How to Be More Present, and Stay Present

The holidays can be an overwhelming time when we find our minds racing a mile a minute. Here are some tips on how to be present.

Andy Dean/Adobe Stock

We’ve been through a lot—together and, more poignantly, alone. And the darkest day of the year—winter solstice—is approaching. I say that not to worry you, but to remind you that each of us can be the light in the darkness (and that on the other side of that darkness is light).

While many take this time of year to look back (best-of lists, anyone?) or look ahead (are we making resolutions for 2021 or just letting it wash over us?), here’s an invitation to just be here. Right here, right now, in this moment.

Some of these moments will bring great peace. Others will leave us in pieces. The more we can bring our focus and presence to these moments, the more skilled we become at compassion—for ourselves and others—kindness, and finding joy, and the more we can surf the changes of our lives with ease. It all starts with being present in our lives.

Three Practices to Find Your Presence

1. Bring your whole heart to the moment

“Joy has its roots in wholehearted appreciative attention,” writes Willem Kuyken. “As you go about your day, bring your attention to seeing, touching, and listening wholeheartedly—mindful of how you are touching and being touched by the world. Take moments to pause.”

2.  Find your foundation in breath

This year has asked a lot of us. For many, this season asks even more. It can be tempting to zone out, ruminate on the past, or plan the future. Give yourself the gift of this moment, with a basic breathing practice to anchor you in the simplicity of the present, where all you have to do is breathe.

3. Savor what comes

It’s going to come anyway—the good and the bad, the highs and the lows. This week-long savoring practice from founding editor Barry Boyce is an invitation to be with the moments as they come and savor them, no matter their flavor.


Woman practicing mindful walking among grass in meadow and holding in hand gathering wildflowers in mountains in sunlight
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