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5 Ways To Love The Present

5 Ways To Love The Present

The present is certainly fleeting and wonderful, but it can also be a little terrifying sometimes. There are often situations we are faced with that we do not have the tools to deal with. Liz Arch from Mind Body Green is here to share five ways to love the present no matter how scared you are:

Recently, a small black mole appeared on my ankle. I had a sinking feeling when I saw it. A biopsy and a personal call from the doctor confirmed that the spot was indeed cause for concern and I would need surgery to remove a larger section of the surrounding tissue.

I got the news the day before I left to lead a weeklong yoga retreat in Maui. I wouldn’t be able to practice yoga for at least three weeks after the procedure, so the doc told me to enjoy my vacation and we would schedule surgery when I got back. Enjoy my vacation? Obviously, the doctor didn’t know me well enough to know that you can’t say the words melanoma and enjoy Maui in the same sentence.

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My mind instantly started spinning. One moment I was blissfully packing for a trip to paradise and the next, I was packing for what might be the last trip of my life. My thoughts dragged me down a slippery slope of what ifs. What if it’s cancer? What if the surgery doesn’t remove it all? What if I need chemotherapy and lose all my hair? What if I need to have my foot amputated?

Each thought was feeding on the negativity of the last, sending me down a deep, dark rabbit hole. The fact that my mom died last year from cancer only made the rabbit hole deeper and darker. As I boarded the plane to Maui, I asked myself the most important what if. What if I released my fears and allowed myself to be fully present? My retreaters deserved my full presence and so did I. The truth was, I felt great. I could still spread my toes on my yoga mat, stretch my arms up to the sky and breathe in gratitude for the blessing of this moment.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali tells us “Heyam duhkham anagatam.” Pain that has not yet come is avoidable. If we allow our present to be filled with the fear of future suffering, we suffer twice.

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As author and activist Corrie ten Boom beautifully put it, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” There is no more powerful medicine than making peace with the unknown of tomorrow and saving our strength for today.

As I sit here writing this, the dull ache in my ankle from the surgery I had upon my return, reminds me that I am still alive and more whole than ever before. And that rabbit hole? It no longer exists, because this time, the call from the doctor came back all clear.

Here are 5 ways to let go of your fears and embrace the peace of the present:

1. Practice yoga.

Yoga provides a physical outlet for the release of emotional anxiety. The mind has a hard time wandering when you’re firmly anchored to the presence of your body and your breath.

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2. Meditate.

Find a quiet space to sit still and just be. Be present to the sound and sensation of your breath. Observe your thoughts and let them come and go without attachment or judgment. If you feel yourself starting to identify with a thought, simply draw your awareness back to your breath to ground you in the present.

3. Every day, write down three things for which you are grateful.

As Eckhart Tolle says “Pain can only feed on pain. Pain cannot feed on joy. It finds it quite indigestible.” Eradicate your fears by inviting gratitude and joy into your life.

4. Acknowledge & accept.

That which we resist, persists. Sometimes the simple act of acknowledging what we fear is the most powerful way to release us from its hold. If your fears are rational, like a serious illness, first accept whatever the situation is. (Note that acceptance does not mean giving up or giving in!) Use this acceptance as a way to move into positive action.

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5. Try light visualization.

Darkness cannot survive in the presence of light. When you feel dark thoughts creeping in, visualize yourself as light. See a tiny ember of white light glowing in your belly. Fan this ember with slow, rhythmic breaths and watch the ember grow into radiant white light. Let this light radiate out from your center, flooding your entire body in a brilliant bath of healing light.

Liz Arch is the creator of Primal Yoga®, a dynamic yoga/martial arts fusion class that merges Vinyasa yoga with the artistry of Kung Fu and the grace of Tai Chi into a creative and mindful flow. She is an athlete for Respect Your Universe and has over ten years of experience in various yoga and martial arts styles, including Power Yoga, traditional Northern-style Kung Fu and Yang-style Tai Chi. She teaches free yoga to women who are survivors of domestic violence and is a proud advocate for A Window Between Worlds, the only national non-profit organization that uses art as a healing tool for women and children who are survivors of domestic violence. Connect with her online at www.lizarch.com, via Facebook or Instagram.

5 Ways To Love The Present No Matter How Scared You Are | Mind Body Green

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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