Bitesize Health Hack #3

You are invited to…

Just Be

Presence is the greatest healer of all. It’s the ability to be here in this very moment, free of all the conflict that your both your survival and thinking brains heap upon you. The good news is that you don’t need to be a buddhist monk meditating on a mountain and living only on the air you breathe to get present. In fact, you’ve probably experienced presence before – it’s that floaty feeling at the end of a good yoga class, or when you’re in flow with something creative or being squeezed by little child-arms around your neck. It’s that feeling that in this moment, everything is just as it should be.
You don’t even have to spend 20 minutes a day on meditation – as much as that would help you to practise presence, remember we’re going for bitesize and easy here! All you really need to do is get out of your head. Easier said than done I hear you say… which is why today we’re going to do a little embodiment exercise. Embodiment (where we bring our awareness into our body rather than with the incessant chatter up in our heads), is a great way to neurologically bypass both your survival instincts (fear-based reactions) and over-analysis to connect directly with the very essence of you - that wisest part of you - the part that truly knows what it is you want from life and helps you to take actions aligned with that purpose.
But this is something best experienced, so all you need to do this week is take a comfy seat and enjoy the audio recording below.

Presence 4 Science four-rock-formation-668353


Get Present for 5 to 10 minutes each day with a guided recording.


The Challenges

OK, you’ve tried some form of meditation or mindfulness and it was boring and annoying and you just wanted it to end? Or is trying to ‘empty your mind’ just impossible? The good news is that you don’t have to empty your mind, or be zen, or even think pure thoughts. You can think about doughnuts if you want.   What is important is that you are able to observe your thoughts.  So instead of thinking about doughnuts, it's more like you're noticing (maybe with some curiousity) that you're thinking about doughnuts.  And if you don’t, it really doesn’t matter - it's more about the journey - for now just stick with listening to audio or noticing what's going on in your body.  Let go of any expectations and gift yourself this opportunity to just sit and let whatever unfold.

No time? You’ve probably heard the old adage “If you don’t have time for 20 minutes meditation each day, then you probably need 2 hours.” The bad news (in my experience) is that this is completely true. Having struggled a consistent mindfulness practice myself I get it... but, but when I do spend even 10 minutes just getting present (in any way), the results are incredibly powerful - I am motivated, productive, creative, happier, less pissed off and generally nicer to be around. And all it takes is 10 minutes a day. Isn't that worth a try?

No quiet place? OK, I get it, you can’t even go to the toilet in your house without a kid or a dog trailing after you? Or teens playing loud music? I eventually realised if I waited for the perfect moment, it invariably never happened. So now, I just let go of all those expectations and just get on with it regardless of the noise, the interruptions and the stresses of the day. If I am interrupted, I just smile sweetly (wallowing in my woke zenness), respond as needed and let myself slip back to Presence (it wasn’t always like that).

Don’t like the sound of my voice in your audio recording? That’s totally cool, there are countless mindfulness apps online, so listen to a few till you find something where the words and the voice resonate with you. When you find some you love, save them on your phone to grab whenever.

Not sure when is the best time? Well, really that is up to you. First thing in the morning can set you up for the day, last thing at night could mean a deep and lovely sleep. Or maybe you just have to grab it where you can. But scheduling it into your calendar or attaching it to another daily habit (like just before or after brushing your teeth) might help ensure it happens.


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My take on the


(if you’re all about “But why…?”)


I want to keep today’s hack experiential, rather than theoretical.
But I also want to briefly touch on a (hugely oversimplified) neuroscientific aspect of embodiment that makes it such a powerful Presencing Tool. Presence is simply living consciously in this moment, grateful and aware of everything it has to offer. Embodiment occurs when you direct your attention inwards to your body. It could be as simple as noticing an uncomfortable sensation somewhere or focusing on your breathing like we did in Hack #1.

When you become embodied in this way, you effectively bypass that subconscious survival part of your brain (which reacts instinctively through habit to protect you) and start to connect to your ‘true self’ or ‘higher consciousness’, where you experience true clarity and wisdom and take action with consciousness and intent (ready to break those bad habits anyone?). Here you are wise and powerful, beyond all the limitations of your survival and logical brains. Here is where the magic happens, except that it’s also science.


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There are none today as this hack is about being, not thinking (ok, also, if I was to even begin to cross-reference the studies on the benefits of mindfulness properly, I would be here for 3 years and nobody would hear from me again).
If you follow me and my hacks, Presence is definitely something we’ll be touching on time and again. But if you can’t wait to find out more, there are countless studies on the effect of meditation and mindfulness on health and should easily be found by a google search. You can also read and research around neuroscience, embodiment and presencing.