“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh
Your mind is probably running too much – just like mine is. Sometimes it just worries about the most random things that don’t really matter. Well, here are a few simple practices that you can do easily throughout your day in order to pause your monkey mind and feel the joy of the present moment.
How to Get out of Your Head and into the Present Moment
Get into your body and feel yourself walking. Walk with 100% attention in your leg muscles. Notice the way your feet roll across the ground. Feel your center of balance moving forward. Walking is actually a repetitive falling forward motion. Embrace your swinging arms and the air softly moving through your hands. Step with purpose. Getting this focused into the simple act of walking will definitely ground you into the present moment.
2. Look up at the stars
It’s no question that looking into a clear night sky can humble any person. You are a tiny speck on a tiny planet amidst the vast canvas of space. Embrace the night sky with your entire heart and glimpse at the infinite part of you. The universe is just like a mirror. Stare up and look at your awesomeness. You will feel yourself become very present, peaceful, and joyous.
3. Smell a flower
If you see a flower, don’t shrug it off. Appreciate it. Allow the flower to bring you right into the now, out of your head, and into it’s blessed fragrance. I always do this. There is an impulse in me to approach every flower I see. People may give me funny looks, but that’s okay, they don’t know what they’re missing.
4. Take a hot shower
Showers are incredibly refreshing. Having the sensations of flowing hot water run all over your body is a magical sensory experience. Many people take showers without thinking about it – or they are just planning their day ahead. But there is a better way. Get present. Get in your body and feel the uniqueness of the experience. Showers are a great daily meditation (and you will smell good too!).
5. Embrace your art or craft
Whether writing, drawing, painting, playing music, anything! Enjoy it completely and so utterly that your mind is emptied into the presence of your concentration – your flow, into that one creative practice. I do this when I improvise on my ukulele, just feeling the notes flow from my fingers to my ears. No planning, no thinking, no stress. Just music. This is a wonderful way to become present.
Get your blood pumping. Many people I know just love running to clear their head. Start moving your body (notice the theme here – your body brings you into the present in so many ways). Even running for 10 minutes can do wonders for your health, energy levels, and calming the monkey mind. If running isn’t an option, then try doing yoga, lifting weights, or just jumping up and down on your bed for a few minutes. 🙂
7. Admire nature
Mother Nature is beautiful. Go into nature and let the scenery invade your senses. Often times I like going out into the forest, where I can be surrounded by calmness and being. The trees are not trying hard. They are not worrying. You can sense their peacefulness. Allowing the birds singing to echo in your mind, the leaves rustling in the wind, all of it, bringing you into a meditative state. Nature is divine.
You are a people! Smile at yourself. Smile at others. I can not tell you how many times a smile has completely brought me out of my head – out of my own little world – and deeply into the present moment shared with another soul. Sometimes a stranger and I lock eyes, and we smile, and everything else melts away. We don’t know each other at all, but we share something within. We share this moment. And the moment is a joyous place, where smiles are born. Smile at everyone. 🙂
Going hand in hand with smiles, go and laugh. Laughter is a wonderful meditation! In fact, there are lots of people who do “laughter yoga.” What a funny practice. Literally. Whether you’re with friends exchanging silly stories, inside jokes, or watching viral youtube videos (much more fun when watching with others) you can laugh your ass off. Try it. I guarantee you won’t be worrying about anything while you’re rolling on the floor with sore abs.
In a non-creepy way please lol. Kids are perfect examples of living without worry. They are so present and they don’t hold back what they say. They question, they wonder, they have a unique and fresh perspective. Look at them play, doing the most random insignificant things that amuse them. Making up games, creating invisible friends, and embracing their imaginations. In many ways, kids are wiser than we are. They haven’t forgotten to have fun. Try being around kids and watch your inner child-like wonder begin to surface.
11. Cloud gazing
If you’re not convinced how awesome clouds are, just sign up for Instagram. Clouds are an ever-shifting entertainment of nature. Sort of like stars, they remind me of my smallness, yet my significance. That I am here to admire their shifting shapes. Looking at clouds has always been an exercise in imagination too. As a kid, we always tried to pick out shapes. You may have done this too. Try it out.
12. Pet your cat or dog
Get as present as your cat or dog. They don’t care about anything except dangling shoe strings, red lasers, and tennis balls (or frisbees in my dog Clipper’s case). Animals are so chilled out. They are unconditionally loving and it will rub off on you if you let it. Take a de-stress break, call your animal, and just be with it for a minute. Don’t have any pets? Pet your neighbors. Don’t have neighbors? Go to the animal shelter.
13. Look at your hands
You have fingers! WOAH. And thumbs! Look at your hands and fingers. You are an incredible human body. The mere fact that you can navigate around the world, pick up things, interact, touch and hold others, create things, and express yourself is amazing. Appreciate deeply the fact that you can see and feel yourself. You are alive. Be present with that fact for a moment.
14. Go all in
Go ALL INto your senses. You can create a burst of clarity by entering your senses completely. It’s like emptying your mind quickly and letting only your senses flood your awareness. It’s not thinking. Stepping back from the labels we paint all over the world and instead of seeing everything directly. It’s kind of hard to explain, but imagine being on a diving board, looking into the water below. Your mind is usually up there on the diving board, looking into the murky water of experience because everything goes through so many filters and labels. Going all in is a mental dive into the water of your senses. Submerging yourself completely in the now, instead of watching it from above with your mind.
What are your favorite ways to get out of your head and into the present moment? You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below