a poster saying be here now
Life & Family,  Self Growth

Our 163 Dollar Life Lesson On How To Be More Present

“Do you have the keys?”
“You’re joking right?”
“I’m serious, did you bring your house keys?”
“That’s not funny babe, I know you brought them”
“I’m not joking”

That was the sound of us realizing that my husband had locked the house door without bringing the keys…wait for it….AGAIN!

Yup! For the second time in one month, we were standing in the garage staring at our house door unable to get in, like unwanted visitors. 
For the second time in a month, we sat in the car, waiting for a locksmith that would charge us $80+ to open our OWN DOOR.

(Thank God we leave our cars unlocked when parked in the garage!)

Once unlocked, best believe that the first thing we did was to retrieve the keys and drive our butts to Lowe’s to get our keys copied (like we should have done after the first time).

Then this happened:

“Where’s my phone?”
“Did you leave it at the key counter?”
(We walk over to check)
“It’s not here, did you even bring it in the store?”
“I must have left it in the car”

Thankfully, his phone was in fact in the car, safe and sound.


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Now, I wouldn’t be that surprised if these two incidents had happened to me. I can be a little head in the clouds, if you know what I mean.

My husband, on the other hand, is typically a very responsible and trustworthy person. This back to back lapse in his attentiveness was unlike him.

I thought about how much we’ve had going on lately and how much he has to be juggling mentally. I decided it would be a good time to bring up a concept I have been encountering a LOT lately and that is: MINDFULNESS.


WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

Mindfulness is an old meditation technique that has become somewhat of a buzz word lately.

Mindfulness is about accepting all your everyday tasks as worthwhile parts of your life, deserving of attention and appreciation, not just filler moments that you endure to get to some hypothetical goal.

In other words, instead of focusing on all the things you need to do, what you want to do or processing the things you have done in the past, mindfulness leads you to be intentional about being fully present in the right now.

To make the concept a lot less intimidating (for myself), I simply think of it as: 
BEING MORE PRESENT.


WHY? WHAT’S THE POINT?

Research has shown that focusing on being more present can: lower stress and worry, which improves mental and physical health.

Also, remember that the present is a gift and is not guaranteed!
Don’t forget to actually experience and appreciate the life happening right in front of you.

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HOW TO BE MORE PRESENT

If you’re like me, the word “meditation” is intimidating.
I’m going to be honest and admit that I don’t want to sit on a yoga mat and “ohmmmm” and “namaste” a couple hours away. (And can I admit that I think I’d get bored?).

The reason I gravitate towards the concept of mindfulness is because it’s a mindset that you can develop even while you’re still “doing” life.

On our way home from Lowe’s, I asked husbae whether he could describe how this particular moment smells, how the clouds look right now and how the pants he is wearing feel on his skin at this very moment if I were to ask him to describe it tomorrow.

Of course he said “YES” in absolute confidence (because that’s just how my husband is) lol!

But the whole thing is a whole lot harder than we may think.

I’ve been researching and thinking about how to break this large concept down into simple actions that we can practice on an everyday basis.
Here are 5 easy changes that you and I can make today:

5 Easy Ways To Be More Present

1. Reduce “multitasking”! 
As eloquently said by the poet, Propaganda, “multitasking is a myth. You ain’t doing anything good. Just everything awful”.

Focus on one task at a time and give it your undivided attention. By doing this, you can fully appreciate the task at hand. “Single-tasking”, as some know it, has also been shown to be more efficient!

2. Take inventory of your senses
For a few minutes each day, guide yourself to take inventory of what you FEEL, SEE, SMELL, HEAR and/or TASTE.

Aim to describe each sensory experience so well that you could describe it in detail even after the moment has passed.

3. Pick an event each day to truly “experience”
For example, when you’re lying in bed, feel the sheets against your skin, smell the freshly washed scent of your bedding and enjoy the sound of silence (hopefully).

4. Ditch the phone
When possible, take a break from your phone and the million apps calling for your attention. Have you ever noticed how you are forced to pay more attention to what’s in front of you when you don’t have your phone?

5. Do a Mental Body Scan
Personally, I carry stress in my shoulders. When I am stressed and working on a million things at once, my shoulders creep up and up and up until they’re practically kissing my ears. When that goes on too long, I develop pain in my shoulders and neck.

Whenever I notice this happening, I do a mental body scan. I tell my shoulders to drop, then I focus on detecting what else feels tensed up. It’s usually my facial muscles so I let those relax. Then I keep identifying and relaxing tense body groups until my whole body feels more relaxed. Try it!


In Conclusion…

the album cover of propaganda's poem "be more present"

In his poem “Be Present”, Propaganda talks about how ‘TIME’ is asking us to: “stop being so concerned with the old her and future her but love her NOW. Her presence is God’s present and you should be that- PRESENT”.

At our house, we will be taking this challenge to be more present very seriously! And not just because we’re sick of spending money on locksmiths!

5 Comments

  • Nyxie

    I totally get this. My partner and I left the house in a rush yesterday due to a whole rick-ma-roll of mishaps early in the morning, and it was only when we got to his workplace did we realise that he had left his phone behind.
    We both do this sort of thing so often it’s become more than a joke.
    It’s because we are both so busy with everything else in our lives that we often don’t take time to think about where we are, right now, in the moment.
    Thank you for sharing this 🙂

    • Jess

      I definitely need to minimize my multitasking! I wear myself thin and I’ve begun to pull that back due to mindfulness. I had to get in touch with myself and address what my body&mind needed.

  • Sarah

    So many people are intimidated by mindfulness because it seems so grand, but in reality it is just paying attention to things (around you and inside you). Great job framing the importance of practicing mindfulness in something so mundane (and annoying!) as forgetting things.

  • Claire

    Oh I love this post. We see the word Mindfulness so much now without really understanding it.

    How you’ve just explained it is exactly how it was taught to us on a course I took with work. It makes it seem so much more achievable to fit in to our lives like this.

    Thank you

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