4 Unique Ways to Return to The Present Moment

Collection of colored clocks.
Image courtesy of geralt on Pixabay

The present moment is your point of power.

If you start paying attention, you’ll notice how much your brain wants to drag you back to the past or scare the crap out of you with future-tripping scenarios.

Processing information takes an incredible amount of physiological energy. This is why the brain likes to fall back on habits — to preserve energy. Your cyclical thinking is part of this energy-conserving mechanism because creating new neural connections require lots of energy.

Dr, Joe Dispenza, a brain expert and neuroplasticity teacher, explains:

Your brain is a complete record of your past & your mind is the product of your consciousness. By responding with the same brain hardware that matches what you remember, you’re creating a level of mind that is identical to the past.

Dr. Joe dispenza, twitter post

Think back to yesterday. How many times did you reference the past in your mind? How many times have you done it today?

Here’s why you want to train your brain to stay present: it’s the only way to change your neurology and start attracting and paying attention to what you truly desire.

This is not only personal — it’s collective.

Have you ever noticed how our culture is past-obsessed? Holidays are a great example of this: re-celebrating/remembering (painful) past events so we can “honor” them.

“Honoring” painful past events does one thing: it keeps us stuck in stress cycles and strengthens beliefs and neurology that do not serve us now.

So, what can you do to create the neurology you want? You must get present with what’s happening right now so you can think thoughts that create new neural connections (and eventually, complicated neural networks) you want.

Below, I share four unique ways to return to the present moment and take control of your brain and consciousness. Remember: you’re in charge! You get to decide what you think about and how you feel.

Try one of these unique ways to return to the present moment!

1. Smell something pleasant.

The gateway back to the present moment is through the body.

Most of us live from the neck up all day. Awareness of the body returns if we feel intense pain or pleasure, but for the most part, we’re “up in the clouds.”

Coming back to the body’s senses will help ground your energy and return to what’s happening right here, right now.

Smelling something pleasant is a quick way to come back “home” to yourself.

Smells activate your limbic system, which controls memory and emotion. When you smell something yummy, you’re triggering an emotional response that is felt in the body.

Positive emotions improve your mood, enhance your immune response, and teach the body to remain in “rest & digest” mode. When you’re in “rest & digest” mode, your brain and heart experience what’s known as coherence, which means they’re working together harmoniously (yay!).

2. Close your eyes and focus on the sounds around you.

This one sounds (no pun intended!) easy, but you’ll be shocked at how quickly your brain gets distracted and wants to assign meaning.

Sit in a comfy position and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths in the nose and out the mouth to tell the brain you’re safe. Release and allow — don’t try to make anything happen.

Set a timer for five minutes and do nothing but listen.

Within a few seconds, your brain will likely get distracted unless you do this exercise regularly. This is because your brain is a record of the past and it’s constantly searching for what’s familiar so it can keep you alive.

Pull your attention back to the assignment.

As you listen longer, you’ll be delighted at all the sounds you miss because of mind chatter. The hum of air conditioners and refrigerators, the singing of a distant bird, the rumble of traffic, or complete silence. Whatever sounds you encounter, experience them fully without assigning meaning.

As you train your brain to stay focused on this task, you improve your concentration and resilience while reducing your stress level.

And here’s a bonus: you may become inspired or enlightened by the sounds you hear, encouraging you to come back to this practice. You may even solve a personal or professional problem by simply noticing.

The following two suggestions come from a practice called The Viewpoints, which originated from dance and is used by actors and performing artists to connect with the physical environment. Playing the “Facts and Intuits” game is a powerful tool to connect with yourself and your current environment.

3. Walk around your space and list facts about yourself and your environment.

As I mentioned above, the fastest way to connect with the present moment is through the body.

Start walking around your space — this can be your home, yard, public park, parking lot, or any place you feel comfortable and connected. You can also do this on your morning or evening walks with your pets and make it a practice for yourself.

Connect with the ground as you walk and become aware of your feet.

Now, start naming facts about yourself and the environment. Do this for at least two minutes.

Some examples are:

My walls are painted white.

I have a working oven (versus a ‘big’ oven, which is subjective—we’ll get to that).

I’m wearing a skirt.

My shoes are a size 8.

I have strawberry blond hair.

The dog is sitting on my bed.

There are leftovers in my fridge.

Naming facts forces your brain to focus on one task. This is good because your brain is like an excited toddler — always looking for the next threat or adventure. Any time you give your brain a task, you teach it resilience and mastery.

4. Walk around your space and name intuits about yourself and your environment.

After you’ve listed facts, keep walking the space and take some deep breaths to clear the energy and let that task go. Walk around a few times in neutral mode.

Next, start naming intuits about yourself and the environment. Intuits are feelings and opinions about things. Do this for three minutes, which I’ll explain below.

Some examples are:

I hate these white walls.

I have the best oven in the world.

This skirt is too big for me, and I need a new one.

My shoes make me feel sexy.

I love my strawberry blond hair.

I would do anything for my dog.

The leftovers are so delicious!

Here’s why you want to name intuits for three minutes: as you start with more surface intuits (“I love my strawberry blond hair”), you’ll eventually find yourself getting more honest, raw, and real with yourself.

You may suddenly blurt out these kinds of deep truths:

I don’t feel appreciated at my job, and I want to quit.

I’m terrified my partner is cheating on me.

I want to start my own business, but I’m afraid of what others will think of me.

I’m not fulfilled, and I want to be fulfilled.

I want a divorce/I want a relationship/I want to get married.

My responsibilities make me feel imprisoned.

I want more affection from my parents.

The thought of switching careers makes me feel excited.

I want to take a dance class but I’m afraid I’m too old.

Allow yourself to keep digging deeper. This not only keeps you present, but it also forces you to be authentic with yourself.

Personally, I’ve seen many people have huge breakthroughs while naming facts and intuits because the subconscious mind has an opportunity to be heard.

When you stop repeating known memories, stories, and beliefs about yourself, more authentic information starts to shine forth. This is why it’s important to be in the body while doing these exercises. The body doesn’t lie.

When you’re fully in your body, your cellular memory speaks to you. This is all the information you’ve locked away in your cells that’s just dying to be heard.

Getting present is a mirror you can’t turn away from because it’s where your deepest truth lives. Your intuition lives in the present moment. Your best self lives in the present moment. The answer to everything you desire lives in the present moment.

Get present and the rest will take care of itself.

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