Being Present: What To Do When You Lose Your Way

You’ve likely heard about being present. The idea is simple: Don’t dwell upon the past. Stop worrying about the future. Don’t let your emotions control your behavior. It’s simple, right? Not always.

Being present: Photo of old hands holding a book.

The other day I was doing a load of laundry. Laundry is something I don’t usually mind. But something came unraveled. The result was little pieces of yarn everywhere. A five-minute job became a 45-miniute pain in the butt. I had to pick hundreds of static-filled pieces of yarn off all of the clothes. I became angry and lost my sense of presence.

Being Present Is A Long Road

Presence is something that can take a lifetime to learn. It’s an intentional way of controlling your thoughts. In fact, true presence is not thinking at all. It’s a difficult skill to master. We’re at peace one minute only to find ourselves screaming at threads of yarn the next. But there are ways to get back on the road to being present.

  1. Know that the problem is temporary: Any problem you face is temporary. Traffic will clear. Your cold will pass. The threads of yarn can be removed. Knowing that the problem is not permanent will remind you not to over react. 
  2. Practice deep breathing: When you feel frustration, anger, or stress building within you, STOP. Don’t dwell upon the problem. Instead take several deep and focused breaths. Breathe in peace. Breathe out the negative energy. Return to being present.    
  3. Walk away from the problem if you must: Sometimes it’s best to step away from the thing that is causing you to react. Go do something else. Take a walk. Make some tea. Take a break from your thoughts and emotions.  
  4. Let go of your thoughts and emotions: Clear your mind of your immediate circumstance. Once you have a clear head you can reflect peacefully on the problem. Then you can return to the problem in a peaceful state and simply do what needs to be done.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Too often, we try to do too much without the help of others. Sometimes, being present works better when we are present together. Ask your partner or a friend to hold you accountable when they see you wavering. Do the same for them.

When you are frustrated and feel you’re losing your presence, tell your partner. Ask them to help you work through the problem. Do the same for them.

Practice Meditation

Finally, practicing meditation can help. Meditation is the skill of being present. If you practice it regularly, you’re more likely to keep calm the next time threads unravel in the dryer.

I’ve written two free ebooks that can give you more insight into being present.

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