Over the last few weeks, I have blogged about the idea of getting present in our lives. Far too many of us have been caught up in the pursuit of more — greater career and financial success, the perfect relationship and family, the house, the car, the shiny things, the blah, blah, blah!
I’m not suggesting that we ditch all of our material possessions (although I confess that the idea of such simplicity has been appealing to me recently!) but rather we allow our focus to be turned inwards towards our true nature.
Why? Because everything we have ever strived for has been because we wanted the feel-good emotions that came with success. But feelings are always an inside job so why on earth would we use outside circumstances in an attempt to influence and manipulate them.
Today I wanted to share with you my ten top tips for shifting from pursuit to presence. Simple approaches that you can use to tune into your emotional well-being and find the joy and contentment you both want and deserve.
1) Breathe — breathing is the cure-all treatment for emotional health. When we are in pursuit mode, our breathing will shorten and become more shallow (preparing us for flight or fight). Taking a few, deep, belly breaths re-centres and re-aligns you in your body. And any time you face an overwhelming emotional state, breathing into it, rather than avoiding it, always connects you back to peace.
2) Hug yourself — this may be one to do in the privacy of your home or somewhere less visible at the office! Wrap your arms around your body and pull your knees up to your chest. Repeat the words “I am loved. I am safe. All is well“. Spending a few minutes in your cocoon will connect you back to you.
3) Mindfulness — bring all of your attention to the activity you are doing, Whether that is eating or doing the washing up. Focus in on the details… notice all that you can see, smell, hear and touch. Any issues and worries will just fade into the background.
4) Stretch — stand with your feet hip-width apart. Stretch your arms above your head. See yourself as the connection between the unconditional love of Mother Earth below and universal love radiating above. As you stretch, imagine this love transmitting through your hands and your feet and blending with the self-love in your heart. You are a beacon of lovingness!
5) Dance — with or without music, let your body move in its own way. Make it less about how it looks and more about how you experience it. Feel into every movement. How does your body enjoy dancing?
6) Tongue-tied — find a place where you can sit quietly and be the observer of your thoughts. Rather than resisting the chatterbox, welcome and embrace it. Let it share all that it needs to. As it begins to run out of steam (or starts going round in circles!), whisper a thank you and then place the tip of your tongue against the back of your front teeth. Notice how the words just stop coming.
7) Heart-speak — if you find yourself in a difficult or challenging conversation, place your hand over the left-hand side of your chest. Ask your heart what it wants for you and the other person/people. The head may try to convince you of your rightness but when you let your heart guide you, your responses will be loving and inclusive, a reflection of your true nature.
8) Nap — when did napping go out of fashion and how do we reinstate it? Napping is one of the fastest ways to bring yourself back to presence. For any shocking or traumatic situations, it is absolutely essential. Again, our heads will probably want us to get on with fixing the problem or taking back control so shutting our minds down can be deeply healing and beneficial. This is why our bodies use comas as a healing process. When our conscious interventions are stopped, the part of us that can restore and rejuvenate are able to get to work. Even if its the last thing you feel like doing, take a nap and when you awake, a new calmness will be available to you.
9) Tree-hugging — yes I really did say it! Get outside and find an appealing looking tree. Place your hands on or around the trunk. Absorb the energy encased within the bark. Trees have such undeniable wisdom. If you stay present to your experience, you may well find it shares a message or insight with you.
10) Shower-time — water is healing and restorative. Stand under the running water of a shower (or a waterfall if you can find one!) and allow it to wash all over you. Cleanse your body with complete awareness of how it feels. You may even want to close your eyes and do it by touch. As you wash, repeat the mantra “This is me and I love me“. The body adores appreciation and by loving it unconditionally, you reconnect to your heart and soul.