How to live a calmer and more meaningful life experience. Pictures: Pexels
How to live a calmer and more meaningful life experience. Pictures: Pexels

5 ways to stay present if you're feeling overwhelmed

By Nneka Jonas Time of article published May 27, 2020

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We've somehow advanced into a society that thrives on business, work, and chores. We cram our schedules to the extent where we are tired, grumpy, and totally detached from the beauty of our lives by the end of the day.  

All this could lead to stress and more severe mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. With a life like this we end up missing the most important little moments. A simple way to fix this is by being present during all our responsibilities that are ever so important.

For a calmer and more meaningful life experience, here are five simple ways to live in the present:

1. Do a body scan

It's a standardized exercise you can do wherever you go and with hardly any guidance. While the exercise is quite straightforward, it relies heavily on the basic tenets of mindfulness.  

You can easily find a guided body scan online, which will help you begin your practice. You would quickly be able to do the body scan on your own with a few guided sessions. Adjust it to your world, and you can use it to carry you back to the present whenever you need it.

2. Focus on the five senses

If you perhaps get carried away during your day, then pause what you are doing and concentrate on the five senses. With a simple exercise of noticing the five senses, you can bring yourself back to the present moment in just about five minutes.

3. Take a deep breath

A deep breath helps calm you down quickly, and reduces anxiety. Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which initiates the body's response to relaxation. It does so by stimulating the nerve of the vagus which reduces your natural response to stress. Deep, abdominal breathing reduces heart rate, relaxes the blood vessels and brings homeostasis back to the body. You can do it anywhere, anytime.

4. Slow down

Most of us rush our days through. If you find yourself rushing through your day, try slowing down for just a couple of minutes. Take your time to eat your lunch, or give yourself a full five-minute luxury to drink your coffee in peace. When introducing little moments like this to your day, you'll have more time to be present.

5. Narrate Your actions

If you really struggle to be present then try to start small. A good way of doing that is to narrate your actions. As you prepare your meal, for example, narrate each step quietly. Approach your actions with a positive, open, judgment-free look. 

Mindfulness isn't as hard as it would seem. Indeed it can be used in several different ways during the day. Living mindfully will reduce depression and anxiety, and make you a more productive worker.

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