Being in the present moment. It sounds so simple. Yet often we find ourselves caught up in thoughts completely unrelated to our current experience. Ruminations on the past or future, mental loops and other distractions all pull us away from the here and now.
As a result, we lose touch with the fullness of the present. While it is essential for us to look backwards and forwards, the present moment is alive with information and possibility. When we are fully engaged with it, we can sense and understand more, connect better to ourselves and others, and are proven to be healthier and happier (https://science.sciencemag.org/content/330/6006/932).
This is easier said than done. We are complex beings, and our minds naturally move in many directions. And right now, our world feels especially turbulent. Many of us are experiencing high levels of stress and uncertainty about the future, making it seem even more difficult to be in the moment.
Yet this time also offers us an important opportunity. None of us know what will happen next. But by placing our attention on the here and now, we can resource ourselves in the midst of chaos and change. Being present helps us to step out of fear and survival mode and to meet our external environment from a calm, centred space.
Connecting with the here and now
This simple yet powerful mindfulness practice offers a pathway back to the here and now.
- As you go about your day, take a moment to notice what activity you are doing – such as cooking, driving or eating – and to mentally label it.
- Become aware of which parts of your body are involved in this activity. What are your internal and external sensations?
- Feel your feet on the floor. Notice how this can help you to feel rooted and supported in your environment.
- Look at your surroundings. Allow your eyes to wander freely, noticing the colours, textures and patterns around you as you say to yourself: “I am here”.
- Repeat this practice as often as possible throughout your day to build present moment awareness.