3 Ways to Feel More Present

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lately i’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about wanting to be more present in their lives but aren’t really sure how to feel more present. i’m one of them. i shared candidly about how this is also a goal of mine lately because i’d been shutting out the present in order to “cope” as a defense mechanism against my anxiety. that’s no way to live. as a brene brown points out, you can’t just numb out the bad feelings because the good ones go with it.

one area i’m working on is staying present in the situation i’m in. the last post i wrote about choosing love over work is a perfect example. for the first 30 minutes of me deciding to go have fun with my husband instead of working, my mind was still on work. i was thinking of the speeches i’m supposed to be writing for our workshops and webinar in australia, writing content for the new wifestyle, figuring out our taxes (yay extensions to really draw out the process), and all of the things we need to get done before we leave for 24 days next month.


even just writing those out now is stressing me out with what needs to get done but worrying about all of these things aren’t getting them done. it’s a waste of mental energy and takes you away from enjoying the present. what was the point of agreeing that my relationship was more important than work this weekend if my mind wasn’t focused on my husband? i’m not being fully present in the moment or with my surroundings if i’m thinking of all the other things that need to get done. on top of that, i’m not actually doing anything proactive to get them done so it truly is wasted energy.

How to Feel More Present

focusing your thoughts is a lot easier said than done (just try sitting still for 15 minutes during meditation – woof.)

here are 3 ways on how to be more present that i’ve been doing lately:

1) 5 deep breathes

i’m sure you’ve taken more than 5 breathes while reading this post but i bet you didn’t even notice them (hooray involuntary breathing! keep up the good work, body). take 30 seconds and feel those 5 breathes deeply. pay attention to how your lungs expand, how your shoulders might rise, the sound that comes from your mouth/nose and if you feel it in your diaphragm. feeling present is about paying attention to the here and now so take 5 deep breathes that you concentrate on.

2) set literal reminders

i have various reminders on my calendar that pop up and say “be present.” i’ve also done this in the past with readjusting my posture and it really helps. i don’t know about you but sometimes i look up and 2 hours have passed while it feels like only 10 minutes. by setting these reminders to tune in the world around me, time feels more valued and i get to take stock of where i’m at right now.

3) conscious noticing

part of what i’ve found while feeling more present in my life is that i try to pay attention to the small details in front of me and in my environment. i pay attention to the clothes on my body, the wind blowing my hair and even the pen in front of me. become aware of your own existence. funny note – lately my dog has been helping with this. i look at her breathing and blinking. she is alive, in front of me and helps to ground me that the world is happening around me so i better participate.

ra-5795 sugar alone

when you are at work, focus on being fully present at work because i can guarantee you’ll get more accomplished. when you are snuggled up with your spouse, be fully present and i can guarantee that you’ll feel closer and more in love. when you are enjoying time to yourself to recharge, fully feel that and don’t get hyped up about work or family. wherever you are and whatever you are doing, strive to feel more present.

if you found this post helpful or know someone in your life that could benefit from feeling more present, i’d be grateful if you could share it, pass it on or pin it!

How to Feel More Present

how do you make sure you’re living in the moment? (more strategies eagerly welcomed!)


  1. Meghan @ SLS

    April 29, 2015 at 10:19 am

    For me, it’s so important to just put down the phone — and to stop being afraid of boredom. I feel like I have to be doing something, and occupying my brain, ALL THE TIME. But when I sit there scrolling through my phone & running from boredom, I totally miss out on the moments I’m in!
    Meghan @ SLS recently posted…A Heritage

    • chelsea

      April 29, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      ohhhh meghan i feel that too! that damn scroll. it’s terrible and it’s such a bad habit. it’s like i’ve almost forgotten how to just BE. i’m working on it too 🙂

  2. Diana

    April 29, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    I agree that being more present is a problem. I always find myself at least 5 minutes in the future if not days in the future at any moment.

    I like the idea of setting literal reminders.

    One thing I **TRY** to do is putting my phone down and away when I’m with other people (including my husband). I don’t need to take a picture or snap chat everything.
    Diana recently posted…Because I married a Feminist

    • chelsea

      April 29, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      i find myself in the future thoughts too, diana but i’m glad to hear that putting your phone down when you’re with other people is helping! i’ve found that helpful too…like literally away…not to be seen by my eyes! baby steps.

  3. carissajade

    April 29, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Love these tips! Definitely always trying to be more mindful. Sometimes if i’m having trouble I’ll start narrating or singing about what I’m doing, it gets me back on track!
    carissajade recently posted…Beginning A Meditation Practice

    • chelsea

      April 29, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      hey it looks like we are on the same page today, carissa jade with your post of ‘meditation practice!’ ohh i like your suggestion of narrating what you’re doing. my husband sings a lot about random things going on but i never appreciated that they could serve as being more mindful. thanks!

  4. Shelby

    April 29, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    I took this awesome Positive Psychology class in college that has FOREVER stuck with me. One of the things I took from it is, if you know what are you going to say to someone before they are done talking — you are not present. You are with yourself, you are talking without listening. When I’m about to spit something out while someone is still talking, I remind myself of that and it has helped me be more present with other people.
    Shelby recently posted…Mr & Mrs: After the Vows

    • chelsea

      April 29, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      this is such a good point to remember shelby! we learned that too in my social work classes about ‘active listening’ and how you can’t be doing grocery lists in your head and be present. this is a GREAT thing to remember, thanks for reminding me 🙂

  5. Mar

    April 29, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I often get too caught up in the big city life, the daily hustle and bustle to and from work. Thank you for these reminders that I need to stop and smell the roses more often.
    Mar recently posted…Days of the Month: May

    • chelsea

      April 30, 2015 at 9:18 am

      it’s easy to do, mar! life feels like it just keeps getting busier and busier so i’m glad you’re paying more attention to those flowers 🙂

  6. Melissa C

    April 29, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Love this so much! I have to set reminders for myself literally all day long! most of the time it’s something on my phone to pop up and say “put the phone down”, and it helps! Such a great post!!
    Melissa C recently posted…My Best Friend is the Father of my Kids

    • chelsea

      April 30, 2015 at 9:21 am

      love that you are already doing the daily reminders already melissa! it was eye opening for me when i realized the calendar wasn’t just for meetings!!

  7. Lindsay @ The Newlywed Notebook

    April 29, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    I LOVE these tips, specifically the “conscious noticing.” I kid you not, that has made all the difference for me in my day to day life. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or even just particularly happy and wanting to take in the moment, I will stop when I’m doing and just become a careful observer of my situation. It’s so interesting what you will notice and discover when you step back out of the situation for a moment and just observe!
    Lindsay @ The Newlywed Notebook recently posted…A Beginners Guide to Marriage-ing | Part 1

    • chelsea

      April 30, 2015 at 9:24 am

      i am so glad to hear that taking in the moment through observation has been so helpful for you lindsay! i’ve found it’s super great for me too, those little details matter and can help us feel grounded!

  8. Audrey

    April 30, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Awww, how could you NOT feel present with those little puppy eyes blinking back at you?! She’s so sweet!

    I’m not very good at being present ALL the time, but I do have some moments where I just sit and watch the world around me. Yesterday I sat in our backyard and watched the dogs play without any distracts. On our wedding day I also remember taking a moment to step back and watch everyone around me laughing and dancing and having fun- I’m so glad I did!
    Audrey recently posted…This is not ok.

    • chelsea

      April 30, 2015 at 9:25 am

      for the reals though, audrey…those puppy dog eyes!!

      i have the biggest smile thinking of you taking everyone in on your wedding day! i have one of those moments too and it’s really powerful. so happy to hear you spent uninterrupted and undistracted time yesterday with your pups! it’s amazing to just watch the world happen and i’m getting better about it!

  9. Karen

    April 30, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I keep one of those “one line per day” journals. I think it helps me feel more present because it forces me to think about and process the day for at least a few minutes
    Karen recently posted…Talk, Walk, Run 10K

    • chelsea

      April 30, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      ohhh yes i keep hearing about those ‘one line per day’ journals. i should check them out. glad it’s been working for you karen!

  10. Annie

    April 30, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    To stay focus I sometimes look up! Too often, I’m running around and looking at the ground, trying to move as quickly as possible. Looking up actually forces you to stop, and acknowledge that your are wherever you are. You can’t move forward, lest you run into someone or something! Plus, usually looking up leads to seeing a beautiful sky, leaves on trees, pretty birds and things you wouldn’t otherwise notice. I highly recommend it. Keep up the good work Chelsea, as a new fiancé this is one of my favorite blogs!!

    • chelsea

      May 1, 2015 at 7:47 am

      i totally love this annie! looking up…how simple and yet so powerful. thank you so much for your comment annie and i’m going to do this today!

      also, congratulations on your engagement! yay!!! so glad you’re enjoying the blog and i’m working on putting together some resources i wish i had as a newly engaged woman 🙂

  11. Ruth Dameron

    April 30, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Thank you for the tips! I especially like the alarm reminder to be present! I set alarms for meds, appointments, meetings, etc. I’ve never set an alarm to remind me to be present, or stop and step away to decompress. I’m going to start tomorrow with a few of those to see how it helps me. I really appreciate you being transparent to encourage the rest of us. Love you much! Give my love to Avery!

  12. Kait

    April 30, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    1) Its sent!
    2) This is why I don’t get up at 7… oh wait I need to get up at 7:30 tomorrow for a 9am meeting. *ahem*
    3) I’m so tired right now that my only response to this is…Nice bum. Where ya from?
    4) I’m going to take my regressing-to-my-teenage-years self to bed now.
    5) Why yes I am 100% sober thank you very much. 😉
    Kait recently posted…How to Keep Your Sense of Self in a Relationship

    • chelsea

      May 1, 2015 at 10:23 am

      this is the best delirious comment every kait, nice bum too and i’m from colorado. hahah

  13. Amanda

    May 2, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    Deep breaths are so underrated. I also use them to focus and it really works!
    Amanda recently posted…My Scariest Moment & Other Random Things About Me

  14. Amanda Wood

    May 4, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I love this! I have trouble with being present and loosing track of time. I have my new activity tracker band set up to vibrate when I’ve been idle for an hour. It lets me know it’s time to get up and take a little break. Walk around, get something to drink, and enjoy the time I have.
    Amanda Wood recently posted…Being Grateful

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  16. Kayla

    May 14, 2015 at 11:17 am

    I feel the need to be better at being present in daily life as well. You can feel like there’s always SO much to do and SO much on your plate, but it’s all about time management and prioritization. Thank you for these extra tips on making it happen!
    Kayla recently posted…Why I Don’t Have a Facebook Page (and Big Announcement!)

    • chelsea

      May 14, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      i know that feeling too of so much going on too, kayla! hopefully these tips will help you feel more centered, they are helping me feel like i’ve got a better handle on things )