Being present

Being present

What does it mean to be present?

There’s much more to it than the old response you’d call out during class attendance in grade school. Being present is much more than occupying a physical space: more than anything it’s a state of mind and a level of awareness.

Time is a funny thing. Some days we’re complaining that the minutes are dragging by excruciatingly slowly, while other moments seem to pass us by too quickly. Essentially, being present means not dwelling on the past too much or worrying about the future, instead living in the moment one breath at a time.

This is easier said than done, but the following tips will help you become more present in your everyday life. It’s a work in progress for all of us, but putting in an effort to be present can significantly impact your mental well-being, decreasing stress levels and increasing feelings of happiness and contentment.

1. Get a job that you like. You don’t even have to love it – but even feeling mildly satisfied with the work you do every day will help ensure that you pay less attention to the clock and more attention to the positive interactions you’re experiencing, the relationships you’re building and the skills and strengths you’re developing.

2. Forget about past pain. If something from the past is hurting you or consuming you, let it go. That was then, this is now.

3. Don’t dwell on what’s to come. We have no way of knowing what lies ahead. Make peace with that. Don’t let worries about the future affect you. In the words of Paul McCartney, “let it be.”

4. Do something creative. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it or not. The creative process allows a person to get lost in the moment, losing track of time in a wonderful way.

5. Try something new. Similar to what was listed above, it doesn’t matter if you’re skilled at this particular activity. The important thing is that you’re experiencing something new for the first time, opening your eyes to the world around you with a fresh perspective.

6. Focus on the positive. Even when it’s difficult to do so. Highlighting the good aspects of any situation will make you thankful for it.

7. Take pauses. Sit still. Look around. Breathe in and out. You can’t stop the clock but you can slow it down this way, which will help you live in the moment.

“Remember then: there is only one time that is important – Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.” – Leo Tolstoy

This month at RIO, we’re celebrating the power of presence. Every day we’ll share our own thoughts on presence and an idea for something you can do every day to be more present in your life. We hope you will join us! Snap a photo of yourself being present during the month of December and tag #riopowerofpresence for a free class pass.