How to Ground Yourself in the Present Moment


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How often do you find your mind wandering on a daily basis?

Whether we’re busy worrying about a potential future event or fixating on a past mistake, mental time travel disconnects us from the present moment and takes us out of our bodies. With social media and technology competing for our attention now more than ever, it’s far too easy for us to ignore the people, places, and opportunities before us and lose ourselves in mindless behavior.

The consequences?

When we’re not able to fully engage in and experience the present, we can suffer from stress, anxiety, and fear that prevent us from leading a vibrant life. Fortunately, bringing yourself back into the present moment may be easier than you think.

 

1.     Center in the breath.

Focusing on the breath can be a powerful tool for bringing us back into our bodies and enabling us to physically slow down and relax. Deepening our inhales and exhales and training the parasympathetic nervous system has tremendous benefits for both the mind and body, including the relationship between the two.

And when we nurture a healthy mind-body connection, we’re also cultivating resilience, empathy, and awareness that supports our ability to experience the present and connect with the people around us.

  

2.     Notice present moment sensation.

In yoga, interoceptive cuing draws attention and awareness to the physical sensations experienced during practice, as well as sights and sounds. When we’re aware of the physical sensations we’re experiencing in the moment, we’re often able to focus our mental processes on the present moment as well.

In fact, research shows us that concentrating on sensation can restore neural pathways to the frontal lobe, an area of the brain responsible for emotional regulation and executive functions such as the power of choice. When we’re able to effectively process our emotions – and when we feel empowered to make choices that support our well-being – we are more likely to embrace the present and show up in the world in a much more meaningful way.

  

3.     Identify a cause for gratitude.

The benefits of gratitude have been discussed at length, ranging from higher levels of patience to enhanced self-control and resilience during periods of stress. But practicing gratitude can be difficult when your mind is traveling at a mile a minute, busied by the constant barrage of technology and never-ending to-do lists.

The solution? Simply identifying one reason for feeling grateful can recenter your attention and halt your mental time travel. When we shift our focus from the endless spiral of “should have’s” and “what if’s” to what we’re undeniably experiencing now, the noise is replaced with peaceful silence and the obscurity replaced with newfound clarity.  

Because when we’re mentally focused, emotionally stable, and physically aware of our bodies and the world around us, we can ground ourselves in the present moment – fully immersing ourselves in the infinite possibilities and opportunities it has to offer.


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Laura Hanson