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The Practice of Being Present
Often times we are focusing on what is to come or worrying about things that have happened in our past. We are often so connected to the things going on around us we forget to stop and be in the present moment.
Our minds are constantly being stimulated and distracted. We are not just experiencing distraction from social media, emails, the internet, and text messages, we are also experiencing distraction in our own minds, thinking about past events and constantly being worried about what the future holds. By being distracted by the past and overthinking about the future we forget to direct our attention to the present moment. Which can lead to stress in our bodies. There are many benefits to being present. Some may experience better mood, improved sleep, feel less stressed, and over all be more satisfied with their life, because they are not constantly thinking about the past or future.
It takes a conscious effort daily to be present. Here are some things to help you get started and successfully practicing being present.
Practice meditation. Start with 3-5 minutes focusing on your breath. This allows your mind a break and to help you slow down your thoughts to be fully present.
Take time to reflect. Creating a gratitude list or journaling weekly can help you keep track of how present you were that day. This provides you with accountability and can showcase ways you may be able to practice and improve the next day.
Use your senses. Your senses alert you and inform you of the things happening around you. Take time each day to stop and pay attention to what you see, smell, hear, taste, and touch. This is a great tool to do especially if you are feeling overly anxious.
Go for a walk without checking your phone. Spending time outside in nature can be very grounding. Allowing yourself time away from distractions can allow you to really focus on the present moment.
Listen genuinely. Often, we are only half listening to conversations, because we are waiting to respond with our own stories or add to the conversation. Instead try listening more with curiosity instead of focusing on how you can add to the conversation.
There are so many benefits to eliminating distractions and feeling like you can be fully present. Being able to focus on being present more allows us to strengthen our attention and feel more connected to ourselves and others. I encourage you to start implementing some of these ideas to help you slow down.
Jill Haupts, Outreach Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Jill Haupts is the Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation. She received her bachelor’s degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services from Iowa State University in 2016. Jill joined the Kim Foundation in January of 2020, coming from Des Moines, Iowa. Her previous experience includes volunteer recruitment and fundraising, as well as experience coordinating services and providing resources to adults who have a mental health diagnosis. Jill’s role in the foundation is coordinating event logistics, presenting and attending community fairs, as well as volunteer coordination and recruitment. She enjoys working in the nonprofit field and has a passion for advocacy and helping others.