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  • Writer's pictureHadley Tarantino, M.A.

Step-By-Step Guide to Being More Present

1. Observe the sensations of your body and mind through your five senses.

-Observe with your eyes: Notice the colors, shapes, and textures of the things in your immediate surroundings. Find something beautiful and spend time contemplating it.

-Observe sounds: Stop for a minute and notice the sounds around you. Perhaps the ticking of the clock, the wind blowing through the trees, or a car driving past. -Observe smells. Breathe in and be present with any smells you notice. This can be done while eating or cooking a dish.

- Observe the taste and act of eating: Take one bite at a time. Be mindful of your mouth chewing, the taste of the food, the temperature and flavors of the food. Put distractions, like the phone and tv, away during mealtimes.

2. Pay attention on purpose, to the present moment.

Multitasking is actually ineffective and slows us down. Doing one thing at a time is more effective and allows us to be mindful of the present moment. For example, washing a dish to wash a dish is different than washing a dish to clean a dish.

3. Be mindful of the thoughts in your mind.

When a thought arises, say to yourself "I notice I'm having the thought of _____." This can provide distance between you and thought while nonjudgmentally not getting wrapped up in the emotion of the thought.

4. Describe your thoughts when you feel a strong emotion.

For example, say to yourself, "I feel _____, and my thoughts are ____."

5. Participate in an activity fully and mindfully.

Focus your attention on the actions you are taking. Throw yourself in the activity completely. For example, draw and only focus on the act of drawing. Avoid judging the drawing or getting lost in thoughts about other things unrelated to the act of drawing.

6. Practice non judgmentalness.

Describe only the facts of a situation without any interpretations or judgments about the situation. Describe your feelings in response to those facts.

7. Practice half-smiling and willing hands.

Sit in a relaxed position and turn your hands (palms up) to the sky. This conveys an attitude of openness and willingness. Slightly turn the corners of your lips into a smile position. If someone were to look at you, they may not notice you are smiling (think the Mona Lisa!). The facial feedback theory posits that the half-smile will send messages to your brain about your mood. The half-smile and willing hands position can help to stay present in the here-and-now.

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