One simple way to manage stress is to stay present in each moment. Simple…but not easy. Being anchored in the present moment certainly takes practice. It’s kind of like learning to play an instrument or learning a new skill. You have to start small and gradually it will become easier. At first it seems impossible and confusing and like you’re never going to get it. But over time it starts to become habit and comes more naturally.
Here are some ideas to help you practice staying in the moment.
1. Increase Your Awareness
There have been times when I suddenly realized that I wasn’t in the moment, nor had I been anywhere near the moment for hours. I don’t typically slip away for hours anymore, but I still catch myself mentally fussing about worries or daydreaming about projects. Noticing when you’re not in the moment can be half the battle. Several times throughout the day, just do a check-in with yourself and see where you are.
2. Watch Your Breath
If you remind yourself often to watch your breath, you will be automatically transported back into “now”. Set up reminders on your phone or desktop. Put post-it notes everywhere with gentle reminders. Whatever works for you, just play with it.
3. Pay Attention to Your Movements
Whatever you do, try to watch yourself doing it. Focusing on the movement can help you practice being in and staying in the moment. Watch yourself drinking a cup of coffee, typing an email, talking on the phone, eating your lunch, etc. What does it feel like physically? Where does the coffee cup touch your fingers? What does the keyboards feel like under your finger tips? What position is your body in? Just notice more without judging it.
Try to be patient with yourself and not get discouraged. Over time as your practice improves, you will notice your overall stress level is much lower and you’re able to handle difficult situations with poise and a steady head. I’d love to hear how you practice staying in the moment, so send me an email or put it in the comments below.