How to Be More Present and Aware

Each day we get bombarded with all kinds of thoughts and ideas from our ego that is meaningless to our lives.  These notions and feelings keep us from being aware of what our current situation actually is.  Awareness is discernment of the current state; it is being fully conscious of present moment.

There was a cute video of a toddler eating watermelon for the first time and she was in total bliss.  She was very aware of the wonderful sweet taste of that pretty pink flesh of the watermelon.  She was conscious of the watermelon juice on her chin.  She was fully present and thoroughly enjoying every bite of her watermelon.  This is a perfect example of being fully present and in the moment. 

Awareness is the greatest cause for transformation. 

It is only when you become fully conscious of the situation or its cause can you begin to alter your responses to facilitate the changes you want to see in your life.  In dealing with my angst with alcohol, I first had to become aware that it was my issue as I was the one with the negative response.  It was my responsibility to change how I was responding to the situation I found myself in no else was to blame for my reaction. 

Being aware is part of the joy you have in living life.  This consciousness is where you realize that you have more happy moments than unhappy times.  It’s where you enjoy the time you have with loved ones instead of worrying about tomorrow.  Awareness is how you choose to be happy moment by moment.  It’s allowing the good to emerge as you are living your life.  Here are eight ways to help you become more present and aware.

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

1. Conscious grounding each day.

Every morning we need to ground ourselves into the present moment.  By doing this we can begin the day with serenity and peace.  We can do this through a variety of means including mediation, journal, prayer, or breathing exercises. 

By taking the time as we start each day before the hustle and bustle we have the opportunity to remind ourselves that each moment we have a choice of how we will proceed.  We can choose our attitude.  We can choose our emotional state.  We can choose to see the best in every situation.  We are able to see both sides of a situation and consciously move forward in a clam way. 

By taking the time to ground ourselves each day we start taking the time to learn who we are.  The quiet time is how we connect to the Divine as well as to the Divine within us.  Only when we get quiet can we hear our soul speaking.  In this silence we uncover the ability to accept ourselves as we are.  This is the ultimate spiritual awakening; loving oneself. 

2. Focused attention.

Studies have proven that our minds can only focus on one thing at a time.  Multi-tasking is a fallacy so don’t try to do it.  Instead, set up blocks of time to work on those items that are most important for you to complete.  Block of 20 minutes of focused attention actually gets more accomplished.  This means that you stop the interruptions of email and texts; close the door, and truly give your undivided consideration to the task at hand. 

Did you know that once you have been interrupted that it can take a full 25 minutes to reorganize your thoughts back on what you were trying to do?  So, if you just gave yourself the concentrated block of time you could gain back that 25 minutes you lost by the interruption which you could have used to accomplish an additional task on your to do list.  

3. Take Mini- breaks.

So now that you are working in blocks, after your 20 or 25 minutes of focused work your task is completed what’s next?  A mini-break is what you do.  All you need is a few minutes for your brain to reset and then you can do another block.  

During this time you need to get up and walk around.  You can use the restroom, refill your water bottle, or just breathe.  Take a really deep breath and release it slowly; do it two more times.  That’s all it takes to reset.

This resetting is important for your brain.  It allows you to recover your focus, review your task list, and reframe your thoughts before moving forward.  By resetting you are allowing the brain to rest so it can work on the next task.

4. Be a witness to what you are doing. 

How did you have breakfast this morning?  Were you standing in the kitchen grabbing a breakfast bar while making coffee?  Were you eating while driving to work? Do you remember eating breakfast?  In today’s fast paced lifestyle we don’t take the time to savor what we are eating because we are in a hurry to get to the next thing on our list.

Sit down to eat.  Enjoy the smell of your first cup of coffee.  Relish the crisp bite of apple in your morning oatmeal.  Be a witness to what you do each day.  When you are an observer to the actions you take throughout the day you bring more joy and positivity to those activities.  By doing this you also bring more happiness and are able to create the life you want. 

See, you get to choose how you live.  You get to decide that you will savor that first cup of coffee each morning.  You elect to view the situation as a positive one- as a chance to learn- rather then choose to be upset that it didn’t go as you expected.  By being a witness to your activities you are truly conscious in creating the life you want.

The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

5. Mindful thoughts vs. mind full of thoughts.

Become aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate these beliefs and judgments from the situation you find yourself in.  Once you are able to do this you can see that the situation itself is always neutral. 

We are the ones that impose conclusions and emotions about what is happening.  When we step outside of ourselves we have the ability to look at the whole and truly see the circumstances. 

This hamster wheel of beliefs that we have keeps our minds full of thoughts that are not necessary.  Instead one can be aware of the situation and consciously choose how to create a better situation that has positive outcomes for all involved.  This is being mindful- intentionally creating the life you want.

6. Go into the great outdoors.

Take a walk after a healthy dinner and enjoy the sunset with your spouse.  Being outside in nature is a wonderful reminder of the amazing world we live in.  Listen to the birds singing their evening song.  Watch the squirrel run along the fence and up the might oak tree.  When we take a minute and watch these divine moments we are awestruck.  We realize how wonderful it is for us to be a witness to this marvelous world we live in. 

Time in nature reminds us that everything will always work out in the end.  It may not be how we thought it would be but it always does.  Mother Nature shows us that the animals are always fed.  It shows us that the Universe is powerful as we witness a thunderstorm.  Our lives calm down when we are in the great outdoors.  We are able to connect with our divine self and find inner peace much easier when we are in a natural environment. 

7. Less blue light.

Ah, the blue light of electronics is always glowing in today’s world. It’s never really dark anymore is it?  Studied have shown that blue light has negative effects on sleep patterns as well as causing retinal damage. Beside the health risks involved our electronic devices are causing us to disconnect from those around us.  Amazingly, we can connect with millions online and yet be disconnected from the person sitting next to us because we are both looking at our phones. 

We need human connection.  Our brains are wired for it. It increases our likelihood for more happiness in our lives. So be more social with those around you instead of online.  Put your phone on do not disturb mode for at least 8 hours per night.  If there is an emergency they can still get through but you won’t be tempted to look every time you get a notification.   Less blue light at night will help you get the 8 hours of sleep you need each night as part of your self-care plan

8. Let it go.

In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz tells us not to take things personally. He goes on to say that most of what people do has nothing to do with you.  Now this can come across as a little hurtful but it’s true.  Our egos think that the world revolves around us and therefore what others do; they do to us which isn’t the case at all. 

Just like what we do has very little to do with others.  We make a choice based on what we want to do or what outcome we desire not on what our friend thinks we should do. As we learn to deal with others we learn to let go.

So, once we realize that most of what we deal with in life is not actually directed to us we can learn to let things go.  When a cashier is curt with us we can forgive and not let it affect our mood.  She is having a bad day, let’s give her a smile and a complement as we leave her.  Maybe our interaction was what she needed to adjust her outlook.  It was about her and her emotions. It wasn’t about us so just let it go. 

As we release those things that really don’t matter as we go through our day we end up having a very nice time. We have the choice to decide if that stranger has the power to take away our joy.  If they do it’s because we gave up our power to them. 

You get to choose if that driver who cut you off is going to make you angry or if you will just let it go.  You do not know what is going on with that driver; dad just had a heart attack and she is on her way to the hospital… you don’t know.  So don’t judge, don’t get angry- let it go.

Mindfulness is the gateway to the full dimensionality of being human.

When you become aware of the ego in you, it means that you are now the observer and therefore the agent to change your reactions to the situations you find yourself in.  You have choices in every circumstance, a positive one and a negative one; a choice to love or a choice to fear. 

Becoming mindful allows you to grow as a human being.  It allows you to expand your horizons.  To create a new reality for you to explore; to savor each moment as it occurs.  Growth is exploring those parts of you that you have put aside, that creative teenager who loved to paint.  It is realizing that you really don’t like dealing with the toddler’s at the daycare you work at but love working with the elementary age kids when they come in after school. 

Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience. ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

As you appreciate these nuances about yourself and become conscious about your choices you start to create a fabulous life.  If you would like to receive more informative and mindful articles right into your mailbox fill this out now.

Do you need help becoming aware of your present state?  Do you want a plan to help you create a fabulous life?  If so please contact me and we can put together an action plan for you to be more mindful and aware. 



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