In my private practice, I do a lot of skill building with my clients and I find myself reminding them that the skills are simple concepts, but can be difficult to put into practice. These are skills that everyone, including myself, need to learn and actively use. The skill I most frequently teach my clients is how to be present in the moment. You can call it being grounded, being mindful, looking outward. Seems simple, right? Think about the last time you drove home from work or your child’s school. Can you specifically remember the ride or did you just find you were back at home? Were you busy, being in your head, thinking about what happened during the day or what you were going to make for dinner? This is NOT being present.  Being present works by focusing outward on the world. The work is in the ability to center your mind and your focus on what is happening in the moment. Using all 5 of your senses to keep yourself focused on the here and now and out of your head thinking about the past and the future, things we are not able to control.  Being grounded allows you to identify if you are becoming stressed, or anxious and to catch when life is out of balance. People will often say they feel overwhelmed or anxious and that these feelings “came out of nowhere”. One of he benefits of being present is the ability to catch these feelings, identify the self-talk which might fuel these feelings and make a change in your behavior.

Being present, centering, looking outward is a “simple” concept that requires active work on a daily basis. I usually encourage my clients to check in with themselves every hour. Ask yourself, “Where has my mind been? What do I taste, touch, smell, see, hear? Where should my focus be right now?” Like any new skill, the more you practice, the more quickly the skill becomes habit.  A simple, but challenging grounding exercise based on the 100 breaths technique.  You take 100 breaths, you count them and you try to not think about anything else but the breath. 

Probably one of the biggest challenges of being a psychologist is learning to practice what I teach. Being present is skill that requires my constant attention. Even when life is going well, I actively remind myself to be in the moment and enjoy.  Today, I had my Dailey Method socks as a reminder (thedaileymethod.com)

 


Comments

04/28/2016 12:36am

Thank you for sharing that skill. While reading through the article, I think to myself "Am I being present as of this moment?" Funny but I find myself checking if my 5 senses are still working coherently and it does. Although, I admit that I've been carried away by the happiness of this life and sometimes forget how it does to be really present. Thank you for reminding me to enjoy this current moment and not to indulge myself to the past neither to the future because those things are the things that out of my control.

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02/13/2017 6:41am

I agree with your thought that being present is a skill to learn. Nowadays, a lot of people may be physically present, but they are not emotionally present. I think that this is a problem that needs to be addressed because it can be a cause of misunderstanding and fights. I am glad that you shared some tips in order to develop the skill of being present. I must admit that I am even guilty myself of not being always there emotionally.

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07/30/2017 9:15pm

It is necessary that we have to be always live at the moment. We should enjoy every moment we have on this earth. We should be loving, caring and understanding with the people around us. We should not waste any time because every second counts. We should not think of what's going to happen in the future because we may not know when will our time runs out. I believe that if we live in present all the time, we can maximize everything and the dark shadow of our past will not come back again.

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08/17/2016 10:30pm

Yeah, practicing is a very important...no, it's probably the main thing in your profession! You should really practice more and more!

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11/07/2016 4:14am

It's an interesting concept. I think I should try it after this informative article.

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