The Benefits of Being Present (& a few ways to practice)

1. Improved social skills

This may be one of the first things you experience when you start learning to be fully present. If you get nervous or shy and “don’t know what to say” in a conversation then presence is one great step toward solution.

When you are present your head is no longer filled with past scenarios (“what did she mean when she said that?”) or future scenarios (“what will they think if say this?”). You can let go of self-consciousness. You also stop planning the conversation – and being “in rehearsal mode”. This means that a part of your brain – and internal chatter – is focused on what you are going to say next, instead of just being 100% engaged in what the other person is saying.

You are just here, with your attention focused outward towards the person you are interacting with. You let things flow in a natural and comfortable way. Imagine that you are with someone you know very well – perhaps a best friend – someone with whom you are completely comfortable. When you’re with this person you are less likely to be thinking ahead. You are just enjoying the interaction, the present moment and allowing the time to pass comfortably and naturally.

2. Improved creativity

Learning to be fully present can improve creativity dramatically. When you are fully immersed in your creative endeavour – all distractions dissolve and time will pass with little awareness. You will be in “flow state”. Momentum will be created, and you will move easily from one idea to the next with little stress or pressure to produce. Writers often speak about moving in and out of flow state. Painters and sculptors report the same experience. It is only when outside, unrelated thoughts enter that the flow state is interrupted useful content.

3. You appreciate your world more

One of big advantages of becoming more present in your everyday life is that you decrease the amount of analysing and labelling you do to the things/people in your surroundings. Judgement will reduce. When we allow ourselves to fully witness our surroundings or a specific experience, the experience will be enhanced. Colours can seem brighter. Our sense of appreciation may heighten. It’s as if you are observing your world with more clarity and curiosity. This could be likened to a child-like state of first time discovery. Remember what it was like to experience something for the very first time.

4. Stress release

Being present is a wonderful form of stress release. There are many ways to be present and mindful. Body focus, mindful breathing, object observation, and thought reduction (a type of meditation) are all great examples of how being mindful can reduce stress.

5. Less worry and overthinking

If you are a chronic over thinker who goes around in circles in your mind before you get anything done, then being present can be a great release.

6. Openness

This is perhaps the best benefit. Being present removes the labels you put on people and things – temporarily – and opens you up to see and experience things without preconceived notions. This is a big part in how being present helps you in conversations and with creativity. You are open to new things as you are without many of the barriers within the mind. You may find that being present will make things easier, and you will get better results.

7. Playfulness

As you are present you may also feel a sense of playfulness. This can increase a natural spontaneity – and access to your powerful “gut instinct”. When you see things from a playful point of view things become less of a struggle created from within. You let go of that heavy, overthinking frame of mind.

Here are some ways to slip into the present moment.

  1.  Focus on your breath.
  2. Focus on what’s right in front of you – Conscious Observation
    • Look at what’s right in front of you right now.
    • Listen to the sounds around you.
    • Feel the fabric of your clothes and focus on how they feel.
  3. One Minute of Mindfulness

This is an easy mindfulness exercise, and one that you can do anytime throughout the day. Take a moment right now to try this. Check your watch and note the time. For the next 60 seconds your task is to focus all your attention on your breathing. It’s just for one minute, but it can seem like an eternity. Leave your eyes open and breathe normally. Be ready to catch your mind from wandering off (because it will) and return your attention to your breath whenever it does so.

This mindfulness exercise is far more powerful than most people give it credit for. It takes some people many years of practice before they are able to complete a single minute of alert, clear attention.

Keep in mind that this mindfulness exercise is not a contest or a personal challenge. You can’t fail at this exercise, you can only experience it.

Contact us to find out how we can help you build a culture of highly engaged, highly motivated, high performing people.

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