Twenty ways to become more present including getting enough sleep, listening to your body, and more.
1. Get enough sleep. How does a two-year old act without enough sleep? He or she is cranky, irritable, and unable to concentrate. Getting enough sleep is my number-one priority.
2. Exercise & stretch. Anything that demands full concentration of your body and muscles. The more intense it is, the quicker you become present. Be careful, because exercise can also be an escape, just like nicotine, alcohol, work, sex, etc.
3. Eat a balanced diet. I ask myself, what am I craving? Often it is vegetables, as I find I don't get enough of them. Try to be conscious of what is going into your body each day.
4. What is your body telling you? If you feel "off" for any reason, ask yourself if you are avoiding some emotional pain or Inner Knowing that is causing conflict within yourself.
5. Breathe deeply. I do a "wolf-howl" with my mouth wide open, and moving my pitch from very high to very low while gradually opening my throat wider. I get instant relief from tension.
6. Stop obsessive-compulsive thinking by going back to first principles: How important is this "crisis?" Will this particular moment make a meaningful difference in what I am trying to accomplish overall?
7. Use an analytical decision-making method. Pros and cons. Keep, start, stop. Run your ideas by others. Seek expert input.
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8. Put off decisions until they have to be made. There is limited upside in thinking too soon, and lots of downside in mental wheel-spinning.
9. Slow down. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Resist the desire to get too many things done in too short a time period.
10. Make no assumptions. Discover how often the assumption you would have made, would have turned out to be wrong.
11. How is this emotion serving you? If you want to stop feeling upset about something permanently, dig into your belief system to discover why you are holding on to it, and then let it go.
12. Be playful. Any cranky two-year-old lets go of anger once something new and exciting is happening.
13. Validate your feelings. Your Inner Child wants to be heard. Are you there for you? Or do you undermine or dismiss how you are feeling?
14. Listen in the Present. It's not about you. Mirror and empathize with how the other person feels, even if you are the subject of their emotions.
15. Patch up relationships -- especially with loved ones. You can't be present if every situation that triggers old wounds from your relationship with someone causes your sense of calmness and perspective to be lost.
16. Don't use threats. Only let others know what you intend to do if you are absolutely certain you will do it. Otherwise, persist in asking for what you want until you feel you must make your own choices about what's right for you, in light of their non-cooperation.
17. Whisper in response to yelling. You make it very hard for the other person to maintain their emotional attacks when you are whispering.
18. Find the silver lining. Every "disaster" will lead to something positive. I try to trust that God knows better than I do about what is best for me and for those around me. This prevents leaping to conclusions, criticizing others, and generally giving myself a negative experience.
19. Seek and act on your Inner Knowing. Don't rely solely on your thinking abilities or your emotional instincts. Both can lead you down reactive and unwise paths.
20. Meditate. This helps you let go of racing thoughts of past events for a few minutes, clearing your mind to connect to your Inner Knowing, where you will see more clearly what's important now for you to feel centered and confident.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Present Living & Learning, Inc. ©2002.
What's Important Now: Shedding the Past So You Can Live in the Present
by John Kuypers.
About the Author
John Kuypers is the Director and Founder of Present Living & Learning, Inc., an organization dedicated to helping people from all walks of life learn how to work and live passionately with no regrets by living in the present. He is also the founder of Rapid Shift Performance Systems, which offers tools, training and coaching to help business leaders achieve cooperative performance and productivity gains.
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