Monthly Archives: June 2012

Tips to Staying Present

By Heidi Michaels

We live in a fast paced world.  Everyday we are pulled and pushed in many directions and we often feel the pace of life is way too fast – leaving us huffing and puffing to keep up.  My clients often struggle with knowing they want to slow down but fear, if they do, that they will fall behind, feel “less than” or lazy.

I truly believe that we all have our own rhythm.  Some have a slower rhythm some have a faster rhythm but what’s important is honoring that rhythm.  I, myself, have a fast rhythm.  That does not mean that honoring my pace feels like I am sprinting as fast as I can all day long.  It really means that I enjoy a certain pace to my day… however, it can often get too fast or too slow for me.

The key to finding your rhythm and staying in your rhythm is all about being present.  Being present – in the moment.  What I mean by this is not going so fast through the day that the  focus is on the next thing that needs to get completed and not going so slow that I’m bored and feeling impatient.  Rather moving through the day in the pace that feels just right and adjusting when it gets off.

Want to get a feel for how fast you are going? Try this:  Stand with your eyes closed.  (Take note of the time before you close your eyes.)  When you think two minutes has passed open your eyes.  Notice the time.  How long did you last?  Did it feel like two minutes felt like a life time?

The key to being present?  Paying attention to what’s right in front of you.
Here are some additional tips to staying present:

  1. Go for walk.  As you walk notice the grass, the trees, the cars that go by.  Be conscious of the world around you.  Pretend you’ve never seen these things before…and just be curious.
  2. At a stop light take the moment to breathe – notice your breath.  As you breathe out…imagine letting go of all your stress.  As you breathe in imagine clean, fresh, calm air filling your lungs and body.  Be thankful for this “stop” time.
  3. While sitting at your desk – Wiggle your toes.  Connect to your body, your toes…and really feel your toes wiggle.
  4. Get out in nature!  Go outside.  Look up at the clouds, listen to the birds, feel the breeze.
  5. Do something new – take a new route to work – it opens up your awareness and consciousness.
  6. Observe – watch what is going on, notice body language, listen for intonations in someone’s voice.  Listen with all your senses.
  7. Focus all of your attention on the task at hand.  Whatever you are doing… bring your full attention to what you need to do to accomplish that task.

Being present does take discipline. It can be a challenge to break our habit of living in the past and future. If you find yourself going backward or forward in time, try to stay present by reminding yourself gently that the only time is now and that the only place is here. The more you do it, the easier it will become and you will find yourself having more moments where you are completely aware of the details.

Heidi Michaels is a life and sports performance coach. For more information go to or call her at (914) 232-7004.