‘Be present!’ is a reminder we’re all familiar with, but it’s one that’s hard to understand beyond a fleeting concentration. How do we remain present in our bodies? It feels like being productive with work-related tasks is the easiest way to keep ourselves grounded in the moment, but it’s important that we’re aware of other ways of feeling capable, worthy, excited to be within our lives and our bodies outside of just completing tasks and enduring. This process should find its roots in something more personal. Being productive should also mean feeling grounded in your sense of self, your body, your thoughts, and your emotions.
NBGA has created a mini reference guide for you as you begin thinking about exploring other ways of being within yourself, your senses, and your dream-actualizing abilities.
Place a hand on your abdomen and inhale slowly until you feel your belly rise. Let it fill with your breath then slowly exhale. This is a calming signal for your body. The exercise will help ground you. Now with that completed, let’s get into our little list.
Go outside. Simple enough? It has been said countless times in professional publications as well as literature on the practice of meditation that being in nature, sitting by the water, breathing in fresh air, all of these actions have a cleansing and calming effect that can make a person not only feel more nourished, but also feel more stimulated. Is it raining? Open your window for the air and take in the auditory calm. It sometimes feels too simple to be a remedy that will help you connect with the present moment, but it always delivers. Let all of the stressed and worried thoughts leave your head. Go for a walk. Sit in the park. Open your window and hear the birds. You’ll feel more here.
Meditation is always an offered solution to those wanting to feel more present, but if you haven’t found your stride in the practice, it’s easy to lose the intended benefits through overthinking it. What can be helpful is following apps like Headspace and Calm.com that offer free listening and breathing exercises to help participants avoid the rabbit hole of distracting, intrusive thoughts that fill our minds up with noise. These apps both offer a few basic meditative exercises for free, and you can choose the time span that you meditate for. Utilizing incense or scented candles can also help you feel more present, as aromatherapy calms the mind.
Cook! Taste test! Bake! The smell of a delicious meal in progress alone is enough to foster a great inner feeling. Try a new recipe, enjoy preparing your ingredients, or even follow an old recipe. Be easy on yourself as you learn. Learning to prepare food by hand and creating a dish for yourself and others puts you in the flow of the now, and tasting something when you know the entire process that went into making it will feel so deliciously good.
Create. You know the creative hobby you don’t practice as often as you want to? Do it! Write, draw, sing, film. Even listening to your favorite music offers creative energy. You don’t have to make something perfect. You don’t have to hold yourself to high standards. It’s totally fine to play the video game on ‘easy.’ Your medium’s style is only possible through you, and witnessing the process from start to finish will ground you in the moment while also allowing you to experience several at once.
Exercise. There is no better way to really feel your breath, body, and mindset than working with your body. Choose whichever practice you enjoy most! Yoga, Pilates, running, boxing, weight lifting, etc. Don’t let lack of experience hold you back. Practice at your own pace; no one worthwhile will judge you. Speaking from experience, that post-workout feeling is a powerful and satisfying one. Allow yourself to experience it!
Speak with your friends or family on the phone. Especially in current times, you may find yourself feeling isolated or lonely. Do not underestimate the health benefits of speaking with someone you love! Call them on the phone, FaceTime, disregard texting, and recognize how present you feel when you’re in the presence – virtual or not – of someone you care about.
Being productive is not limited to output. Enjoyment is productive use of each day, too. These options are simple enough and we hope that they can act as simple, easy gateways for even more grounding activities like gardening, enjoying a beach day, grocery shopping for delicious ingredients, and overall keeping yourself thriving off of simple moments. Simple moments, where the only requirement is for you to be there. Feel what it means to be there.