It’s ever present, something no one can truly escape… distractions. Whether it’s a text message, anxiety about an upcoming event, or a conversation that’s more interesting than the one you’re in currently, there are so many things that take us out of the moment. Psychologists are beginning to research and understand the importance of being mentally present and focused, thus I give you four ways to increase your mental presence.
Meditation takes many forms for many different people. It doesn’t have to be like a complex meditation, I simply find a quiet space in my house and pray for five minutes. The key is to focus your thoughts back on a task when your mind begins to wander. Re-rail the train when it goes off the tracks. Remember to start small with this sort of activity, it takes time to train your brain to focus. Taking time each day is a great way to develop a greater mental presence. If you aren’t sure what to pray about just spend five minutes thinking of things to be grateful for.
2. One Thing at a Time
Multi tasking was once praised as a path to efficiency, however studies are beginning to discover that this decreases efficiency! This suggests the importance of taking one thing at a time. That means no more watching TV while trying to do math homework! I personally struggle with doing one thing at a time because I like to be on my phone while I do other things like cooking, or spending time with my family; it helps to know that I’m not the only one who does finds it challenging to keep distractions at bay. The best thing to do for mental clarity is to only do one thing at a time – which means put the cell phone down.
3. Journal and Reflect
A really good way to begin the process of being present is to spend time each day, or almost every day, journaling or reflecting on the day. Taking a little time to focus on important events and social interactions is a great motivator for choosing to be more present. As you journal, think about moments in the day when you were present and compare them with moments of distraction. How did it feel in both scenarios? Was energy gained or lost? Did a relationship or conversation change in quality? Reflecting on these things will put life into perspective.
4. (As Trite as This Is) Stop and Smell the Roses
Take a moment each day to appreciate something ordinary in your day that would typically be taken for granted. Identify what makes that thing good and take a moment to savor it. When I encounter a particularly good part of my day I often take a moment to share it with others around me.
By sharing positive experiences with others I am able to extend my own enjoyment but also share it with others. This simple act creates community and a sense of sharing, which are both ver positive experiences.
5. Choose Your Thoughts Wisely
Anxiety about all sorts of impending things steals mental presence faster than anything else. Questions like “Will I do well on my next test”, “how am I going to make it through my job interview while still looking professional?”, and “What am I going to next week about that presentation I have to give?” all steal peace of mind and prevent mental presence. During mild cases, I recommend To-do lists. To-do lists are perfect for creating mental presence: make a time order to do list and work off of it each day or week to take the buzzing questions out of your mind. For really severe cases of anxiety reach out to someone you can trust and share with them – creating a community of support and openness is essential for life. You could also write down the best case scenarios and brainstorm ways to mitigate your problems into small enough pieces to fit into today. Breaking things down to fit into “today” is a cornerstone of mental presence.
This concludes my tutorial on increasing mental presence. I hope that this provides some insight into a better way of life! As always be blessed. If this article spoke to you, please let me know. Be sure to like, subscribe, and comment if you haven’t already. There are no glamour shots for mental presence but there is an increase in life well lived and I hope that this post aids in that endeavor!