How To Be Present
Nov. 15 2017, Published 2:30 a.m. ET
Where are you? No, really, where are you at this exact moment in time? Are you between work meetings? Are you hiding in the bathroom to take a mini-break from the afternoon chaos of a deadline? Maybe you’re between classes or avoiding that dreadful “corp fin” paper you have to write for B-School? It’s even possible that you’re on the subway or a bus waiting for your next stop. Because in today’s day and age, we are always doing something.
We live in an extremely fast-paced world, which too often takes a toll on our personal well-being. We are so pressed for time, and pressed to “achieve” and “do,” that sometimes we neglect or delay one of our biggest responsibilities – the responsibility to look after ourselves. Why is it that we often become cognizant of this neglect only after it has manifested itself in depression, stress, anxiety, and other physical illnesses?
These kinds of manifestations at the external level can be indications of something worrying brewing within. This is why regularly tuning in to your own inner wisdom and intuition is of paramount importance. Putting life on pause in order to reconnect with yourself can be instrumental in preventing undue stress and, in general, help us cope with life’s day-to-day frenzy. So, how can we choose to be present?
Take A Minute
And not just any minute. Take a minute to unwind, relax, and heal. But, even more, take a minute to commit to integrating a “mindful” practice into your daily routine. It could be yoga, meditation, gratitude journaling, a long walk, or any other practice that resonates with you. Irrespective of what you do, pledge time in your day to just be. Make this time as important as breathing, eating, and sleeping.
Recognize that making time to “just be” is your responsibility to yourself. In honoring that responsibility, turn off your phone, step away from people, shut off your laptop, and pause. Even fifteen minutes of regular practice can have the potential to help you make serious shifts in your life. But do your best to make this time a moment of serenity, where you are undisturbed by external stimuli.
There is no “right” way to be with the self. Many of us are worried that we’ll “get it wrong” when attending a yoga class or class on meditation techniques. We let this self-judgment and fear of failure prevent us from trying something new. But, the reality is that it can be ridiculously tough to just sit down and “be.” The mind wanders, and thoughts pop in and out of our heads. But, we must accept and recognize that this doesn’t mean we’re failing. Rather, it helps us become more aware of our own humanity, and reminds us to be gentle with ourselves as we try new things on our search for growth and peace.