The present moment; that time in space where the magic happens. Life stops and everything seems perfect just as it is. All of it makes sense, if only for a moment. We’ve all felt this fleeting feeling, but how can we be here more often?
I want to help you find freedom from the inner chatter of your brain and reach a new level of consciousness in the present moment. I’ve got 8 quick tips for you that will help you ‘be here now’ more often.
…Which is a BIG deal. These 8 tips can help turn your worry-filled moments at a stoplight into zen filled moments. I think we all need more of that!
1) 5-4-3-2-1 Technique
This one is my favorite go-to for when you are having an internal freak-out!! Let’s put those anxiety attacks to rest! By recognizing your senses, you can gain control of your thoughts. Catch your breath and ground yourself in reality by way of your five senses!
- Acknowledge 5 things you can SEE around you
- Acknowledge 4 items you can TOUCH around you.
- Acknowledge 3 things you can HEAR
- Acknowledge 2 things you can SMELL
- Acknowledge 1 thing you can TASTE
2) Yin Yoga
Turn it down a notch with this slow-paced form of yoga. Switch out one of your faster-paced yoga classes for a Yin class!
By incorporating this style of yoga into your routine, you will begin to find the beauty in your pause. Trust me, all the feels come to the surface when your body melts into pigeon pose for two minutes! When you move so quickly in all other areas of your life, yin allows you to just be still. Bonus, you’ll eventually start to notice this slowness creep into other areas of your life.
3) Walking Meditation
Are you so busy some days that you don’t even have a chance to sit down? This one is for you! It also means that means you have lots of opportunities to practice it too!
Thich Nhat Hanh suggests not focusing so much on where you are walking, but rather how you are walking. Walk with reverence. Try matching your inhales and exhales with your steps. Focus intently on how the ground feels under your feet and how your feet feel coming in contact with the ground. Imagine each of your steps as a nod to our Mother Earth.
4) Power of the Pause
There’s power in the pause. Heated moments of anger, frustration, jealousy, and fear are some of the hardest times to live in the present moment. Acting on your first thought isn’t the best option and can leave you in a pit of resentment or regret. But, when you buy yourself this space, you create options.
Next time you have a flash of one of those powerful emotions try pausing before you react. Perhaps in the quiet moment of a pause, a new option for a reaction (or lack of reaction) will enter your mind? It’s certainly easier said than done, but practice truly does make perfect. Try turning the pause into one of your habits and see what happens!
5) Mindfulness Apps
Being in the present takes practice, especially in our fast-paced lifestyles. Mindfulness apps are perfect for building reminders into your fast-paced day.
I could easily write a full blog post about the magic of modern mindfulness apps! I’ve tried many and am happy to share some of my findings. Though many of these do have paid options or upgrade they’re all absolutely free to start out with!
My top 4 mindfulness app finds:
- Lotus Bud: This simple app will offer gongs or buzzes at random times as reminders to focus on the present moment.
- Calm: This app is more robust and has lots of great paid offerings. My favorite thing about it is the free “breathe” function it has on it that has a timer for inhaling, holding the breath, and exhaling.
- Tibetan Bowls Meditation: The app is great for the more seasoned mindfulness practitioner. It offers a variety of singing bowl sounds that are great for on the spot self-guided meditations.
- Headspace: This app is great if you’re new to meditation. It has short and helpful videos before each mediation that walk you through all the mindfulness know-how you’ll need to know and has a great 10-day free trial.
Past traumas and losses can play a huge role in your ability to be present and can seem difficult to overcome. Practicing tapping can help you get out of “lizard brain” mode (the fear, fight or flight, part of your brain) and into the prefrontal cortex (the conscious decision-maker part of the brain).
I know this one might seem a bit odd, but I can tell you firsthand, it works! This is one of my favorite methods for calming down when I’m consumed by panic or anxiety.
My preferred method is to cross my arms and lightly tap opposite shoulders. This might not always be a good option, like if you’re in a busy meeting. If tapping your shoulders won’t work you can try lightly tapping back and forth on opposite thighs.
If you have a specific traumatic event you’re trying to work through try out the following steps for a simple tapping exercise:
- Begin by tapping your left hand on your left thigh and then your right hand on your right thigh or by tapping opposite shoulders with your arms crossed.
- Lightly tap left to right, left to right.
- See the event. Acknowledge what you see, smell, hear, taste…as you relive that event.
- Continue tapping left to right left to right.
- Now replace the trauma with your “happy place” or a “circle of love.”
- Use your five senses as you dive into your happy place.
- Continue tapping left to right until you feel free from the bad memory and grounded in the present.
Pair this technique along with some breathing for a presence powerhouse!
7) Conscious Observation
This is a great tool for redirecting overactive mental energy. I can’t tell you how many ceiling tiles I’ve counted in waiting rooms! Sometimes when we feel nervous about a situation we project all of the possible future outcomes, the good, the bad, and the ugly! Try taking your mind off of the unknown by observing something in your surroundings.
- Find an object near you, it can be anything.
- Observe the item, take in every inch of it.
- Mentally note the color, size, and texture of every aspect of it (i.e. the pillow is brown, it looks soft to the touch, it has light vertical lines in it etc.).
- Repeat with as many objects as you’d like.
8) Count Your Breaths
When you are overwhelmed, you sometimes forget to breathe! Instead of holding your breaths, count them! Depriving your body of oxygen can actually create anxiety. Take deep breaths to bring yourself back to the moment.
- Inhale for 5 counts through your nose
- Hold for 3 counts
- Exhale for 5 counts through your mouth
I like counting on my fingers by touching the top of my thumb to the top of each finger for each count. Add in your favorite calming essential oil for added benefits!
I hope you’re able to snag a few of these for your tool chest. Now you’ve got a mindfulness tip for every day of the week, and an extra for good measure! There are more tips for staying the moment than there is room on this blog, if you have a favorite I’d love to hear about it, send me a message on Instagram.
Cassie Uhl is a published author, artist, intuitive, and founder of Zenned Out. She created Zenned Out in 2012 with the mission to build a brand that normalizes spirituality. In 2018 she self-published her popular and interactive Goddess Discovery Book series. In 2020 her writing and art became more mainstream with Understanding Auras, Understanding Crystals, and Understanding Chakras, published by The Quarto Group. Her writing style and art combine to help marry accessibility with deep spiritual topics. It is her goal to help others understand and live spiritual practices that can change the world. Inspired by her open-minded grandmother, Cassie has been meditating and working with her energy since her teenage years. She received her 200hr YTT in 2012 with a focus on breathwork. Now, her work focuses on energy work, journeying, mediumship, death midwifery, and healing through traditional Celtic shamanic practices.