Written by Amelia Gee
Amelia Gee is a student at the University of Wyoming where she studies English and Education. She is committed to incorporating mindfulness and wholeness into the fast-paced workplace and educational systems. She is very interested in combining emotional growth with typical education, and is very passionate about writing. She aims to one day share her passions with future students and anyone she can meet along the way.
We often hear the phrase “be present,” but what does that mean, and how do you implement this into your daily life? Frequently, this phrase is directed at being aware and connected to your surroundings; to the people and things happening around you. Although this is an important practice, we must first become aware of ourselves.
To be present with the world around us, we must first become present with our minds, bodies, and souls.
Becoming present with ourselves is an integral part of relationships and can play a prominent role in individual health and happiness. Learning to communicate with our bodies opens the door to healthier and more mindful habits. Adding this practice to your daily routine leads to body-based healing. Being present with your body means you are listening to the best source of information, which leads to the best path of action. Frequently, our bodies are telling us things that our minds can’t. Beginning to feel these impulses, understand what they mean, and take action towards what your body is telling you is what being present with yourself means. This is very daunting and can seem like a very difficult task. By adding a few simple habits that reframe how you exist with yourself, it becomes easy to be present with your body and what it may be telling you.
Mindful tasks to help become present with your mind, body, and soul:
The first, and most important thing when becoming present with yourself is to practice the rule of no judgment. By judging feelings and thoughts, we immediately invalidate what our body and mind are experiencing (and trying to tell us).
Keeping this in mind, an easy way to begin to become present with your body is to focus on the breath. Focusing on breath is a long-time practice of meditation. While breathing, focus on how your body feels: how are you breathing (is it shallow or deep, are you breathing through your mouth or your nose)? While focusing on this, begin to feel and focus on parts of your body; is anything calling out to you? Are there butterflies in your stomach, or an ache in your leg that you hadn’t noticed before? What sensations are happening in my body at this moment? Pay attention to whatever comes up, to whatever draws your attention; this is the most important part of becoming present with your body and can be achieved in many different ways.
Another way to be present with yourself is to create. Create something, anything, but be completely focused and attentive to what is being created (and again try not to attach any judgment to this process or the result).
A popular grounding exercise targeted at using your senses can also be a great place to balance and ground you into your body to prepare you to be present with your thoughts and sensations. This can be done anywhere you want: first, find five things that you can see, then four things that you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell, and one that you can taste. This puts you in a space where you are grounded to the world around you and can truly attune to what your body is trying to say.
The next step in being present in your body is being able to always be in this space during everyday interactions and mundane activities. This may seem difficult, but once you have discovered ways to listen to your body, it slowly becomes a habit and requires just a simple check-in to see what your body, and spirit, are trying to tell you.
Being present with your body, and its needs is an important part of any health journey. Mastering this can take a long time, but even just beginning to listen to your body is a big step. Health does not look the same for everybody or every body, so being present and mindful in our interactions with our own bodies can help us lead a healthier and fuller lifestyle.