It doesn’t matter how many new techniques I learn when working with clients because the most important tool always stays the same. Being present! It is the most healing element to any counselling session. And, the reason it is so powerful is because it does not happen very often in our normal, everyday lives. When speaking with your spouse, you may not feel his presence because he is busy looking at his emails or watching a show on TV. You may not feel like your friends are present because they will switch the topic to something that is bothering them or make the conversation about their problems. You may also be struggling with presence by thinking about your to-do list when spending time with your children or worrying about any number of things when you are suppose to be relaxing at the end of the day.
Presence is paying attention to everything in your immediate circumstance. It is not worrying about the future or feeling regret about the past. Staying present allows you to release anxiety and worries. It deepens your connection to others. And, it will be the reason you can feel so open when talking about personal details with your counsellor. Your counsellor is focusing on your experiences and how you are presenting in this moment to help support you.
How can you start to be more present in your life?
Embrace a child’s point of view and pay attention to the littlest details. When listening to my children, I always get present by looking at the colours in their eyes. I was inspired to do that when my son started calling me “strawberry eyes.” Whenever we are talking and making eye contact, he looks straight in my eyes and points out the red mass at the inner corner of my eyes (I am a psychologist so I do not know the technical term). You can look for something similar when listening to someone important in your life. And then LISTEN. Listen without any judgment. If thoughts about your life creep in, go back to the “strawberry eye.”
If you are spending time with yourself, look for the little details to get you in the present moment. It may be a sound that you are hearing or a smell in your environment. Live your life with all your senses.
By being more present, you will enjoy better relationships and more peace. Find your “Strawberry eyes” today!
Tessa Owner/Registered Psychologist
P.S.- If you have endured a trauma or are struggling with an addiction, being present may not be as easy as paying attention to your senses. You might need the support of a counsellor who will be the one staying present for you. If you need additional help staying present, let’s book a time to chat by clicking here.