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What Does Being Present Mean?

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

If you’ve discovered my blog because you follow me on Instagram you’ll know there’s one thing I talk about a lot … being present. I often get asked what I mean by that term so I thought I’d explain how it has helped me.

I have always been one of life’s control freaks, someone who loves to plan every detail with visions in my head of how everything should look. But I know this side of my personality – the one that strives for perfection – can easily lead to me feeling let down not only because I expect too much from myself but I expect too much from others.

So a few years ago I decided to ditch as much control as I could and instead learn to concentrate on the here and now. I love the idea of being present; slowing down, focusing on what you are doing at that moment and being fully engaging with what is going on. We are all guilty of looking back and worrying just as we are all guilty of looking into the future and worrying, more now than ever before. How many of us have been too focused on Monday’s deadlines that we didn’t enjoy a Sunday spent with our family? We end up rushing through countless to-do lists, spinning far too many plates and missing the moment.

One of the key things I have learnt is to limit distractions – whether that’s dwelling on the past, listening to endless news reports or comparing myself to others – and instead I try to step away from the noise as and when I feel the need. That’s not to say I always get this right, like most of us I’m a little obsessed with social media and can lose hours in other people’s over-documented lives. But I’m aware that when I spend too much time scrolling online then anxiety and stress quickly becomes the norm.

To combat this, I start each morning taking ten minutes to be thankful and end each day not looking at my phone but filling out my grateful diary with five things that made me smile. I look after my health – both physical and mental – and ensure every day I take time just for me. I read, I potter about my kitchen, I sit in the sunshine, I go for a run, I marvel at the blossom, or I have a nap all without feeling the least bit guilty that I should be doing something else. And most importantly I fill my life with the people I love and enjoy every minute I spend with them.

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