Do you feel like you sometimes operate on autopilot?
As if the days are just a blur and they all feel extremely repetitive?
You have no idea how days pass so quickly or weeks bleed into one another and you feel like something is missing.
You want to slow down. You want to enjoy life and feel it.
If this is you, then there is a good chance you’re looking to be more mindful about your life and live it with intention.
The first step to mindfulness is being mentally present.
And in this post, we are going to cover how you can live in the moment and be mentally present so that you relish every moment of life.
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What does it mean to be mentally present?
Being mentally present means focusing on the task at hand without getting distracted – either by other physical entities or your thoughts.
If at all you are physically present but your mind is elsewhere focused on other things and you are thinking non-stop of other things, it means that you are not mentally present.
It means disengaging with your mind and allowing yourself to become completely absorbed in the present moment.
It truly is a wonderful feeling because there are no running thoughts while you’re engaged with the current task/person and you’re enjoying the experience firsthand.
The present is really all you have.
Focusing on the past and the future really means that you are not living because you’re not here.
And before I move on to how we can become more mentally present, I want to discuss its importance.
What are the benefits of being mentally present?
1. Your productivity skyrockets
Because you’re giving the task at hand your entire concentration and living in the moment, you will be ultra-productive.
Contrary to popular belief, you will actually be able to finish your tasks faster if you focus on 1 thing alone before moving to the next task.
Multitasking actually slows us down and can prove to be very distracting.
2. You will find yourself more happy and peaceful overall
Because you’re not distracted and focusing on the present, you’re not living in the past or the future.
You’re living in the present – right here and right now.
This will lead to you being more at peace with yourself and the situation at hand which means – less stress.
3. It helps ease emotional pain
I’ve covered this topic of emotional pain before, but essentially, if you are going through a bad time, the best way to heal is to focus on the present.
It involves distracting yourself by focusing on the present moment and letting go of the past and not worrying about the future.
4. You will enhance your relationships
I honestly do not like it if I am talking to someone and they are on their phone all the time.
It makes me feel unwanted and I feel like they’re doing me a huge favor talking to me.
Nobody likes talking to a person who is distracted.
Your relationships will become so meaningful if you give the other person your sole focus when you’re spending quality time together.
5. Your life will have more meaning
Because you are choosing to live life intentionally and take each day as it comes, you will find life extremely rewarding.
I can honestly say that 2021 has been a very good year for me even though I went through multiple ordeals in my personal life. I chose to be committed to the moment be mentally present – and it has been a blessing in terms of happiness and peace.
Okay, now that we understand what it means to be mentally present and we know its importance, let’s move on to ways we can actually do that.
13 easy ways to be mentally present
1. Create lists
After you wake up, draft a list of all the tasks you need to do for that day and move through each one in a nice, organized fashion.
This will ensure that you’re not thinking of your to-dos when you’re in the middle of your task or worried about if you forget something.
Lists eliminate tension almost entirely because they help you remember everything you need to do for that day.
Find ways to simplify your life. When your life is simple, you will automatically think less and you will find it easy to live in the moment and be completely mentally present.
2. Do not multi-task
Give the task/person at hand your sole focus.
Inculcate a few mindful habits in your routine to make this easier. For instance:
- Eat mindfully at the table without your TV playing
- Keep your phone in the other room when you’re going to sleep
- Remove your social media notifications to reduce distractions
If you’re eating, pay attention to the flavors you taste. When you’re talking to someone, really focus on the conversation.
Don’t let your mind wander when someone is having a conversation with you or think of what to say next. It is important to be a good listener as well as being a good communicator.
3. Ditch your phone
Whether you’re on a date, hanging out with your friends, or working – ditch your phone.
Be mentally present and give the task/person your 100% attention. Enjoy the moment.
Try to limit your time on devices in general and live in the outside world. You will find your happiness increasing over time.
4. Allow yourself to feel
If you are feeling happy, sad, angry, etc. feel your feelings.
Don’t curb them or try to distract yourself with alcohol/television or gorging down food.
Listen to your body. Listen to your heart and mind.
It’s okay to not feel great at times.
We cannot be pumped up and excited all the time.
Some moments are good, and some – not so good.
Take your time to go through your feelings and let them out of your system in a healthy way. Journal, meditate, read, do a hobby that makes you feel relaxed and at ease.
5. Don’t be afraid to be alone with your thoughts
For a long time, I always needed music or some noise in the background.
I couldn’t be in a quiet space. At all.
And this prevented me from growing – from thinking out loud, from analyzing from being fully aware and present.
So, take a few quiet moments in the day – a few moments for yourself.
Take a walk, breathe, sit on the balcony for a few minutes meditating, doa. quiet, mindful activity that makes you feel refreshed and you’ll notice yourself getting lighter and peaceful.
Meditation isn’t about controlling your thoughts.
It’s about watching your thoughts and becoming extremely self-aware.
Start with 5 minutes of guided meditation every day (I personally love Headspace) and just listen to your thoughts.
Focus on building the habit. Don’t start with 30 min to 1 hour because you may be biting off more than you can chew.
Pay attention to your body, to the vibrations inside.
Notice what you feel, what parts of your body feel uncomfortable or stiff, and just leave it at that.
Make a note and watch yourself.
Meditating will help you become a much better person.
It will teach you to be patient and you’ll find yourself more calm than normal.
7. Put your health at the forefront
When you’re mentally present, you are attuned to your physical body.
For years, I never consumed the amount of water my body really needed because I never listened to it.
It was only when I became self-aware and started being mentally present did I start listening to what my body wanted.
Once you do this, you will start to notice your body asking you for things.
If you feel really lethargic, your body might be asking you for some sleep.
If you’re feeling restless, it may mean that your body wants some movement – this is the time to get up and exercise or go out for a walk.
If you’re feeling bloated, it may mean that you’ve consumed food that does not suit you. This will help you pick better meals for yourself.
8. Have a daily routine
Having a daily routine really helps set your mind at ease and ensures that you’re living to your full potential.
A daily routine saves a lot of time because you’re not actively wasting time thinking of what to do next.
A daily routine is one of the best ways to simplify your life. It takes care of most of the planning so that you can focus on living in the present more.
9. Trust the process
In order to be mindful and peaceful, you need to accept that there are some things you can control and some things that lie outside your control.
This means, that when you are doing something, or are in the middle of an activity, don’t worry about what-ifs and whens.
Do what you can do best and leave the rest to chance. Trust the process.
10. Love yourself
When you start loving yourself and are more kind to yourself, you will slowly stop having intrusive and worrisome thoughts. Mostly because you’ll stop engaging with drama.
Because you respect your mental space, you will genuinely move toward more peaceful people and activities.
It’s a neat cycle.
The more good habits you adopt, the more you will notice life falling into place and an overall feeling of serenity and contentment.
If you’re looking for more posts on self-love, here are a few that might help:
- The ultimate guide to loving yourself
- 43 self-love prompts to help you heal
- How to love yourself right after a breakup so you can heal faster
- 29 self-love quotes to help you heal
When you feel your mind going on overdrive or panicking (I have anxiety and this is a daily battle for me), breathe.
Take a few deep breaths and do it extremely slowly.
Breathing slowly signals your nervous system to calm down. Breathing more deeply also allows for more carbon dioxide to enter your blood, and this quiets down different parts of the brain, like the amygdala, which handles your anxiety response.
12. Be more present in your breaks
It is important to take a small break every 45 minutes while you work. Working continuously will again lead to you operating on autopilot.
Take 5-10 minutes and instead of looking at your phone or checking your social media, do something more mindful.
Close your eyes and take a few moments for yourself.
Stretch a bit or go for a walk. Ask yourself how you feel, think about what went well for you that day, or just take a moment to appreciate your life.
It will help boost your mood so that when you return to work, you will feel highly energized.
13. Practice gratitude
It’s completely normal as human beings to always focus on the one thing that is not right in our lives.
But this will lead to frustration and depression.
Spend 1-2 minutes a day thinking of all things going right with you right now. And every time you enjoy a wee moment, think about it with a smile.
I always feel great when I’m sipping my chai because it’s the one thing I honestly enjoy.
Be grateful for the small things and you’ll notice an overall improvement in your mood and life.
This is a habit that takes a while to inculcate because it requires a big change in the way you operate.
So make tiny improvements in your life and do it one by one.
When you stop ruminating over the past or worrying about the future, you will find yourself living in the present for the most part.
And life, in general, is so rewarding because you’ll be so focused and living life to the fullest.