The ownership lies on us to ensure we get adequate stimulation, growth, rest, and rejuvenation. Here is where we can be our best friend or worst enemy. With the hustle and bustle of our daily routine, it’s not always that easy to be conscious and “in the moment” – termed Present State Awareness. Between your boss taking his stress out on you, worrying about it’s going to cost when you take your car to the mechanic next week, and that nagging thought that you should be doing something but can’t quite remember what it is, it’s no wonder we lose touch with being present and aware in every moment.
Based on my research, discussions, and personal experience regarding this matter, it seems that a great way to help stay present is to focus on your breathing. It re-centres you, calms your nerves, and allows you to clear your mind of clutter. Recently, I watched a seminar by a very interesting psychotherapist whose fundamental message was – you guessed it – breathing. When we get stressed in any way, we immediately fall into a rhythm of shallow breathing that elicits a slew of negative repercussions. If we can take periodic breathing breaks throughout the day, it can allow us to slow the break-neck pace of life and refocus for what lies ahead and, most importantly, place yourself in a position of present state awareness.
Try to take 3 deep breathes before you engage in any new experience/change of scenario (i.e. before leaving your house for work, prior to entering a meeting, before you sit down for lunch, before meeting a loved one etc.)
I work with clients on an hour-by-hour basis; it can be very challenging to switch from one session to the next without carrying forward my tension, emotions, and thoughts from the previous session. However, through the practice of deep breathing, I have been able to move from one client to the next without overloading myself and falling into a pattern of unconscious living (being a learning process, there are still many slip-ups, of course).
Moving beyond refocusing and re-centring through conscious deep breathing, it is important to be aware of those factors you come into contact with that drain you – mentally, emotionally, and/or physically. Only when you are living in the present can you address these factors, as it requires you to be aware of your body’s responses. How do you feel when you speak to the various members of your family? Do you get anxious, nervous, or excited before you step into work? Do you feel elevated or groggy after having a certain meal/drink (soup and salad vs Thanksgiving dinner)? When you are present and aware of what’s happening within your body in relation to what’s happen outside of it, you can truly start to discern between what “…activities, attitudes, foods, and persons support the cultivation of an unconscious life” (Patricia Lynn Reilly).
It is easy for us to say “I have no time for this” or “this requires to much energy”, but if we fail to engage in this practice, we are at risk of suffering in a major way; by falling deeper and deeper into a life of unconsciousness. There is no denying the negative effects of stress; and on the flipside, those who partake in this personal growth exercise will benefit not only by minimizing their contact with draining factors, but also by enabling themselves to enjoy every moment and live life to the fullest by not letting opportunities slip away.
I know I’ve shared these links in the past, but here’s a good chance for a quick refresher:
Have a wonderful holiday season filled with joy and thanksgiving…and of course, lots of veggies and workouts!! 😛