One Simple Method to Stay Calm and Present
Would you like to enjoy your life today just the way it is?
Would you like to clear your mind from past failures and future worries and focus on now?
Would you like to bring calm and peace to the middle of a stressful, chaotic day?
I have personally discovered the power of being present three years ago when I completed an eight-week mindfulness course. Before the course, I mainly lived my life by looking forward to something in the future, whether it's a trip abroad, an exciting event or seeing close friends for dinner. I realised I don't know how to focus on the present moment and just 'be'.
I wish we were taught mindfulness at school. It is such an important skill to master to have a balanced, healthy relationship with yourself. Being present heightens all your senses: you learn to fully appreciate a couple of things in front of you rather than stress about a million things you have to do in the future. It is incredibly powerful to stop for a minute and fully embrace current moment and most importantly - accept it just the way it is. The 5-4-3-2-1 method will help you interrupt unhealthy thought patterns and feel less anxious during a busy day. It can also be a great exercise to enjoy a very pleasant, relaxing moment so you can fully savour it and remember it in a more colourful, vivid way. This powerful tool will shift your focus to present surroundings and away from what is causing you to feel stressed and frustrated.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Method
This simple grounding technique can be used in any situation. The 5-4-3-2-1 tool helps you regain control of your mind and fully experience present moment.
Let's start this powerful and fun mental exercise! Begin by taking few deep breaths in and out: breathe in for 5 seconds, hold the breath for 5 seconds, and breathe out for 5 seconds.
5: Acknowledge FIVE things you can see around you. Maybe it is the sun, a car, a spot on the ceiling however big or small, list 5 things you see.
4: What are the FOUR things you can touch? Maybe this is ground, your clothes, pillow. It could even be your friend or partner if you are next to someone at the present moment. Whatever it may be, state the 4 things you can feel.
3: Acknowledge THREE sounds around you. For this part I recommend closing your eyes and really try to hear all different noises around you. This has to be external, do not focus on your thoughts; maybe you can hear a bird chirping, your neighbours talking or wind outside your window. Or maybe you hear your heart beating, internal sounds that make external noises can count, what is audible in the moment is what you list.
2: Become aware of TWO things you can smell: maybe you can smell your perfume or a flower, maybe you can smell a cup of coffee you are having. Whatever it may be, take in the two smells around you.
1: Think of ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like, toothpaste, orange juice, or the cake from lunch? Focus on your mouth as the last step and take in what you can taste.
To complete this exercise, I recommend to take a few deep breaths in and out in the following way:
Breathe in for a count of four
Hold for a count of four
Breathe out for a count of four
I am so excited for you to try The 5-4-3-2-1 method! I look forward to reading your comments about the experience. Once you learn to focus on one thing at a time, it completely changes your way of life and helps you find calm and peace even during the most hectic day.
The Little Book of Mindfulness
If you enjoyed practising The 5-4-3-2-1 method, I recommend to read this amazing The Little Book of Mindfulness written by Dr. Patrizia Collard. She lists 40 easy and fun ways to be mindful every day. You can order this book on Amazon here.
If you would like to read more about the power of being present, check out my blog post Mental Health During Lockdown: 5 Must Read Books to Improve Your Well-Being. In this post, I introduce five books that will teach you how to be mindful and happy about your life here and now. I hope you enjoyed this article, Sending you all lots of love!
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