It has been one of my strongest desires with starting The Man Effect to help encourage men to be authentic and more present. Well, I was talking to one of my cousins who is a therapist, and we were discussing psychology and life in general. That is when being present came up in our conversation, and it inspired me to want to write an article to encourage men to grow in this arena and give them practical tips on how to do so.
I personally had spent years caught up in what I was not becoming, what had happened in the past, and was rarely able to just relax and enjoy the now. The amount of stress and anxiety I created for myself all from just not being present and in the moment felt insurmountable.
"Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment." - Deepak Chopra
I have been working hard to be more present. So I thought I would write down, "7 Ninja Ways to Help You Become A More Present Man." I hope you take the time to read through each one and start putting them into practice!
The seven points consist of the five senses you possess along with a couple of extras I added. Each point is me trying to give you an example of what to do and how to use this as a way to help yourself become more present.
Many men are overwhelmed and blinded by stress from their future. Wondering if they ever will amount to anything, will their finances be okay, or if they will find the love of their life. But on the flip side men also allow themselves to be captivated by the past. Things like not learning how to wrestle, fix a car, or wish they started saving money earlier. These regrets are also things that pull a man out of the present.
So the following suggestions are tools you can use to help yourself be more in the present when you feel stressed by your past or present. Find one that you like and want to practice, then every time you feel stressed or not in the moment force yourself to practice being more aware in that area.
All of these points are written assuming that you want to practice being more present as a man. Keep that in mind as you proceed.
For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.
~ Vincent Van Gogh
In order to use sight as a tool to help you become more present. Here is what you can do. When you find yourself daydreaming or consumed by stress. Try these couple tactics. Using sight to bring you into the present is totally possible what is important is to be strongly intentional. This will get easier the more you do it.
- Find three objects that catch your eye in your immediate surroundings. Acknowledge them internally, ask yourself why they stuck out to you, was it the pattern, texture, or maybe the color. Make yourself cognitively think about these items you have highlighted. This will distract your brain and bring you into the now.
- Think about what you are staring at. Focusing in on one sense like sight and cognitively thinking about where your eyes are leading or looking at is a good way to snap out of a mental funk.
- Look at everything around you, take in all the beauty, notice the color, shapes, and textures that surround you. Look at the people you pass and notice how each one is unique and different. When speaking with someone show respect by looking at them. If your mind starts daydreaming bring it back to your drive/walk. I bet you will be amazing at all you have missed seeing up until now.(Source Link)
Maybe you are at a restaurant or a friends house when the past or future starts to take over. You can use taste as a tool to help jumpstart your brain back into the present. The more often you practice this the better when in times of being mentally distant.
- Take a sip of a drink, eat something sweet, try something new and see how it taste differently. Forcing yourself to be aware of what you are tasting and focusing your mental energy on this can be very beneficial. You may notice an aftertaste of a previous drink or meal lingering in your mouth. You might notice your tongue in your mouth, your saliva, and your breath as you exhale. We have tastes in our mouth that often go unnoticed. You can run your tongue over your teeth and cheeks to help you become more aware. Taking the time to be aware and focused on this sense is well worth your time.
- While you are eating practice doing nothing but eating and being with your food; bring attention to the way you are chewing your food and notice how fast and many times you chew before you swallow it, are you shoveling it in fast or do you eat slow and take a breath or two before your next bite? Taste the flavors; Does it taste salty, sour, sweet, spicy? Feel how grateful you are for this food and how it is feeding and nourishing both you.(Source Link)
This is an easier one for me personally. Here are a couple ways for you to think about and engage with your sense of touch.
- Bring your attention to the sensations of skin contact with your chair(if you are sitting), clothing, and feet on the ground. You can notice the pressure between your feet and the floor or your body and the chair. You can observe temperatures like the warmth or coolness of your hands or feet. You might take time to feel the textures that you noticed by sight a moment ago.
- Allow yourself to fully focus only on the sense of touch. What is your skin telling you? Can you feel your heartbeat? Focus on your breathing how does the air feel in your lungs.
If you haven't caught on already each arena I highlight is just trying to help you focus in on and pay attention to one aspect of your life.
- Shift your attention to notice the smells of your environment. Maybe you smell food. You might become aware of the smell of trees or plants if you are outside. You might notice the smell of books or paper. Sometimes closing your eyes can help sharpen your attention.
- Or while eating smell your food, notice the smells where ever you go, smell the different odor from people around you, take time to smell the flowers, notice what smells you find appealing and the ones that you dislike. Do certain smells remind you of past memories or people?
Take a moment and be intentional to follow these steps to help you hone in on the present moment.
- Listening to the sounds in your environment is one of the best ways I have found to ground yourself in the now. Listen to the bird's chirp, people talking, cars going by. Notice how the noises affect you. Do they calm, aggravate or make you happy? Play some music, listen to the beat, words, sounds, and rhythms that each instrument makes. notice how different music makes you feel. Focus on and Listen to the person talking to you. Pay attention to what they are saying without the intention to answer but purely just to hear what they will have to say.
- Begin to notice all of the sounds around you. Try not to judge the sounds- just notice them. They are not good or bad, they just are. Sounds might be internal, like breathing or digestion. Sounds might be close by or more distant like the sound of traffic. Are you now hearing more than you were before you started? You may begin to notice subtle sounds you did not hear before. Can you hear them now?
This one is a bit more tricky and different for everyone but here are a couple of tips to do a self-check when it comes to emotions.
- Pull out a pen and paper and write down the answer to these few questions. What am I feeling right now? Why am I feeling this? Am I ashamed of these feelings? How often do I feel this way? Did something trigger this feeling?
- If you are out and about and don't have a quiet space to hide away in simple take a moment, take a deep breath and focus in on what you are feeling. Ask yourself if you are feeling angry, happy, sad, scared, excited, or tender. If so from that point ask yourself why you are feeling those. Then from that point, you should be self-aware enough to be able to navigate that moment.
This one is a powerful one as well that is very similar to checking in with your emotions.
- Grab a pen and paper then proceed to just write out everything that is on your mind. Is it a task that you are worried about tomorrow, how annoying your boss is, or maybe it is that you can not stop thinking about how your significant other seems unhappy. Write everything down possible, and observe these thoughts, acknowledge them, and ask yourself what is the next step you should take. This is a great way to get in the present moment.
- Turn off the TV or Computer and choose to do a mind audit. Take a moment and focus in on what your mind is consumed with so much that you are trying to run away from it. I have a feeling you will be surprised if you do this!
I know these tips may seem simple but honestly they are some great tools that will take you far. At its core becoming more present and able to live in the now purely comes down to this. Developing your ability to be self-aware. The more you know how you feel, think, see, smell, hear, touch, and taste the better you will know yourself which in turn allows you to be in the right now.
Using the above seven tips are tools that you can use to break a pattern. This will take constant work though and is not going to always come easy. I wish you the best on your journey.