It's easy to spend a lot of time in the past, thinking about what was or what could have been. It's just as easy to project into the future, worrying about what might happen.
Unsurprisingly, this creates a lot of stress, anxiety, and tension and means we're often not connected to all the amazing things that occur around us at any moment.
But I believe the whole point of our lives is to be here, in this present moment. To be open and receptive to what life has in store for us, whatever it may be. And while this is much easier said than done, there are ways to achieve it. By regularly connecting within and using some simple tools, we can all begin to live our precious lives with total presence and engage with every moment of every day.
Since there's no better time than the holiday season (which also happens to be the present) to prioritize what's happening right now, try these tools to focus on the things in front of you:
1. Use all of your senses.
If your thoughts are causing you to stress out, take a moment to pause and focus on what's around you right now. What colors do you see? What can you smell? Touch something close by. Get back to what's right in front of you and pay attention to those things.
It's coming back to the moment and not allowing your thoughts to carry you away that will provide you with much more energy and allow you to be at your absolute best on a daily basis.
2. Remember to breathe.
Deep, diaphragmatic breathing is one of the most effective ways to stop stress and anxiety in its tracks and bring you back to the present. Take some breaths deep into your belly and exhale, repeating at least 15 times. With each breath you take, remind yourself to be right here now. That this moment is the only one that matters, and that you're exactly where you need to be.
(For some guided breathing, check out these seven breath exercises that can help reduce stress.)
3. Take off your shoes.
Whether you're in the backyard, at your desk, or in the comfort of your home, take your shoes off when you can. Studies show that connecting with the earth's energy can have major stress-reducing benefits. Plus, it's an excellent way to get out of your head and focus on grounding down.
If you need convincing, just think back to the last time you walked around barefoot. Remember the feeling of fresh grass between your toes, or warm sand under your feet? Even a plush carpet cushioning your step is a lovely, calming thing.
So if you find the holiday season stressful or you need some more presence in your life, try these incredibly simple tools and practices. Remember that none of us can predict what the future holds. Our job is to enjoy the ride and be grateful for everything we have right now. Stay connected to each and every moment, and watch how things begin to shift in your life.
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