4 Tips on How to Be Present
Dr. Benjamin’s Peace Training Tips:
Learn How to Be Present in the Here & Now
Do you want to start practicing how to be more mentally present in the here and now?
1. First, close your eyes.
2. Now start the deep breathing methods that you learned here.
3. Next, notice how your body is feeling.
4. Last, notice your mood and notice how you feel about how your mood is.
Why is it important to be grounded in the here and now? Because that is where your life is happening. That is where your loved ones are and that is where the task at hand is. We’ll talk about this more later, but being mentally present in the here and now helps you escape some mental traps that can lead to anxious feelings or depressed mood.
If you shared what makes you peaceful at EverythingPeace.org, that means that you were able to notice how you feel when you're peaceful. Noticing how you feel teaches you a way to be mentally present in the here and now. Since you were able to say what makes you most peaceful, you already know a little bit about what it's like to be present in the here and now. You were able to recognize how you felt and relate those feelings to that situation. Imagine now that you can be just as peaceful while waiting in a long line at the DMV or sitting in a dentist's chair--to be peaceful everywhere, in all situations. By practicing how to be present in the here and now, you can improve your skills of being peaceful.
In the 4 steps to being more mentally present in the here and now, you were instructed to notice how your body is feeling. That means pay attention to bodily sensations such as hot and cold, hard and soft. Here’s how you should do it: Without reacting to the sensation, notice things like the air temperature, how you’re clothes feel, where the seat touches your body and how that feels. Go from head to toe and notice what your body is feeling. While you are doing this, it’s very important to notice the sensations without reacting to them. You just want to observe them without having feelings about them, like, “These jeans are getting too tight,” or “Man, my back is hurting again!” Observe everything neutrally, without passing judgment of any kind.
Did you post what makes you most peaceful at EverythingPeace.org? Maybe you didn’t feel like posting but you thought about what makes you most peaceful. There were several reasons why you were prompted to do that and the most important reason was simply to show you that you are able to notice your own feelings. To become better at becoming peaceful it will be necessary for you to be able to notice how you are feeling from moment to moment and also to notice how you feel about how you are feeling. When you are noticing how you feel and how you feel about how you are feeling it is really important to do it without judging yourself or wishing that you felt another way. You want to learn to notice how you are feeling without labeling your feelings as “good” or “bad,” “desirable” or "undesirable”. Again, observe everything neutrally, without passing judgment of any kind. Being able to do that will give you some control over your feelings and keep you firmly grounded in the here and now.
Dr. Benjamin Williamson is a board-certified psychiatrist. He earned his medical degree (M.D.) from the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan where he also completed his residency training in psychiatry. He currently practices psychiatry in coastal North Carolina. In his free time he enjoys surfing, organizing activities related to ocean conservation and Vipassana meditation.
Disclaimer: Creating peacefulness is not easy and requires a commitment to training. What we are offering is an "on ramp" to the path toward peacefulness. You can experience some benefits right away, but you will benefit more and more the longer you travel on the road.