The importance of being present in your day to day life
Before you continue reading this article, ask yourself these questions:
What are you thinking about right now?
Are you worried about the future?
Are you distracted by your to-do list?
Also, what are you doing right now?
Are you eating lunch at your desk and checking your social media?
Studies (e.g. Psychology Today) found that multitasking may reduce productivity by 40%. This is because we may make more mistakes and even take longer to complete tasks when we try to do too many things at once.
We don’t need to accept being constantly busy because we believe it’s part of modern life. Switching from one thought to the next or one action to the next in the hope of doing more may trick us into making us feel more accomplished. However, we may also feel tired, fatigued, irritable or exhausted.
Consider this: if you are concentrating on reading this article and nothing else, then you are being present. How does that feel?
Being present means to be fully engaged in this precise moment in time without any distractions. It means that you are allowing your brain to function as it’s supposed to, instead of bombarding it with too much information. To achieve this, we need to make some simple changes. This shouldn’t take too much effort, but for best results it’s better to practise being present regularly.
Sometimes you only need to reconnect with the simple pleasures in life to be in the present: appreciating the warmth and aroma of a nice cup of tea, breathing in some fresh air during a walk, listening to loved ones paying attention to their words. Have you ever noticed that children are very good at living in the moment? Maybe it’s because, to them, the concept of time is so abstract they don’t relate to it. The key word here is connection: children are fully absorbed during their play-time and they feel connected to what they are doing, regardless of how long it takes. In fact, children don’t take any notice of time when they play and hours fly by.
Many adults complain of feeling always tired, and their constant mental chatter stops them from enjoying life to the full. They also complain there’s never enough time in the day. Parents can learn so much from their children: there is always time to have a pause in the day to take a few deep breaths, and have a moment to themselves.
It may sound surprising to you that taking a short break to do something as simple as some breathing exercises can add valuable time to your day.
When was the last time you were completely absorbed in an activity that hours flew by? Studies found that these activities tend to make people happier:
- Learning a new skill
- Playing a musical instrument
- Planning a holiday
This state is called “being in the flow” and it describes the feeling you get when you completely forget about yourself and your surroundings, enjoying what you are doing, just like when children play for hours. When was the last time you felt that way?
There is a difference between resting and this state of flow or being present: with resting, we are not making any effort and there’s no skill required. To achieve the state of being present, we need to use our senses and our undivided attention, which require some work. This is what makes this process rewarding. The solution is to engage all our senses, our mind and body in balance, to experience the present moment.
Enter Sophrology: this dynamic relaxation technique has the potential to make you feel calmer and more connected to the present moment.
Try this simple experiment: close your eyes, breathe in expanding your belly, hold the breath for four seconds, then breathe out slowly from your belly. Open your eyes and notice any changes.
Did you think about anything else while you were doing the exercise?
How do you feel now?
Something as easy as paying attention to your breathing can change the way you feel.
Being more present also implies that we are going to be in touch with what can feel uncomfortable in ourselves or in our lives. That moment when we feel sad, anxious, angry, tensed, vulnerable or in pain. Allowing ourselves to go there is the first step towards transformation and a key element in the journey. Learning not to compensate or numb it with food, drinks, or simply denying it, just acknowledging it, only if it is for a very short moment.
This is one of the many gifts of Sophrology.
Its simple body and mind practices encourage us to connect to how we truly feel and give us the tools to move across and let go of what is difficult and concentrate on what feels good, positive and nurturing. Sophrology can help achieve an alert mind in a relaxed body through a series of exercises using breathing, visualisation and gentle movement.
You only need to carve out 10 minutes from your busy schedule to do the exercises and come out feeling refreshed and ready to face the rest of the day’s commitments.
Sophrology also teaches you to see the world from a fresh perspective, as if you experienced it for the first time. It goes even further than that: as a self-development technique, it allows you to get to know yourself better, explore your true potential, develop a positive attitude and connect with your authentic self. Isn’t it time to start being present in your day to day life?
If you are interested in trying Sophrology, please contact us at [email protected] to organise a session.