self improvement tips

6 Simple Alterations to Become More Present

Do you think about the day ahead, the deadlines, projects, meetings; while driving? Do you worry and stress over an email you sent days ago that didn’t get a response? Do you feel the urge to check your phone while in a middle of a conversation or when spending time with your family?

Distractions are all around us. We fixate on the past and the future at the expense of the present.

I would think about why certain things happened. My meandering mind on the past then created scenarios on how to steer the future.

This thinking pattern led to high levels of stress and anxiety.

Looking back to a year ago, the weight on my chest from the anxiety was something I had never experienced before. It was as if I had a twenty-five pound plate lying on my chest each time I inhaled and exhaled.

The fear of experiencing something much worse than the pain I was already feeling was the catalyst to a journey of transformation.

Committing to a journey of intentional self growth was the medicine I needed, I vowed to taking care of myself first in order to give my best self to others.

I gave myself permission to let go. Letting go and surrendering to the only moment that mattered, this very moment.

Being present originates from within your mind, it’s a mindset, or mind shift, that occurs overtime, with practice.

Just like anything else it’s a muscle that needs to be exercised; and to keep that muscle healthy, it’s a constant devotion.

As much of being present resides within your mind there are things you can do to reduce the noise by removing your outside distractions; aside from meditation, which I highly recommend.

Here are 6 simple alterations you can do to become more in tune with the present moment.

1. Remove your TV from your main living space

This is something we did several months ago and I can honestly say it was one of the best things for our family.

You will appreciate the stillness of the moment without the unnecessary background noise. You will appreciate the spontaneity of the moment. You’ll find yourself gravitate towards the things nature what’s you to do; the things you are interested in.

You don’t have to get rid of it, just don’t have it be the focal point of where you spend the most time within your home.

Since removing it, our family gets lost in the timelessness of play now more than ever. These are tiny moments I will cherish for a lifetime.

2. Stop wearing a wrist watch

This is new for me, but I am trying it and so far am loving it.

Each time I looked at my watch, mostly out of habit, a sense of urgency took over regardless if it was something urgent or not. I felt like I needed to hurry up and get on to the next thing.

Removing my watch removed the unnecessary urgency that would flood my body.

3. Simplify

Much like how the meandering mind pulls you away from the present moment, the accumulation of stuff is just as much of a distraction.

Keep the things that will allow you to live each day. Unnecessary items are unnecessary burdens. When you have them, you have to take care of them.

The lighter you are the freer you feel. The freer you feel the more present you can become.

4. Turn your phone off or at least put it away

Or at the very least, remove all notifications.

As much as technology has evolved, it’s also pulled us further away from the present moment. It dilutes the level of true engagement.

Too many times I would find myself needing to scratch the itch of looking at my phone in the middle of an intimate conversation or a super hero battle with my son.

Not only does this pull me from the present moment, but the connection between my son and I weakens. It’s a habit that takes intentional effort.

5. Listen

Actually listen.

Don’t just appear like you are listening while you’re actually thinking about what you’re going to respond with, but genuinely listen to the other person while engaging in a conversation.

Feel the emotion stemming from the spoken words.

6. Journal

Not only will you be more present by intently listening to your external surroundings, but also by listening to yourself, your vulnerabilities, your fears, your feelings.

Recognize those and become more aware of your internal space. Accept them, acknowledge them, own them and be honest with yourself. Get them on paper.

Too often we go through life numbing ourselves of the present moment because we’ve for so long suppressed our true selves.

If you were only to do one thing, journal.

What would you add to this list?

Eric Ungs - Founder of The Unless You Care ProjectEric is the founder of the Unless You Care project. Writing about a journey of intentional self growth, nudging you to let go; to give yourself permission to be vulnerable and honest with yourself so you can give your best self to others. Author of
10 Incredible Ways to Live a Fulfilling and Joyful Life. Get your free copy here.