Coming Home to Being Present
In the midst of a chaotic day or week, we can shift ourselves to calm and balanced in a short time by practising being present to what’s so right now. It’s this shift that has us back to being our best selves; balanced, calm, creative, compassionate, loving and empathetic. In other words, being who we want to be.
One of my favourite ways to practice being present is when I walk. Focusing on my breathing or on the placement of my feet, lifting my leg, placing my heel, lowering my foot, lifting my other leg, placing my foot and lowering my heel, focuses my mind, releasing all the mental chatter that distracts me. When done, my mind is focused, and I’m able to get work done effectively and be present with people.
Taking a few minutes to practice being attentive to what’s so with our body, exercises the mental muscle of focusing on what’s in front of us. The to-do list doesn’t seem quite so daunting when our minds are not fragmented.
Left unchecked, our minds are busy figuring things out, making decisions, analyzing, revisiting the past or anticipating a future. Lacking focus we lose our connection to the present moment where life is happening and spend time living in our heads.
All this mental chatter throughout the day impacts our ability to get things done with velocity, reduces our ability to listen and be truly present with people.
When the mental chatter is stealing your focus, get up and take a few minutes to walk. Bring all of your attention to the sensations you’re experiencing while you’re slowly taking steps.
By defragmenting our mind, we are able to genuinely bring presence and balance to whatever we’re doing and to all of our conversations.
From the Series – Simple steps to Being Well
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Living powerfully, enjoying great relationships, satisfying work and even having some fun is possible when we learn how to shift from lock down or overwhelmed to balanced and calm. We humans may not have been taught how this mechanism works yet we are wired to control this.
We all get locked into some form of stress reactivity, where we’re not able to be creative, effective, loving, empathetic or compassionate. Arguments ensue when we’re in fight mode, walking away or shutting down a conversation is how flight response often looks. When we freeze, we’re get stopped and ineffective. Exhaustion is inevitable when we’re chronically in stress mode leaving overwhelmed and believing there’s not enough time.
Without seeing that something else is possible we believe there’s no other way. The only possibilities we can see when we’re in stress mode are based on the fight flight freeze mechanism. From that vantage point, we’re seriously missing out on what’s possible.
Shifting out of this auto pilot reaction gives us a totally different vantage point. What’s available when we shift from stress to relax is pretty much anything. Listening without reacting, gives a completely different outcome, getting unstuck and taking action delivers results, staying present without taking off (physically or mentally) creates something new.
It’s entirely within our control to make this shift ourselves, anywhere, anytime!
- Notice when you’re in lock down, aversion mode, or frozen and see it for what it is: a stress response.
- Choose powerfully to take 1 action to shift.
- Take the action with full intention to shifting from the chaos to calm.
The one action we can always take is breathing with awareness: Noticing how we are breathing and extending our outbreaths will shift our nervous system from stress to relaxation. It’s how we’re built!
The next time you find yourself living out a stress reactivity by withdrawing, avoiding or dominating, take a moment to notice how you’re breathing and stay with it while you consciously extend your exhalations. Shifting will give you a new vantage point where anything is possible.