Our world is constantly moving and changing. As a result, it can be challenging to stay present and focused.
With our smartphones constantly buzzing, our second-guessing past events, and a never-ending list of tasks to complete, it’s easy to get caught up in the past or the future, resulting in a lack of presence. However, being present is crucial for our well-being and the quality of our relationships.
I’ve often heard the phrase, “Be where your feet are.” It may sound funny, but it’s pretty basic when I think about it. Be present wherever you are. It’s that simple.
The “Be where your feet are.” quote is commonly attributed to Scott O’Neil, CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, who said, “Making the most of each moment and ridding ourselves of the toxic habit of constantly looking forward to the next thing. Be where your feet are.”
This quote perfectly captures the essence of presence. When with someone or focused on a task, we should give our undivided attention and fully engage. As hard as it may be, this means putting down our phones, avoiding distractions, and actively paying attention.
Being present not only benefits our relationships with others, but it also has numerous benefits for our mental health. For example, when fully present and focused on only one thing, we are more likely to experience a sense of calm and inner peace. We can let go of past or future worries and engage with the moment, ultimately reducing anxiety and stress and promoting a positive outlook.
Practicing presence can help us cultivate greater awareness and mindfulness in our daily lives. When we are present, we are more attuned to our surroundings and our own thoughts and emotions. As a result, we can better notice the beauty in our surroundings, appreciate the people in our lives, and savor the little moments that make life meaningful.
Of course, being present is easier said than done. It takes practice and intentionality to cultivate a presence mindset. Here are some tips for staying present in your daily life:
- Practice mindfulness: There are many ways to practice mindfulness, each helping to cultivate a greater awareness of the present moment and train your mind to be more focused and attentive.
- Put away your phone: When spending time with someone, make a conscious effort to put away your phone and avoid other distractions. This will help you be more fully engaged in the moment and show the other person that you value their time and attention. According to a University of Texas study, “the mere presence of one’s smartphone reduces available cognitive capacity and impairs cognitive functioning.”
- Use all your senses: Take a few moments to notice your surroundings using all your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, and feel? This can help you become more attuned to the present moment and cultivate greater awareness and gratitude.
- Take breaks: When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a few minutes to step away from your work and be present. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, or walk outside for a short walk. This can help you recharge and refocus your attention.
Being present is a powerful tool for cultivating greater awareness, mindfulness, and deeper connections with others. When we are with someone or focused on a task, we should give our full attention. We should “Be where your feet are.”
Cindy Jobs, PCAC, PCC
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