Strategies to be Present

In my last several posts, I’ve been talking about the importance and power of living in the present. There are lots of strategies to do so. Here are a few:

1.    Create a physical trigger that will center you in the present. This is something (anything) that pulls you back to the reality of the present moment so you can show up in a more deliberate way. My trigger is to snap my fingers. The snap reminds me that this is the only moment that is real; the only moment I can make choices. As you’re just learning this technique, it is useful to choose an unusual trigger, something that you’ll notice often during the day—a dot of finger nail polish on the face of you watch, a rubber band around your wrist or a stone in your pocket.  

2.    Turn down the noise. And turn up the quiet. How often do you have a TV or radio or some other electronic distraction in the background to disconnect from your awareness of your present experience. It takes discipline but by turning down the noise you get in touch with your inner experience. You become more conscious, grounded and able to deal with the present.

3.    Meditate. Meditation is an incredibly powerful tool to help you quiet your mind and get in touch with your center or “inner wisdom.” The technique involves focusing on one thing at a time, such as breathing, counting, a mantra, a flame, etc. It doesn’t require lots of time (10 to 15 minutes a day) and will help you become calm, alert and aware. The practice will yield great benefits in a short time if practiced routinely.

4.    Change your physiology. Do you know that you hold your body a certain way when you’re unconscious? Likewise, changing your physiology can alter your mind and make you ready or poised for action. To take yourself from an unconscious to a conscious state, become aware of your physiology and do something to make it different. Change your posture. Stand erect. Move your body. Make big gestures. Breathe deeply. Smile or otherwise change your facial expression.

5.    Be “On Purpose.” Clarify, at this moment, the outcomes you intend to produce. This is shifting from a state of unconsciousness and drifting to defining, precisely, what you want to have happen in any given moment and bringing it about. For example, you’re listening to criticisms of a spouse or loved one and begin to get defensive. You may decide that your purpose is to let go of your defensiveness and listen to understand. You’re in a boring staff meeting. You decide your purpose is to bring some fun and energy to the meeting. And so on. You can create your experience. You don’t have to leave it up to circumstances and others.

There are many more. Perhaps you can come up with some of your own. My challenge to you is to identify a few practices that you can do, routinely, that will empower you to live consciously in the present moment.


About Roger K. Allen
Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation and family development. His tools and methods have helped tens of thousands of people live happier and more effective lives. To learn more, visit www.rogerkallen.com>.

One response to “Strategies to be Present”

  1. Pam Infanger says:

    Thanks for all your wisdom! Are you coming to BYU Conference this summer?

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