Wednesday, 24 February 2016

What It Means To Be Present

Everywhere I turn it seems that people are talking about being present. In magazines, on social media and at yoga classes. I have been assured that being present is a key to happiness and I remember thinking that there must be more to it than that! I thought I understood what being present meant and I also thought that I was already being present in my life.

But after a day of rushing through life and juggling numerous tasks, I realised I was stressed. I was not being present with each task. So I started to practice the art of being present. I would meet up with my family and focus solely on them. I wasn't thinking about a task I needed to get done or where I needed to be next. I sat down with them, turned off the TV and we had a conversation. We asked each other questions, looked each other in the eye, smiled and laughed together. We were all in the room being present with each other and enjoying each others company. We were not distracted by the TV or where we needed to be next.

I started to try this elsewhere. When I was talking to my husband, I was only talking to him. I stopped reading emails or texting at the same time and instead, I listened to him with all of my attention.

I used it with strangers. At my local health food shop, instead of thinking about paying quickly and getting out of the shop onto my next errand, I actually had a conversation with the assistant.

I tried this same experiment over the phone. I was speaking to a call centre assistant and again, I was present. I focused on the task in front of me and put my efforts into the conversation. I wasn't reading another email at the same time.

It all sounds a little too simple doesn't it, but it genuinely works. It is so surprising what happens when you listen with intention and focus on one thing or person at a time. Juggling social media, emails and the internet is actually very stressful and you are not giving the person in front of you the respect they deserve. You also don't seem to save any time by rushing.

Rushing to send the next email or text and doing too many things at once isn't necessary. It is a good thing to slow down and relax. The jobs will still get done. By being present, we will be happier when we are doing our daily tasks and we will be able to enjoy the people in our lives at the same time.

Try it for yourself and see what happens.

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