We all know how important mindfulness is and being present in the moment we are in…but how difficult is it to do that?? How many times do you go through your day and end up at 5 o’clock at night and realize you were on autopilot the whole time? When do you actually pay attention to the life you are living and not just go through the motions??
Well, knowing how difficult it is to remember to “be in the now” but also how important it is to actually “be” in that zone, I have a few tricks I use to focus and center myself into the moment I am in.
You may find these helpful…or not…but they are just my personal suggestions and, as always, I would love to hear about your own practices.
I’ve spoken many times about mantras and mantra work. I find them highly helpful and productive, no matter what you call them – mantras, prayers, affirmations, positive statements. Any word or phrase you use repeatedly will help influence the energy around you – and this is exactly what mantras do.
Mantras can also help you to get into the moment and recognize the “now” that you are in. I personally use mantras a lot when I am in conversations with other individuals and want to be conscious and aware of what I am saying.
Are you one of those people who can run their mouths off and talk about irrelevant things and then wonder what you were thinking? I’m pretty socially deviant…er…I say some weird shit from time to time and realize too late that I probably shouldn’t be talking about metaphysical concepts in a parent’s group or that when someone tells you their dream it is not an open invitation to interpret it in front of everyone and lay bare their inner thinking.
In these situations, aka when I am speaking to other people, I have found saying a mantra in my mind super helpful to recenter and get myself to focus on exactly what I am saying. I have also found that when I do this, those words I use are more careful and I am a much better listener and communicator.
Mantras are significant to me, so I use them throughout my day to recenter myself but using them during conversations has been very helpful for this specific purpose.
The mantas I generally use in these situations are:
“Be still and know”
I also tend to use breath work during the process as well, breathing in on the first part and exhaling during the second, sending my energy down to the ground and then bringing it back up.
While I do love mantra work, probably my absolute favorite trick to use to get myself in my body and be aware of the moment I am in is by touch. I do this by just gently touching my forearms and really feeling what that sensation is like, both with the hand that is touching and the arm which is feeling.
Go on, try this right now, use one hand to touch the other arm – what does it really feel like to you??
Paying attention to those physical sensations can bring you right into your body and into that now moment. You may even realize you haven’t really “felt” your own skin in a very long time. The sensations can have a jarring effect when you do this the first few times and you may find that you are a touched starved individual, especially in today’s time.
This method of touch is my preferred technique when I am alone, nothing too inappropriate here, just that is the time when I realize the importance of being in the moment and recognizing the sensations which are around me. I tend to do this most when I use the restroom, finding the sensation of washing my hands can stimulate my mind to remember this tactic and be in that now moment – really feel what water over the skin is like, such a wonderful sensation.
Using that sense of touch also works well when folding laundry and putting away clothes. You can feel both your own skin and the materials of which your clothes are made. I no longer dread putting the laundry away when I use it as “me time” and time to really focus in on the feeling of what is around me and be in that now moment.
3. Set Alarm
I inadvertently started the act of being in the now in middle school using an alarm each day. Back then, for some unknown reason (aka I was a weird kid…now I am a weird adult…) I set my watch’s alarm clock to go off at 3:42 pm every day.
Now, you may ask why that specific time. Well, for a kid that was the perfect time. At 3:42 pm the school day is over, but it isn’t time to start doing homework yet. This was that brief period of transitionary time between one part of my day and the next – and I wanted to make sure to relish it each and every day – so I set my alarm to go off and remind me to do just that.
Back then I wouldn’t know this was what I was doing, putting myself in the now moment, but now I realize how great an idea that was and what a helpful skill that is to cultivate. I do not currently do this as I do not wear a watch anymore, but whenever I see that it is 3:42 pm I can’t help but smile and bring myself to that now moment.
What techniques do you use to be in the now? Have you found any one technique more helpful than another?