5 Ways To Stay Present
Pay attention to your thoughts: Feed all your senses: Use all five of your senses to bring you back to the present, instead of allowing yourself to be governed by your thoughts. Doing this stops any unhelpful rumination and reminds you that what matters most is what’s happening right in front of you, in the moment.
- Try the 54321 Technique:
Close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths in and out, now open your eyes and name out loud:
- 5 things you can see,
- 4 things you can feel
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste (or just notice how your mouth feels)
2. Take a deep breath to end.
This technique grounds you, reminds you of what’s real and in the here and now. It also gives your systems a bit of space to re-set, you can build up regular practice and use it in a moment of feeling overwhelmed.
Or a bit of focused breathing can really help:
- Close your eyes
- Take a deep breath in through your nose counting to 7
- Breathe out slowly through your mouth counting to 11
- Repeat 6-7 times
This takes roughly 2 minutes in which time a raised heart rate can re-settle, it reduces your stress response, and when you practise it regularly you are training your mind to be focused where you want it to be, rather than where it happens to be.
3. Step outside yourself
All too often worries are focused on yourself, and whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, too much self-focus can lead to overthinking, needless worrying, and stress. To avoid this, find other people or activities to focus on, such as doing voluntary work or spending time being active especially with others. If that’s impractical, think (positively!) about someone else.
4. Write it down: Getting stuff out of your head and on to paper can be cathartic. It might seem counter-intuitive to spend time writing about the past or future when you’re trying to stay present, but it can be like doing a spring clean for your brain! It gets rid of thoughts that no longer fit, and you can also write about things in the present – you can use the 54321 Technique or use this framework to acknowledge that things are not all bad:
- I Have… (relationships, support in place)
- I Am… (these are your inner strengths, things you’re proud of)
- I Can… (interpersonal and problem-solving skills)
5. Create a reminder
Staying in the present can be really difficult and sometimes having a little reminder helps. Things like sticky notes, setting an alarm to do some focused breathing, changing your phone background to remind you to stay in the moment, or do some focused breathing. It can help you stay on track.
The practise of staying present can be tricky at first, you’ll have to actively and consciously bring yourself into the moment especially if you’ve developed a strong habit of time travelling but it’s worthwhile putting the effort in, and so important if you want to live a positive, engaged life.
You’ll feel more alive, notice more positive emotions, and be more creative – and that means less stress, less anxiety, less frustration.
In the busy-ness of modern life, we can all do with small pockets of time to stop and allow ourselves to breathe fully, allow thoughts to slow, to notice our bodies and how they feel, acknowledge our thoughts and let them pass on by.
Your brain is constantly switched on nowadays… allow it to go still for a moment.
Thank you to Geraldine Joaquim for this article.
Geraldine is one of the team of experts who work with Your Employee Wellbeing. Our wellbeing programmes are created to provide support to enable employees cope with whatever challenges they may face.
Providing effective support for employees ensures they are well prepared to be as productive as they possibly can be when they are working.
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