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How to calm thoughts and become present

Thousands of thoughts per day

One of the keys to experiencing peace and joy is to practice awareness in the present moment.  It is easier said than done given the busy lifestyles we lead but bear with me and read through some of these simple methods to get present. Meditation is the portal to becoming more present every day as you build and elevate your awareness level.  I know that this can sound a little too zen to some people, but I highly recommend giving it a try and testing for the results it can bring you.  I briefly explain the benefits of meditation in an earlier post that you can find here. Every day we think thousands of thoughts, and much of it is repeated day after day.  Sometimes we get overwhelmed with lots of self-talk, judging, and analyzing ourselves or other people, causing our brain to fatigue.

It is essential to be aware of how to calm thoughts and become present.  The simple practice of sitting still and quiet while focusing on your breath for 5 or 10 minutes to start each morning will strengthen your ability to focus and concentrate during the day and minimize self-talk.  Heightened focus and concentration accelerate your drive towards your life and career goals. You will find you can tackle life’s challenges and obstacles with more calmness and ease.  

In this post, I share some methods and quotes from mindfulness experts on entering the state of present moment awareness.  You may find some or all are suitable for you.  I encourage you to reflect and practice them to get on the path to experiencing more calmness and ease as you go about your days.

Woman thinking

Accept the present moment

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future” Fulton Oursler

Do you find yourself thinking about regrets or failures from past experiences?  Overthinking about regrets of the past can lead to symptoms of depression.  Conversely, too much time spent imagining fears of the future will lead to feelings of anxiousness.  Both will keep that negative self-talk repetition in high gear, causing you to go in circles.  Do you know the feeling?  I think we all do.  We can take back control by accepting circumstances as they are in the present moment. The alternative causes us to fall victim, stuck and attached to thoughts of regrets and fears, which becomes an unhealthy cycle.

Observe that we are not our thoughts.

“To realize that you are not your thoughts is when you begin to awaken spiritually.” Eckhart Tolle

At varying times during the day, we can find ourselves feeling positive and negative emotions based on the thoughts that percolate up from the subconscious. John Assaraf’s teachings remind me that “we are not our brain; we have a brain.”  “We are not our thoughts; we have thoughts.”  As soon as we detach ourselves and conceptualize that we are separate from the thoughts we experience, we can take back control.  I highly recommend his latest book Innercise.

By being present and observing a thought that causes an emotion, we can choose to let it go or hold on and continue to feel it.  The next time you feel a negative emotion from thought, pause and observe how it makes you feel.  Does the thought serve you in a way to make improvements?  If the answer is yes, great! If the thought leaves you feeling disempowered, then release it and move on.  Being present gives us a choice, and choice gives us freedom.  Improving this skill comes with practice and repetition, like everything else.

Picture of brain and thoughts

Get present through breathwork.

“Stop, Take three deep breaths and smile everywhere in your body, observing what’s happening in your body.  Proceed now with kindness and understanding.” Deepak Chopra

When you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or fearful, use these feelings as a signal to stop and take several deep breaths to get present and reset.  It’s a simple method to get back into the present moment and take control.  If you lead a busy life managing lots of responsibilities, consider setting a frequent reminder on your device to signal you to stop what you are doing for a short mindfulness break.

Take several deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and feeling your lungs expand while your diaphragm contracts. Exhale slowly through your mouth and feel the sensations as you begin to relax.  Do this several times, get present and aware of what you are doing now and what you plan to do next based on your priorities for the day.  It is an effective way of practicing the habit of getting present.

Get present through silence

“Deep silence is the mother of creativity.  No creativity can come out of one who is too busy, worried, and over-ambitious.” Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Taking time to pay attention to the silence around you is the easiest method to become present.  Sure it may sound challenging based on your daily commitments.  During your busy days, intentionally carve out time to go into silence.  I recommend getting out for a hike and connecting with nature as one of the best ways to observe silence and pay attention to surroundings.  Observe with your senses what is around you through sight, smell and sound.  Silence expands your present awareness and helps you find new possibilities through creativity.  Anxiety, worry, fear, and doubt grow when present awareness is tight and constricted.  Begin the habit of getting into silence with whichever method suits you, and your growing awareness will expand naturally so you can embrace your creativity without doubts and judgement.

I hope that you find this content helpful as you go about your busy days. As always, I encourage you to leave a comment or question below. You can also stay in contact directly:

michael@mindbodyvibrance.com

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4 thoughts on “How to calm thoughts and become present”

  1. bethebest#128

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. As a person with a meditation blog, I felt inspired to use meditation quotes. Because of this, I can tell that your post expanded my state of awareness. Yet, I resonated with several of the key points relevant in your article, especially the part in which you mentioned about taking three deep breaths as a form of mindfulness. 

    What is your story?

    What prompted you to start this blog?

    Do you agree with the path of least resistance ideology/philosophy?

    Where and how did you learn meditation?

    Why did you use quotes in this article?

    1. I love the questions.  I have lived and walked a path with challenges and obstacles like most people. This has led me to get curious and learn more about calming the mind and how to manage emotions.  By focusing on these areas we accelerate towards our goals in life.  This is what prompts all of my blogs which is to share tips and hacks to live a healthier life both mentally and physically.  I first learned meditation through a number of Deepak Chopra’s audio recordings and also spent time learning from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.    I selected the quotes these quotes because each quote resonates and I admire the individuals. Thanks again for asking great questions.

  2. Thank you for this interesting article Michael. The idea of getting present though silence is both intriguing and challenging for me? How long do you think it takes to master this? I guess habitual practice is the key. I find cycling by the ocean helps me connect with nature and well as bush walks. 

    1. Hi Alison, thanks for your comments.  I think it depends on an individual’s current comfort level with silence.  It takes conscious intentional effort and repetition to make it a habit.   Experts say a habit takes between 66 and 100 days to form before it starts to become automatic behaviour.     You will naturally master it with consistency over the long haul.

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