5 Ways To Be More Present

09/10/2016 02:03 pm ET Updated Sep 10, 2016

I am incredibly organized and highly detail oriented. Those are great qualities for a resume but they tend to wreck havoc on my personal life. I have often looked back and felt like I missed everything because I was rushing through one thing to get to the next, just to check them off my list.

My mind is obsessive. I know what, when and how everything needs to get done. And I probably have a spreadsheet for each one. In the time it’s taken me to type these first few sentences, I’ve already mentally noted three more things I need to do this afternoon (for the record, they are: cut my nails, work out and vacuum the living room floor). While everyone around me is having fun and throwing caution to the wind, I am planning out tomorrow’s schedule and calculating how much sleep I’ll get if I stay up for two more hours.

I have a hard time figuring out how to just be.

Learning how to be present and truly live in the moment is an ongoing process for me, but it’s one that has changed everything. I enjoy life more, my relationships are deeper and I find more meaning in every day things. It’s hard to turn off my crazy monkey mind but here are five simple tools I’ve picked up along the way that might help you, too.

1. Settle in.

Just stop. Notice your posture, sit up tall and take a deep breath. It may sound silly, but stretch it out. Roll your neck from side to side. If you’re anything like me, you’ve stored alot of tension from trying to manage the ins and outs of everything. Let that go.

2. Observe.

If you want to be present, you need to know what present is. Look around. Observe without judgement. My yoga instructor, Adriene Mishler, suggests to replace judgement with curiosity. Open your eyes and really see the people around you.

3. Check in.

Check in with yourself. I have a bad habit of shoving everything inside and projecting whatever I think people want to see. It’s hard to be present with other people when you can’t be present with yourself. Go inward for a moment; How do you feel? What’s going on in your head? What’s truly holding you back right now?

4. Engage.

Connect with the people around you. Check in with them the way just did with yourself. See them for who they truly are and meet them where they are. Replace judgement with curiosity. Trust me, it’s a game changer.

5. Smile.

Be grateful for this moment, whatever it looks like. You won’t have this moment forever, so take it for everything it’s got and be thankful that you were a part of it.

Life is short, though it might not always seem that way. There are always things that need to get done, planning that has to occur and details that need to be addressed. Let this moment be a detail you pay attention to. Balance in all things. Allow yourself the freedom to slow down and to be here now.

To read more like this, check out Courageous Writing - a written exploration of life and finding the courage to live it well.

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