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12 ways to be more present

Living in the here and now can help us lead happier, healthier lives-free from anxiety about the past and future.

  1. Don't pick up the phone.- It may sound obvious, but we all need reminding sometimes-smart phones are incredibly addictive and many of us spend over four hours a day on them without even realizing. Check your screentime usage and set yourself a challenge to reduce it by a quarter. Notice how you feel when you don't have your phone. Lighter? Free?

  2. Hear me now - How often do you find your mind wandering when a loved one is talking to you? Next time you're with a friend, family member, partner or child try to really hone in on whart they are saying- their words, expressions and mood. Being present with your relationships can really help to build trust and intimacy.

  3. Accept things as they are- We spend our lives looking forward to the next thing, striving for a better job or a bigger house, but when we pause and just enjoy "being" as we are right now, we gain a sense of peace and calm. A gratitude practice can help with this. Repeat to yourself, "I am happy where I am right now, I have everything I need."

  4. Try mindful walking- Walking is a great way to connect with nature, get fit and boost endorphines, but it's easy for our minds to start wandering once we start walking. Everytime your thoughts drift, bring your conscience back to present How does the sun or wind feel on your face? Are you breathing fast or slow? What is the view like? You will find this way of movement has a whole level of joy.

  5. Cut down on alcohol- A glass of wine now and again can be a great relaxation tool, but it's all too easy to start using it as a regular way to escape your problems. Next time you feel anxious, worried or overwhelmed, try to just "sit" with your feelings rather than reaching for something to cover them up. It can be hard to do, but thinking through what you're feeling and why you're feeling it can really help. Breathe, and remember that the feelings will pass.

  6. Let go of the past- Take a moment to ask yourself how often you ruminate over past events. It could be a major life trauma, or something seemingly insignificant. Make a conscious decision to let go of negative feeelings about the past, or seek counseling if you need to talk them through in order to move on. Positive affirmations can really help here.

  7. Look up- Fed up with spending your evenings glued to Netflix? Take a moment to switch off, go outside and look up at the stars. You'll gain a whole new sense of perspective on life.

  8. Read more- Whilst reading can be construed as escapism, it also puts us into a trance-like state during which we are fully immersed in what we are doing- with no room for other thoughts or distractions

  9. Mindful eating- Next time you sit down to eat some food, consider how it looks, smells and feels as you eat it. You may experience a whole new sensation- just from being more mindful and present.

  10. Awaken your senses- Our fives senses-sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste-are what help us make sense of the world and provide a full sensory experience. You might be sitting at your desk, but take a moment to notice the smell of your perfume, the sushine coming through the window and the sound of birds singing outside.

  11. Try a body scan- We spend our whole lifetime in our bodies, but then how often do we actually notice them- apart from when something goes wrong? Lie down and take some deep breaths, before slowly connecting with each part of your body. Start with your toes and move upwards bit by bit until you reach your scalp. Do you notice anything?

  12. Stop Multitasking- Juggling 10 things at once is the opposite to being present. When we focus on one task at a time, we are not only more productive but we truly immerse ourselves in that one thing and garner more enjoyment from it. Make a list and cross things off as you go- there are a few things in life as satisfying as getting to the end! If you struggle with focus, try Pomodoro technique and break each task down into manageable 20-minute segments.

I hope all of the above help you lead a more abundant love!

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