Struggling to stay present in your own life? Join me as we explore the importance of being fully engaged in the present moment. But beware, as we delve into the negative effects of distraction, you’ll be left wondering how to overcome this challenge without any clear answers. Are you ready to face the struggle head-on?
Our busy lives take us away from being present, but being able to be present more often in our lives has been shown to reduce stress, increase happiness, and improve relationships. – Samantha Leith
Mentioned in this Episode
In this episode, you will be able to:
- Discover the power of being present and unlock a world of reduced stress, increased happiness, and improved relationships.
- Uncover the negative effects of not being present and learn how to break free from this cycle.
- Cultivate presence through mindfulness and experience a deeper connection with yourself and others.
- Experience the importance of tech-free time and embrace the joy of being fully present in the moment.
- Harness the benefits of breathing exercises and find inner calm and balance in the midst of a busy life.
Discover the power of presence
Being present allows us to fully engage in life, to release past fears and future worries, and to focus entirely on the moment at hand. This power of presence enriches our experiences, enhances our connections, and improves our overall wellbeing. Embracing a sense of presence can serve as an immensely powerful tool in navigating life’s complexities, ultimately leading to a more authentic, tranquil, and content life.
The resources mentioned in this episode are:
- Engage all your senses: Take a moment to focus on what you can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. This will help you stay present in the moment and be more aware of your surroundings.
- Take tech-free time: Set aside dedicated periods of time where you disconnect from technology. This could be during meals, walks, or other activities. Use this time to be fully present and engaged in the present moment.
- Practice breathing exercises: Deep, intentional breathing can help bring you back to the present moment. Try techniques like circular breathing or the 3-3-3-3 breathing pattern to anchor yourself in the here and now.
- Active listening: When engaged in a conversation, focus on truly listening to the other person instead of thinking about your next response. Give them your undivided attention and be fully present in the conversation.
- Wait 3 seconds before responding: Take a moment to pause and gather your thoughts before responding to someone. This allows you to fully process what was said and respond in a thoughtful and present manner.
- Practice mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness techniques into your daily routine, such as meditation or mindfulness exercises. These practices can help train your mind to be more.
Timestamped summary of this episode:
00:00:03 – Welcome to the Samantha Leith podcast with me. Samantha Leith. I have a passion for exploring anything and everything that can help us to be extraordinary. Each week I’m going to dive into a topic and explore it extensively. Because if there’s something that makes for a better life, I want to learn about it and more importantly, share it.
00:00:23 – And hey, you may just get the odd song thrown in. There’ll be deep conversations, fun and frivolity helpful tools for you to add to your life straight away. Random musings about anything from coffee to sex and information that may just blow your mind. This is a podcast for dreamers, believers, action takers and achievers. It’s personal development, but not as you know it.
00:00:50 – Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the Smith Delay Podcast, episode 33, where I want to talk about all about being here. Like right now, being present, it’s like a bit of a guide to being more present in your life and I think it’s a really freaking important topic. I’m not that great at being present sometimes, so I’m conscious, I’m aware of making the effort that sounds ridiculous. Really counterintuitive. Making the effort to be more present.
00:01:24 – Because we should all be able to be present. To be doing what we’re actually doing in that moment, or to be present with a person, or to be taking time to actually be completely involved in that one thing. Not necessarily all the gazillion things going on around in our heads. And for someone like me, with ADHD, like a really big freeway of busyness going on in my head a lot of the time, yes, medication helps, does help with it. But our lives, like our busy lives, how we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everything it is that we be and do these days in this modern world, takes us away from being present.
00:02:08 – So I think it’s really, really important. Okay, so what does it mean to actually be present? Not talking about giving presents, although I do like to give presents. Talking about being present, actually. There’s a saying, isn’t there?
00:02:26 – Being present is the gift you keep giving. Oh gosh, no, I can’t remember what it is. Totally mucked that one up. But yeah, being present is the best gift you can actually give someone. So it’s about living in the moment and it’s appreciating right here, right now.
00:02:44 – No future dreaming, no past right here. And many, many studies have shown there’s lots of benefits to this. Like, Harvard research has found that people that spend almost 47% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what thing, like really 47% of the waking hours. If I probably tracked my time in my mind, it probably would be like that. And that’s medicated and the mind wandering that we do that going forward, that going back that daydreaming, the lady daddy stuff can usually actually make us unhappy, or it can distract us from doing something that’s actually important in that moment.
00:03:29 – And then we might get in trouble, or we might do the wrong thing, or we’re late for someone, or something else is going on and what we should have been. And yeah, I’m going to use the word should there and I’ve got my fingers going out. Inverted commas doesn’t happen. And doing what we need to do in the moment is actually what’s really important, regardless of what it is. If we’ve chosen to do something in a moment, whether it be sleeping or reading a book or recording this podcast, or having breakfast with my daughter, or taking a walk, being up on stage doing something, whatever we’re doing in that moment is what matters.
00:04:11 – And being able to be present more often in our lives has been shown to reduce stress, increase happiness, and hello, big one, improve relationships. Because when you’re not present with someone, the other person knows you can think you’re faking it and they will have no idea that you’ve got a shopping list going on in your head of literally what you need to do in the grocery shop and all the to do list at home, and that project that you didn’t finish work, and that phone call that you didn’t make, and it’s all going around in your head, but you think because you’re sitting with someone, having conversation and going yeah, every so often that you’re actually present. You’re not. And they will pick it up. Okay, so I’ve recently read a book called Stolen Focus, which was freaking amazing.
00:05:03 – And I am actually going to do a whole podcast on the book because I thought it was fantastic. So we’re living in a world where it is really easy for us to get distracted. Our ability to actually concentrate on things has depleted over the years. Like there’s proof, it’s not just the last couple of years of having iPhones that have distracted us. There’s many, many things, but there’s internal barriers, there’s external factors.
00:05:34 – Time is actually one of those things that really is a barrier to us being present. As I said earlier, it’s like we think in the future or we’re going back reliving something in our mind. And because time travel is not actually a thing, all that stuff’s happening in our mind and not actually keeping us enjoying the actual now. Okay, so how are some of the ways you can stay more present? Well, there’s going to be something that I’ve said, a megazillion.
00:06:06 – A megazillion, that could be a new word lots of times on this podcast and you would have heard me talk about it in the Samantha Leith show on my blog. Lots of places mindfulness works, people. It really does. And if you don’t want to spend some time every day meditating or doing one of those longer, more in depth mindfulness techniques, I really, really encourage you to engage all your senses. So if you want to get.
00:06:35 – This is a trick I use quite often. If you want to get really present quickly, where you are doing something at that moment, could be work thing, could be a fun thing. Doesn’t really matter what it is. Engage all your senses. So think about what can you see, what can you hear, what can you smell, what can you taste, what can you touch.
00:06:56 – And there’s actually exercises like that in dealing with anxiety. Like, look around and name three things that you can see. That kind of thing. It’s a reason it works. It really gets you into your body and into a state of being completely present and in the moment.
00:07:16 – Okay, so I think that’s probably number one for me would be that another one I really suggest is, yes, sorry, people, tech free time. And I shouldn’t say that while you’re listening to a podcast, but oh my golly, gosh have some tech free time. Not just when you’re with other people and not just if you’re sitting down to a meal, but yes, definitely turn your tech off when you’re having a meal, but go for a walk. And I’ve said this before previous, I’ve said this before, previously repeating myself there, Samantha. I said this before.
00:07:50 – When you’re going for a walk, don’t take your phone, actually, just walk. Okay? There’s like, even these amazing earphones you can use that you can have in. So when you’re swimming, don’t just swim, just swim, just be. I like having baths, and I quite often have music going and a book going and a glass of wine and a candle and lots of bubbles.
00:08:18 – I try sometimes to actually go, I’m actually just getting in the bath. No distractions. I’m just going to be present in the bath. So that’s a big one. And my third one strategy for being present in any situation, really, is breathing exercises.
00:08:35 – So that really deep, intentional breathing that I’ve mentioned before. Again, whether you want to call it circular breathing, box breathing, we do the in for three, hold for three, out for three, hold for three, that kind of thing, around and round. And if you don’t want to do that, if that actually seems a bit yeah, I can’t be bothered taking the time to count how many times I’m breathing. Just think about how you’re breathing, and that will bring you back into the present. Just the thought, the thought of thinking about it will bring you back into the present.
00:09:06 – So I was at a big day yesterday for my daughter’s school, and I was having conversations with people, and I was MCG, and I was singing, and I’m running around like a chuck off, doing this, doing that, back on stage, doing this, doing this, back on stage. And I had to while I’m paying attention, a good MC pays attention to everything that’s going on around them so they can add other things in while they’re on the microphone. Et cetera. I had to keep bringing myself back to thinking, I’m just right here. Stop listening to what’s going over here.
00:09:38 – Stop checking how many people are walking in to spend money there. Just come back to right here before I get on the microphone. Okay? And I was doing in that moment, I was doing the breathing. I was just taking a moment to actually breathe.
00:09:52 – I wasn’t doing the box breathing. I was just paying attention to my breathing. Now, one of the ones I get asked about a lot from my clients because we talk about Charisma and one of the things in charisma is being present with people. Yes, being present with people. So I often get asked for tips on how to stay present in conversations.
00:10:15 – Because if our minds are wandering and we’re finding it difficult to be present just with ourselves, when you’re in a situation where there’s someone else talking or there’s other noise or there’s a show going on or you’re on a train with someone and there’s a conversation happening next to you that kind of looks heated and interesting in you, if you really wanted to, you could move on over and just listen to what they were saying. No, you’re still with someone else, so you need to stay present in that conversation. So I’m going to give you a couple of tips on that as well because I think it’s really important. Them active listening.
00:10:54 – What was that saying? Two ears, one mouth. Use it in that ratio. Might not actually be the saying. That close enough.
00:11:02 – The best part about a good conversation is the listening part. It’s not actually the talking part. Think about that. The best part about a conversation is the listening part, not the talking part. You’re giving someone a true gift by being present and listening to them.
00:11:26 – It’s a beautiful thing to really know that you have someone’s undivided attention within a conversation and they’re actually listening to every word you say. And likewise, if someone’s sharing something with you that they really want to share, they’re giving you a gift. Active listening is like a win win situation. So I want you to truly listen instead of thinking about what your next response is going to be. Now this is a really hard one for someone with inattentive ADHD like me, because while we’re listening to a conversation, our mind’s going ten paces ahead.
00:12:11 – We’ve thought of a story that we want to tell in relation to this conversation. We’ve also thought of a couple of ways we can actually make this conversation move faster because we’ve got something else we want to talk about. So let’s get with the people. And again, that breathing one and just that I got to listen, I got to listen, I got to listen. Like a mantra going around in my head.
00:12:34 – Brings me back to the present and actually listening to that conversation. And you know what? Even on the phone. It can be an issue. We all know it’s an issue in Zoom, although throughout the whole pandemic we were having conversations and meetings and doing all sorts of things online.
00:12:53 – Knew if someone wasn’t paying attention to us in Zoom, if they had the camera on them, but they know really checking Facebook or their email below, we knew we could feel that they weren’t paying attention. Okay, so just give them the gift, and you get the gift as well. Three second rule. And I’m not talking about dropping the slice of bread in the kitchen. I think my mother had a three day rule, but that’s beside the point.
00:13:18 – Wait 3 seconds before you respond. Now, I’m not very good at this one, but I’m working on it. I really am working on it, especially with my daughter really trying to be a little more gracious in our conversations and waiting before I respond. And 3 seconds is not that long. One ABC.
00:13:36 – Two ABC. Three ABC. And then you respond. Allow the person that you’re in a conversation with to completely complete their train of thought and for you to fully grasp it before you actually respond. Okay?
00:13:55 – And a couple of the charismatic no brainers are all the nonverbal cues. Okay? So the eye contacting, the mirroring, the physicality of someone that you’re having conversation with, not only is that a really good way to stay in connection with someone and to be more charismatic, but it actually helps you keep engaged because you’re paying attention to what you actually need to do. So how are they moving their eyes? Are they feeling closed off?
00:14:30 – Maybe? Listen a little deeper. It really keeps you in the moment. And finally, on this one, put down that distractions. Yes, like I said, go for a walk by yourself without any distractions.
00:14:42 – Have conversations without distractions. It’s a really biggie if you’re at a networking event, for example, and you’re trying to pay attention to other conversations and you’ve seen someone out of the corner of your eye that you really, really want to meet, but you’re deep in conversation with someone, switch off that other stuff. If you’re meant to meet that person, it will happen. Don’t start flicking with your business card in your pocket. Not that any of us have business cards anymore, but you know what I mean.
00:15:11 – Don’t start thinking, how can I get out of this conversation to talk to that person? You owe it to the person you’re in conversation with, and you owe it to yourself to stay present. Okay? That’s about how to stay present with other people. But I want to go back to talking about staying present with yourself because, yeah, you’re the most important person, and I’m talking to you here.
00:15:34 – Understand that we all get distracted. We do. I want you to think about those stats that I gave about how often we all get distracted. Like 47% of our waking hours, we’re like la la Land. Maybe not La la land.
00:15:57 – We could be just thinking of something very practical, but we’re not actually present with what we should be doing. I want you to think about all the things that stop you from being present in certain situations. Whether it’s tech, whether it’s TV, whether it’s you know what you might find. You’re not very good at being present when something’s in the oven. So go and talk to somebody out in the lounge room because you might be in the kitchen going, smell that roast.
00:16:26 – Can’t think of conversation smelling roast to move the situation. Okay? And think about those simple steps I gave you, like the breathing, the mindfulness, the waiting 3 seconds to respond to somebody. Okay? And again, I’m going to repeat it a thousand times just in this episode.
00:16:46 – Technology. Technology is such a great thing. And the irony of there being apps within our phones to help us pay more attention and apps within our phones to help us to stop being distracted and then me saying, put down the phone. I know it’s a little crazy, but I do believe we are better off putting them down to be present in most situations. Now, if you’ve got deadlines with work, I’m going to give you a bit of an out here the apps that can help you really stay focused for a certain period of time and will stop you from going onto websites or going into social media or things like that, they’re a really good thing.
00:17:30 – And if you can get a handle of them without being like I talked the other way about other day about breaking out with my Apple Watch because it was starting to make me feel bad about the things I was and wasn’t doing. Use any of those apps effectively. Sorry. You can use any of those apps effectively, but only if they’re helping you. Don’t just go, okay, I’m now going to get distracted researching apps I can use to be more present.
00:17:56 – Don’t do that. That’s not what I’m encouraging you to do. All I am doing is offering to you that if you do like using text for that kind of thing, there are some amazing things out there for you to use. Okay? I want you to pick one moment every single day to be really present.
00:18:17 – And I want you to write about it in your journal because I know you’re all journaling every day. I know you are because you all bought this mentally. 90 day to extraordinary journal on Amazon. Link will be in the show notes. How was that for a little ad?
00:18:32 – I really want you to do that. Pick one moment every day where you want to be truly present and use those tips that I’ve given you to actually get present, okay? And then in the next time you’re having conversation with someone, do the three second rule thing. Okay? Just wait.
00:18:49 – That one ABC, two ABC. Three ABC. Before you answer and see what happens, just see what happens and write about again. Like, write about how it felt to be truly present in a situation. Write down what changes there were in a conversation when you were actually doing it.
00:19:11 – How did it change something at work? How did it change your relationship with your kids? How did it change your relationship with yourself by actually giving yourself the gift of being present? How did it make you feel? And write it out.
00:19:23 – Okay, that’s it for today. I want to encourage you once you’ve listened to this podcast and ended it to be present, go spend five minutes being really present right now in something you’re doing, someone you’re with or by yourself. And as usual, I’m so grateful that you’ve joined me in this episode and let me know how you go being present. Tag me in something on socials. Tell me how it felt and tell me what you did.
00:19:56 – I’d really, really love to hear about it. So until next week, everybody, keep on being extraordinary. Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of the Samantha Leith Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode and want to dive deeper into the world of personal development and what’s possible for you, then I’d love to invite you to join the club. It’s my monthly membership designed to guide and support you with the tools and the coaching you need to be extraordinary.
00:20:25 – Head on over to Samanthaleith.com theclub for more information. I’d love to see you on the inside.