You may have heard the term “present” and wondered what it really means. Of course, you are present if you are in the room, right? Not always. Often we can be present in our body but a million miles away in our head. This is likely more common than not…especially nowadays when so many distractions are everywhere. Many times, we are in a space, but our minds are on what we will have for dinner or how we will find time to shop and prepare our meal with all the other responsibilities we have. Or maybe we have an ill friend, and our mind is on them. Or you notice another hangnail…again. Whether the subject is superficial or heavy, our minds are often a long way away from where our body stands.
Being present means being fully conscious of the moment and free from the noise of internal dialogue. That internal dialogue is our thinking about all the other things that are going on in our lives…instead of what is happening in the moment. We miss out on so much when we are constantly thinking of something other than what we are experiencing. This is hard on us and hard on those around us. Our relationships can suffer…or at least be less satisfying when we are not present. We lose so much when our minds are on the next thing.
I’ve read that being present is meditation in motion. When we focus on the present moment, we expand our experience. When we are in the moment, we absorb what is happening, we have better recall, and we feel more in touch. We can ‘learn’ to be more present. It may take practice, especially if we are used to multi-tasking everything in our lives. Research shows us that our brains can only really focus on one thing at a time. We can have semi-focus on several things at one time but rarely are we able to give our all to more than one thing. Like meditation, we may need to continually bring ourselves back to the present when we notice our mind wandering away…just bring it back. Be gentle and kind and know that we can create an updated habit of being more present…with practice.
Here are six tips to help you be more present in your daily life:
Focus on your breathing.
Try meditation practices.
Limit the time you spend on social media.
Stay connected with your body.
Keep a gratitude journal.
Understand that you don't have all the answers.
Opportunities for practicing being present are woven throughout our day. While sitting at a stop light, we can focus on the sounds around us. When using the restroom, we can spend an extra minute gently washing our hands…slowly and carefully, feeling all the surfaces. When we end our workday, we can take a few minutes to take a couple deep breaths before walking to our car. Notice something new everyday while driving home. Stay off the phone while driving. Turn the radio off and feel your hands on the steering wheel. All of these help us to be more present in the moment. Give this a try for a couple of weeks. See what shifts for you. You may notice a calmer self, a happier self, more contentment. Others may notice, too.
Being present in the moment is mental fitness. Becoming more present is truly a gift. To yourself and to those around you.
15 Steps to Better Digestive Health
Digestive health can be easily changed with simple lifestyle adjustments.
Do you have constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea or heartburn?
If you answered yes to any of the above mentioned troubles there are simple ways to start changing how you are feeling.
More fruit and vegetables, less meat.
More whole foods, less processed foods.
Drink freshly squeezed lemons in spring or filtered water. This is alkalizing and helps to clean the stomach of any residual debris.
Do not ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Listen to your body. Delaying having a bowel movement can lead to constipation and other issues.
Eat more fiber (#1 - the best advice for all of us)
Skip the NSAID’s/non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. Regular use of these drugs can cause peptic ulcers in the digestive tract and wipe out good gut bacteria.
Be careful of use and overuse of other drugs that create digestive problems. Antibiotics can strip your gut of good bacteria and you can end up with more problems. Consider taking a quality probiotic.
Use herbs for digestion. Incorporate fermented foods into your diet.
Drink your liquids before and after meals, not during.
Take your time and really chew-chew-chew. Your body can use energy for other things if you chew your food instead of relying on acid and enzymes.
Eat slower so you do not swallow a lot of air while you eat. Don't talk while chewing.
Do all of the above and skip the laxatives, as your body becomes reliant on them and they are habit forming.
Smoking and drinking can cause ulcers and heartburn.
Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a specialist (gastroenterologist or dietician). You may want to get a referral from a friend or relative. Remember that they are there to diagnose and treat, prevention lies in your hands. Consider a health coach for support.
It's been shown that people who are positive thinkers are less likely to get sick, have cancer, dementia, depression and other illnesses. There's also evidence that optimism reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.