The Art of Presence

It can be easy to focus on making plans for the future and worrying about what’s next.  It it also easy to spend a lot of time focused on the past.  Whether it’s our successes or perceived failures, we can often find ourselves wishing we could go back in time and change something.  In doing either of these what we often miss most is what’s happening in the here-and-now.  Being present to and aware of our current experiences.

Increasing awareness of what’s happening now is often one of the first things I ask my clients to do.  The reason is because having this information empowers them to be able to make choices for their lives vs. their beings something that happens to them.  Learning to Be Present With Yourself by Melanie Greenberg, PhD does an excellent job of explaining what it means to be present. Greenberg distinguishes the differences between “being” and “doing” and discusses the benefits of both.  See part of the article below that speaks to some of the benefits of “doing”.

“John Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction therapy suggests that our brains operate primarily in “Doing” Mode. We actively use our minds to solve problems, make plans, anticipate obstacles, evaluate how far we are from desired goals and choose between alternatives by judging their relative value.  While “Doing” mode is extremely useful for helping us advance in our careers, be popular, lose weight, and a myriad of other life tasks, it falls short when it comes to managing emotions.”

If you are interested in learning how to be more present and engaged in your life, then I highly recommend that you read the full article to help you get started.

If you have been practicing being more present in your life, I would love to hear about what type of impact this practice has had on you.  I would also like to know how you practice presence in your life in the comments section below.

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