Presence is a practice.
Like most things we talk about around here.
When it comes to life changing personal growth nothing is a ‘one and done’ scenario and requires patience and practice.
That’s where we see all those lovely jubbly lasting changes that we all want so much.
Presence is also something that a huge majority of people actually struggle with.
We’re in such a fast paced society these days with so many demands for our attention and so much messaging that may cause us to worry about the future or ruminate on the past. It’s no wonder!
We’ve literally wired our brains to NOT be present!
Think about it, how often are you actually paying attention to what’s right in front of you? Even watching TV or listening to something are you mentally elsewhere? Maybe on your phone numb scrolling?
Think for a second about the thoughts that tend to be rushing and rolling around in your noggin.
Are they in the past? Ruminating on the ‘shoulda, woulda, couldas’. The things you wish you’d said and done, the things you DID say and do that you wish you hadn’t. A lot of us spend time rumbling around in the past.
Are they in the future? Wondering about the ‘what ifs’? Worrying and catastrophising about things that haven’t happened yet?
I feel I’m in a very good place to talk about this as an enneagram 6 because I was always very well practiced doing both of these and not staying in the present moment where I could be conscious and rational.
So I can attest to the fact that it really is something that you can learn.
I don’t win every time for sure. But I find it SO much easier to catch myself not being present and consciously bring it back.
That’s the magic of being present. You’re conscious. You’re in much more control of your own choices and behaviour. You make better decisions.
It improves your relationships with other people.
If you work with clients it helps you get better results.
Creativity lives in presence.
Gratitude and appreciation lives in presence.
It’s usually FAR less stressful in the present moment.
You’re not worrying and overthinking as much when you’re present.
Focus and attention lives in the present.
You listen better when you’re present.
You’re more connected to yourself and others in the present.
You’re able to use a lot of the tools that are going to help you rewire your brain and nervous system when you’re in the present moment.
So what are some of the best ways to go about practicing presence?
Asking good questions and becoming your own best coach is a great place to start.
Journaling is a glorious way to start with learning this skill. And it is a skill.
You can use stream of consciousness journaling to really allow whatevers present to be present. It’s also helpful because it will show you how much your thoughts are spending in the past or the future.
All you do is essentially brain dump whatever pops into your head. It will read like a big jumbled mess of weirdness and that’s perfect.
It will allow you to be present. It will allow you to consciously see some of the things that are going round in your head affecting your day to day. You’ll be able to find your sense of humour for those things and you might even slowly start to notice that those thoughts start to become more present over time.
Try it for 5 days and just see what shifts for you and what you notice.
Next up we have meditation as a super practical way to get more present. Specifically noticing what’s showing up for you. What sensations are you feeling in your body? What thoughts can you notice and let go.
It’s literally about being in the present moment. It WILL take practice but everything does.
Now, there’s a caveat here. Many people find meditation difficult, have a listen to the episode Have you decided you’re no good at meditation for some practical reasons why and what you can do about it.
Heartmath is one of my all time favourites. I’m a licensed heartmath coach so I teach all my clients the various heartmath techniques but it’s an incredible way to get back into your body and into the present moment using simple breathing techniques.
It also wakes up your prefrontal cortex which goes ‘offline’ when you’re in the threat response so you can make far better decisions and regulate your nervous system. It’s quite simply glorious.
Mindfulness is the ultimate in presence.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation and it’s a really practical one.
It’s the ability to be fully present and aware of what’s going on internally and externally…without judgement. It’s simply about what is.
The more you practice it the more you’ll start to notice your mind wandering less.
My favourite activity is a waking up the senses exercise. What do you see, what do you hear, what do you feel, what do you smell, what can you taste.
You can do this anywhere! Walking, consciously taking the time to look up from your desk for a minute. In a meditation.
The more you do it the more you’ll feel and notice the benefits.
Being present allows real appreciation to come through.
When you aren’t present you aren’t going to notice all the little things around you. You’ll miss them.
When you’re present you’re more in tune with other people too. You’re more empathetic because you pick up on the visible and tonal cues.
Try it and start to notice what you notice!
And notice how your thoughts and feelings might start to shift and perhaps become a little clear, or quieter.
Like I say, it is a practice. You won’t win every time. That’s totally ok. Just keep going.
Fran Excell, Success Mindset Mentor at www.franexcell.com – Helping Business Owners & Executives Overcome Stress & Self Sabotage so they can get back their time, get off the emotional rollercoaster and feel more in control.
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