A couple of weeks ago, I talked a bit on how to be present during the holiday season, but I didn’t really talk about the benefits of being present. Being present means living in the moment, on purpose, and paying attention to what’s going on in your surroundings. Whether that means you’re looking out the window in the car of a road trip, or having a conversation with a friend, or just listening to the waves at the beach, you’re actively being in the moment. You’re being present. And with that, comes so many benefits.
It’s good for your mind and body.
Being present helps you feel happier, which in turn, leads you to feel less stressed. It’s easy to get caught up in the way things are “supposed to be”, but being present helps us to enjoy the moment we’re in and let go of those thoughts. It gives you the mental space to be grateful with what you have at the current moment. When you’re present, you also tend to calm down. You worry less about what’s going to happen, or what HAS happened, and you realize you only have control of that exact moment. Freeing, right? It also helps with your body. Think about it. By paying attention to your meal and enjoying each bite, rather than scarfing something in front of the T.V., you’re MORE likely to realize when you’re full and should stop eating. Food also tastes better, because you’re taking the time to enjoy each bite! Being present also helps with workouts. I know that sounds a little crazy, but the hardest part of a workout for me is dreading going to it later on in the evening. Most of the time, I don’t even leave my house because I’m dreading it that much. But! If I push myself through the moment, get to the gym, I’m always happy I went. Plus, once I’m actually working out, I really do enjoy it.
You’ll get better at socializing, and listening.
When you’re having a conversation, and are truly present, your only focus is on that person and the conversation. Instead of checking your phone, looking around the room, or being distracted by the background noises, you’re focused on the conversation… and in turn, you become a better listener naturally. It also helps you become a better communicator! Sometimes I fumble over words, and am awkward to talk to, but I’m never that way with my closest friends. It’s because I’m comfortable, enjoy being around them, and am in the moment, so conversation comes naturally. If you continue to practice being a better listener, and communicating solely in the moment, you’ll only get better and better at speaking with others. Even new people, where your social anxiety might kick in. And when you’re focused on the moment, you’re less likely to be wondering what the other person is thinking, judging them, or judging yourself. It helps you stop overthinking a social situation, and can help you enjoy it more.
You appreciate your surroundings more.
One of the best things (in my opinion) about actively being present is that you enjoy your surroundings more. You take time to notice the beautiful fall foliage, the snowflakes falling from the sky, the pretty flowers your neighbor just planted, or a beautiful summer sunset. As adults, we learn to live less and less in the world, and more in our thoughts about the world. That’s kind of sad! By focusing more on your surroundings, the world tends to feel more like a playground again, like you felt when you were a kid. If you ever search on how to “slow down time” (guilty of doing this several times), the advice is always the same. Stop. Take a minute. Enjoy your surroundings. Appreciate the moment you’re in. If you continue to work at this, it’ll come more and more naturally.
You can tackle bigger projects without feeling overwhelmed.
Thinking about a big accomplishment like… I want to write a book, or I want to lose 50 pounds, or I want to run a marathon, or I want to buy a house. If you think about projects big picture like this, it’s easy to feel terrified about where to start. You start going through every little to-do on your checklist and feel completely overwhelmed. But all projects consist of single actions, so all you can do is just be present, and make progress one minute, or day, or week at a time. When I lost 35 pounds years ago, my motto was “every day counts”. I never really focused too hard on the future, I just made sure I was doing what I needed to that day, to reach my goal. It’s so easy to downgrade a ‘start’ to something. Everyone who has accomplished anything has had a day one. By starting, being in the moment, focusing on the task at hand, repeating it over and over and over, you can accomplish BIG things!
After reading some tips on how to become present, and the benefits of being present, aren’t you inspired now to be present this holiday season? I know I am. It’s definitely something I’m working on. I’m excited to become a better listener, and communicator. I’m excited to devote my time and energy to small tasks that are eventually going to lead to a big accomplishment. I’m going to make sure I appreciate winter this year, and enjoy the moment I’m in, instead of dreading the cold and wishing it’d be spring sooner. And I’m hoping to destress more, reduce my anxiety, and continue to work on bettering my mind and body. Do you have any tips for being present, or reasons why being present has benefited you?
Thanks to Michelin for sponsoring this post. When it comes to those we care about, no distance is too far. Use #BeThereMoments on Instagram to connect with a community of likeminded people who are making the effort to show up when it matters most.