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Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
May 6, 2016
Sarah Margolin, LMFT
Couldn't we all benefit from being more present? It's a common topic of discussion.
How would increasing your presence make your life better? Why make an effort?
You'll have less anxiety, more peace, and more serenity. That's worth aiming for!
The only moment that we all have for sure is the current one!
It's a somewhat daunting thought, but it's reality.
I am continually working on being more present. It takes practice. I have to keep bringing myself back to the moment.
I remind myself, for instance, "All I have to do right now is listen," or, "Just be here. Tomorrow can take care of itself." It's important to have statements available to use when needed!
Also, since very few people are truly listening to others, you are giving the person talking a rare gift, when you are truly there. They can feel it.
As a therapist, one of the situations in which I do feel very present, is when I am listening to my clients. The person in front of me has my full attention.
If a stray thought tries to enter my mind, I block it. "Later," I think. "It can wait!" It's an acquired skill, staying present. It take discipline, such as what is needed to work out consistently.
However, it also becomes a habit, with practice, which means that it takes less focus and will, as you become accustomed to it!
Oftentimes later, after something is no longer an issue, I think, "Why did I waste time worrying, when I knew that I would have to solve that problem somehow?"
We always work it out. Or we don't. But then we go on, either way!
We adapt. We do the best we can at the time. Trust yourself, and know that you will always do the best you can. Don't worry in advance. Don't waste time on regret, either.
As the late, great, Maya Angelou used to say, "When you know better, you do better." Take comfort in that!
We can only grow and learn by being alive and making an effort!
Increased mastery of any skill happens through dedication to learning something new, going through the experience, and through more time spent on the planet! It has to be earned.
Here are 4 specific ways to help you become more present:
1-Listen, taste, smell, observe, and feel, deliberately...
Stop and savor the taste of your meals. Feel the relief of drinking cold water when you're really thirsty.
When you're running, just feel your heart beating, and relish the sound of the music swelling in your ears.
Give yourself the privilege of suspending worry, just for a few moments at a time. Then extend those periods. Notice how you feel. Those moments will add up, and make your life feel richer.
Listen to the sounds of life. Tune in.
Feel the hot water raining down over you in the shower. Luxuriate.
Listen carefully to the sweet voice of your little one. Look into the eyes of your beloved. Stop and smile.
Watch for the numerous, small but meaningful, examples of kindness that you observe in public.
When you slow down, and magnify the little things on purpose, even the mundane becomes magnificent.
2-One day, none of us will exist. It's a troublesome thought. But it's true.
Dwell on it for a moment. It helps bring perspective. This beautiful life is fleeting.
What would you do if you found out that your time is more limited than you had thought?
Would you be as focused on what is currently bothering you? Perhaps.
But, if not, then does it deserve your attention, rumination, and therefore, diminishing of your happiness?
What is worthy of pondering? You get to decide, constantly. Practice filling your mind with pleasant thoughts.
You deserve to always have something to look forward to.
3-Think of all of the problems that you don't have! Not that you would wish them on anyone else.
Undoubtedly, there could be many more troublesome concerns in your life, and many more issues that simply don't befall, or haven't befallen you.
4-Be intensely grateful for what you have, and know that others would love to have what you may even take for granted.
If you think about it, you know what those fortunate strokes or cherished treasures are.
Good health? A lovely home? A coveted talent? A close, warm family? Physical activity that energizes you?
A happy child? A job at which you feel fulfilled? Close, devoted friends? A supportive, loving partner? A sharp wit? Possessing one or more of the above puts you ahead of many!
Everyone has something! Our time together is precious and limited.
What's most important? Remind yourself often. Live and love accordingly.
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