Being in the moment
A personal story
When I was pregnant with my first child, in common with many first-time mothers, I had considerable anxiety about the birth process. In a book on natural childbirth I found a strategy that was so empowering and valuable that I never forgot it. As well as being THE most important thing to remember when giving birth, this wisdom is universal and has served me well in my everyday life since. The message was: Be in the moment.
The book advised keeping one's mind focussed in the present moment throughout labour, allowing no thoughts about the contractions that had already happened (the past), nor anticipation of the next ones to come (the future). In this way there was only ever one contraction to deal with.
In following this advice, I remained perfectly in control throughout the birth. My energy was not squandered by fear, and the pain never became unbearable. I was in a state that I could have maintained indefinitely. My experience was a good one because I was in a strong coping position. There was no fear or panic.
Being in the moment sets you free
Living in the present frees us up from any concern that might be generated by past experiences or unhelpful information we've absorbed. It also frees us from the pressure of expectations and the fear of what might happen, which could negatively influence us in the present.
Something magical seems to happen when we focus in the 'now'. That is where we are able to access and exert our full power. You too can be more confident and powerful by developing this skill. Here's how...
How to practise staying in the present
To perfect the practice of staying in the present, some self awareness needs to be applied. When you next perform a task, remember to focus and keep your attention on what you are doing. Observe when your attention wanders, and gently bring it back to the task. You may have to do this many times to begin with. Don't worry, it soon gets easier!
If what you are doing is to a time, you can use an alarm clock to help you keep on track, but do not think about the passage of time as you work. When other thoughts intrude, either say to yourself 'later' and refocus, or, if they are the sort that are important to remember, make a quick note of them and return to the job in hand.
Most everday and work tasks are suitable for this practice. Holding your focus in this way will improve your ability to be in the moment and the more you do it, the more adept you will become. Thus protected from distracting and fearful thoughts, you'll also find your efficiency increasing.
When that important time comes...
When it comes to an important event and you apply the practice of being in the moment, you'll be free of anxiety and able to perform better. You cannot change the past and you can only influence the future by what you think and do NOW.
At an important interview for instance, staying in the present, means that crippling thoughts about making mistakes, failing to make an impression or not succeeding, lose their power over you. You will be more attentive, able to concentrate better and respond more quickly as a result. In short, you will be able to do greater justice to yourself and what you have to offer.
Set time aside for problem solving and planning
I am not advocating living in the present all of the time. We all have worries and concerns and need to consider them. Set a certain time aside for this and see if you can do anything positive about what is worrying you. Think about solutions, make plans and preparations where appropriate, then stop. Don't let anxious thoughts bleed into the rest of your time.
You will also need to think about the future sometimes when you are planning and setting goals. It helps to keep a POSITIVE vision of the future you want to create. However, if you tend to think forward in a negative way, or you spend too much time day-dreaming to be effective in the present, you could empower yourself by practising being in the moment.
This Month's Tip
One way to boost your confidence is to be in the company of confident people. Seek them out, be near them, talk to them, observe them, make a friend of them... and some of that confidence will rub off on you!
How to Create an Anchor (Part 2)
Last month I described how to create an anchor so you can access a confident resourceful feeling on demand. Assuming you went ahead and did that, you can now go one step further by stacking a number of anchors in the same way. This means a whole raft of positive feelings can be fired at the same time, whenever you need them!
If you already created an anchor for feelings of confidence, you might want to combine this with other positive states such as: calmness, relaxation, enthusiasm, happiness, powerfulness, success. You can stack each of the desired states on top of one another using the same gesture of touching a fingertip to your thumb as you used before.
Decide which feeling you want to stack next, and find some memories when you STRONGLY experienced that particular feeling. As before, relax, then relive the experience vividly in your mind, using all your senses. Increase the intensity of feeling, and as you begin to peak, bring your finger and thumb together and squeeze. Release your fingers and break the state before you pass the peak. Repeat 4/5 times with other strong memories of the same feeling.
You can then move on to the next positive state, anchoring with the same gesture each time. Don't rush. You might want to add one resource each day until you have completed your stack of anchors.
Should you find the effectiveness of your anchor beginning to fade over time, you can reinforce it by repeating the process as needed.
What's New on the Website
Find out how to de-stress by building a holiday into your daily life. Visit this new page on the website and follow the simple tips to
build your inner resources.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Self Confidence Secrets. If you would like to make comments, offer ideas, suggestions or give feedback, I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think.
See you next month!
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