Feeling stressed? Learn to be present!
Wendy Mason is a Career Coach and Life Coach helping you to solve difficult problems at work
Many of the great religions talk about the value of being able to sit quietly in the present. Sometimes this is a prelude to prayer – sometimes sitting in the present is the prayer or at perhaps a step on the way to enlightenment. But only recently have we understood the psychological value of being wholly in the present, with or without the religion.
I work with clients who feel stressed. And being able to bring themselves wholly into the present can be a great help to them. Here is what I teach them to do.
My practice of presence!
Find yourself a quiet spot. This can be a pleasant spot within your home, or somewhere quiet at work. It is great if you can do the exercise out of doors in your garden or even on a park bench. But you need somewhere where you can sit for a few minutes and not be disturbed.
First, focus on your breathing. The way to do it is to breathe in and out slowly and in a regular rhythm.
- · Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly.
- · Fill up the whole of your lungs with air, without forcing.
- · Imagine you're filling up a bottle, so that your lungs fill from the bottom.
- · Breathe in slowly and regularly counting from one to five (don’t worry if you can’t reach five at first).
- · Then let the breath escape slowly, counting from one to five.
- · Keep doing this until you feel calm.
- · Breathe without pausing or holding your breath.
While you are doing this concentrate completely on your breathing – let the thought of your breath fill you heart and mind completely!
Then while breathing gently bring your focus out to the world about you concentrating fully on one sense at a time
- · What can you hear? Really concentrate on those sounds.
- · What can you feel? Feel the air as it touches your skin.
- · What can you smell? If you fully concentrate you may be surprised.
- · What can you taste? Has that smell brought a taste to your mouth perhaps.
- · Now, what can you see? Concentrate fully on just one item in your surroundings. Really see it.
Next take your mind to your feet and feel them fully rooted to the floor or ground beneath. Then, sense the earth itself beneath you. Sense yourself rooted and part of that earth! If you wish you can rest there for a while, sensing the earth that supports you.
When you are ready, go back to your everyday day life, taking that sense of presence and support with you.
With practice you will feel so full of the real presence around, you can be totally and completely yourself.