How To Be Present Minded And Not Let the Air Steal Your Thoughts
Jun 8, 2023
“Wie Luft behandel.” Never heard that German phrase before? It perfectly describes the feeling of being looked at through the air or feeling invisible.
You’ve probably felt it when surrounded by strangers, watching them look at you but not really see you. Maybe you smile at someone, and their expression doesn’t change, as if you’re not there.
Maybe you’ve said hello and received silence in response. It can leave you feeling disliked or excluded when really it’s probably because the other person is just distracted. You’re unintentionally left feeling hurt because they didn’t acknowledge you.
It’s tough to be present when your mind is full of thoughts and distractions. You’re still processing the book you just finished or the movie you watched last night. Text messages and social media accounts remain on your mind as you fight the urge to pull out your phone and check it.
But focusing on people in the present moment is essential to fostering your relationship core.
Why Is It Important to Be Present Minded?
We’ve all been ignored or looked through, and we’ve all done it to others, too. The phone is just so distracting, and it takes our attention away from the people right in front of us.
Even parents’ relationships with their children are affected by the lack of being present. It’s explained in this article from Psychology Today; parents’ cell phone distraction has such huge effects on their children. One study found that 1 in 3 kids feel unimportant because we’re distracted by our phones during family time.
It’s not just affecting our kids. Phubbing (phone snubbing) affects our relationship core because it impacts our spouses, friends, and anyone else we have relationships with or are forming relationships with.
Making eye contact and ensuring the other person has your full attention is crucial in building strong connections and being present. Turning your body toward someone and looking them in the eye shows them that you’re paying attention and listening to what they’re saying. It subconsciously builds trust and helps with retaining information.
So put your phone on silent, put it away, and look at your friends and family. Feel the benefits of being present, giving full attention, and receiving full attention from others. Watch as your dynamic changes and your relationships become healthier and more robust.
You can listen to the entire podcast episode on Strong Relationships Learn From Their Past, Understand Love Languages, & Use Communication To Ensure Your Partner Feels Loved
The Benefits of Being Fully Present
Being fully present is a skill that can be learned and cultivated. We are more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings when we are present. We can better manage our emotions and respond effectively to what is happening at the moment. Being present can also help us connect more deeply with others at new levels and build meaningful relationships.
There are many benefits to being present, including:
Increased awareness of our thoughts and feelings
Improved emotional regulation
Greater connection with others
Enhanced creativity and problem-solving ability
Increased focus and concentration
Improved physical health.
Less stress and anxiety
More happiness and satisfaction with life.
The benefits of being present are vast, and the more we practice this skill, the more we can reap these rewards.
I recommend listening to this podcast - Mindful Communication to Improve Your Relationships and Life
The Challenges of Staying Present in a Digital Age
As we are in the digital age, we know how difficult it is to live in the moment, but that doesn't matter when you have a goal or a daily routine. Let's discuss some challenges you might face and how you can easily tackle those!
Challenge 1: The Endless Scroll
The allure of social media and endless scrolling can easily pull us away from the present moment. It's like falling into a rabbit hole of cat videos and memes. You won't be able to stay in the very moment.
Solution: The Scroll Breaker
Break free from the scrolling trap by setting designated screen time limits and using apps that track and manage your usage. Challenge yourself to take regular breaks from your phone and replace mindless scrolling with engaging activities that bring you joy.
Challenge 2: Notification Overload
Ding! Buzz! Ping! Our devices constantly demand our attention with notifications, making it challenging to focus on the here and now.
Solution: The Notification Ninja
Take control of your notifications by customizing them to prioritize essential messages and minimize distractions. Consider using notification-blocking features or apps during specific times of the day to create uninterrupted pockets of presence.
Remember, you're the boss of your notifications, not the other way around.
Challenge 3: Multitasking Madness
We often juggle multiple tasks simultaneously, thinking we're being efficient. However, multitasking can fragment our attention and hinder our ability to engage in the present moment fully.
Solution: The Focus Maestro
Practice single-tasking instead of multitasking. Set specific time blocks for focused work or dedicated quality time with loved ones. By giving your full attention to one task at a time, you'll find yourself immersed in the present and accomplishing more with greater efficiency.
Challenge 4: Mind Wandering Syndrome
Our minds tend to wander, jumping from past regrets to future worries, leaving the present moment behind. It's like taking an unplanned vacation without your consent.
Solution: The Mind Tamer
Cultivate mindfulness through practices like meditation, deep breathing, or visualization exercises. These techniques help anchor your mind to the present moment, reducing mind wandering and increasing your ability to savour each experience.
Challenge 5: The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) Trap
The fear of missing out on exciting events or social gatherings can make us feel restless and disconnected from the present. We always wonder what others are doing instead of fully enjoying our experiences.
Solution: The Joy Seeker
Shift your focus from external validation to internal fulfillment. Embrace the present moment by engaging in activities that bring genuine joy and align with your values. Remember, your presence is a gift to yourself, and you don't need to be everywhere at once to live a fulfilling life.
How to Be More Present: Strategies That Will Help
What if you have already lost your presence? Maybe you think all your senses can't stay present. Don't worry! No one can help you better than a life coach itself.
Let's figure it out together and improve your mental health.
Strategy 1: Mindful Minutes
Meditation is a powerful tool for cultivating present-moment awareness. Take a few minutes daily to sit quietly, focusing on your breath and observing your thoughts without judgment.
Start with a few minutes and gradually increase the duration as you build your mindfulness muscle. This helps you get better at practicing mindfulness in daily life!
So, How Do You Practice It?
Find a quiet and comfortable space, set a timer for your desired meditation length, and close your eyes. Take slow, deep breaths, focusing your attention on the sensation of each inhale and exhale.
When thoughts arise, acknowledge them without attachment and gently guide your attention back to your breath. Enjoy the stillness and embrace the present moment. Mindful breathing is a great strategy!
Strategy 2: Sensory Immersion
Immerse yourself in the present moment by engaging your senses fully. Sensory immersion brings you back to the here and now, whether it's savoring the flavors of a delicious meal, feeling the sun's warmth on your skin, or listening intently to the sounds of nature.
So, How Do You Practice It?
Choose an activity that appeals to your senses, such as cooking a new recipe, taking a mindful walk in nature, or enjoying a hot bath.
As you engage in the experience, pay attention to the details—the aromas, textures, and sensations. Fully absorb yourself in the present moment and let your senses guide you.
Strategy 3: Gratitude Attitude
Practicing gratitude helps shift your focus to the blessings and beauty that surround you in the present moment. It cultivates a positive mindset and deepens your appreciation for the here and now.
So, How Do You Practice It?
Start a gratitude journal and write down three things you're grateful for each day. It can be as simple as a delicious cup of coffee in the morning or a heartfelt conversation with a loved one.
By consciously acknowledging and expressing gratitude, you'll cultivate a greater sense of presence and contentment.
Strategy 4: Mindful Movement
Engage your body and mind through mindful movement practices like yoga, tai chi, or dance.
These activities help you synchronize your breath, focus your attention, and embrace the present moment through intentional physicality.
So, How Do You Practice It?
Choose a movement practice that resonates with you and commit to regular sessions. Pay attention to your body's sensations, your breath, and the rhythm of the movement.
Let go of any distractions or judgments and fully embody the present moment through graceful and intentional movement.
Strategy 5: Presence Partner
Find an accountability partner or join a community that shares your goal of being more present. Gamify the process by setting challenges, tracking progress, and celebrating milestones.
With a supportive network, you'll have the motivation and encouragement to stay committed to your present-mindfulness journey.
So, How Do You Practice It?
Reach out to a friend, family member, or colleague who shares your interest in being present. Set up regular check-ins, share insights, and hold each other accountable.
You can also explore online communities or join local groups focused on mindfulness and present mindfulness. Together, you'll gamify the process and create a positive and empowering environment for growth.
Remember, presence is a skill that can be cultivated with practice.
Embrace these strategies, gamify your journey, and watch as your ability to live in the present moment flourishes, bringing you greater joy, connection, and fulfillment.
How Can Meditation Help?
Meditation is a powerful practice that can greatly enhance your ability to be present. It involves training your mind to focus on the present moment, cultivating awareness and inner stillness. Let's explore how meditation can benefit you on your journey to presence.
Improved Mindfulness and Awareness - Through regular meditation practice, you develop a heightened sense of mindfulness and awareness.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety - Meditation has been shown to profoundly reduce stress and anxiety.
Enhanced Emotional Regulation - One of the remarkable benefits of meditation is its ability to enhance emotional regulation.
Cultivation of Compassion and Empathy - Meditation practices such as loving-kindness meditation can cultivate compassion and empathy towards yourself and others.
Increased Focus and Concentration - Meditation is like a workout for attention muscles. Regularly practicing focused attention meditation strengthens your ability to stay present and concentrate on the tasks at hand.
Steps to Practice Meditation
Meditation may seem daunting, but it's a simple and accessible practice that anyone can engage in. It would be more beneficial if you make meditation a part of your morning routine. Here are some steps to begin your meditation journey:
Find a quiet and comfortable space where you won't be easily disturbed.
Sit relaxed on a cushion, chair, or the floor, keeping your back straight and your body relaxed.
Close your eyes or soften your gaze, allowing your attention to turn inward.
Bring your focus to your breath, observing the sensation of each inhale and exhale. You can focus on the breath at the nostrils, the rise, and fall of the abdomen, or any other point of sensation.
As thoughts, emotions, or sensations arise, acknowledge them without judgment and gently redirect your attention to the breath.
Start with shorter sessions, such as 5-10 minutes, and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable.
Consistency is key. Aim to practice meditation daily, even if it's just for a few minutes.
Remember, meditation is a personal practice, and there is no right or wrong way to do it.
Explore techniques like guided meditations or mindfulness apps to find what resonates with you. Regular meditation can become a powerful tool to cultivate presence, inner peace, and overall well-being.
This week’s action tips:
Make meals a device-free zone; turn it into a game! Have everyone put their device in a certain place, and whoever reaches for their electronic first has to do the dishes.
Manage screen time for yourself and your kids. Make sure you spend time in the day away from your phone, so your children can approach you without seeing you distracted by your phone. Initiating quality time and being present with your kids can boost their self-esteem.
When hanging out with your friends, ensure they have your full attention. Make eye contact and let them know you’re present and listening. Don’t multitask during phone calls. Even if they can’t see you, they can tell if you’re listening fully or distracted by your laptop.