now. Choose to focus on what is happening around you right now and try to notice visually and audibly what is going on and how you feel about it.
- Do just one thing at a time We are used to having to juggle multiple tasks most of the time. It’s especially more difficult with mobile phones around us all the time, pinging and buzzing trying to get our attention.Choose to focus on one task and ignore all other calls on you attention for a while. Set yourself a time limit if it is easier. If you are pouring a glass of water, only pour a glass of water and don’t think about anything else other than pouring the glass of water. If you are cleaning the bathroom, only think about the action of cleaning and all that it involves with sights, smells and sounds.By focusing on the only thing you are doing in the present moment you will enjoy it more, be better at it and likely complete your task quicker and you would have been present throughout.
- Take your time By acting slowly and deliberately you will notice more of the present moment naturally. Think about each action before you take it regardless of how small or trivial it may seem. Ask yourself why are you doing whatever it is you are doing this way.As you take actions notice the effects on the present moment. It could be a change in how you feel, what you see, smell, hear or sense through touch. By taking your time you allow yourself time to notice more of what is happening now.
- Schedule Space When you make plans or plan your day make sure you allow yourself time in between tasks or events to slow down and notice what is going on in the present. We all too often schedule tasks, events or appointments back to back and don’t allow ourselves some “breathing” space in between to recentre and balance ourselves again before the next item on our agenda.In these gaps take the opportunity to notice what has changed in the way you feel since the last time you checked. Spend a moment with yourself or take a break and go for a quick walk. Just spend some time with yourself, your feelings and your senses for a moment.
- Pay Attention Whether it’s when someone is talking to you or whether you are out and about on your own, just pay attention without allowing your mind to wander off. We all do it when someone is talking to us, we start thinking about our response before they’ve even finished what they are saying or our minds are somewhere completely different altogether.Try just listening to what is being said right now and wait to form any opinions until they have completely finished talking. When you are out and about pay attention to what you are seeing now and not what you already know is there. The same goes for listening as well as for your other senses. You will be surprised how much you miss when you’re not actively paying attention.
- Eat Slower Mindful eating is a far broader subject than just eating more slowly but just the act of consciously slowing down your eating brings you into the present moment. By eating more slowly you will enjoy your food a lot more, enjoy the company more and find the whole experience more enjoyable. Take a few more chews of your mouthful, put your cutlery down between bites and join in with conversation with the other people you are eating with.After all, you or someone you care about is paying for what you are eating, maybe they have prepared it for you too and even if you are eating alone, by taking time to savour your food it will help you remain in the present moment. You are also less likely to overeat as it gives your brain a chance to keep up with what is going inside you.
There are many ways in which you can help yourself be more present. The more you do it, the more you notice more ways it can be done.