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The Importance Of Being Present

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

“If you must look back, do so forgivingly. 

If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. 

However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present… gratefully.” – Maya Angelou 

In a world that revolves around the “go-go-go mentality”, the simple act of remaining present has become an everyday difficulty for many individuals. While society does not seem to encourage feelings of calmness or stillness, the importance of being present should not be underlooked. Presence is not solely a state of mind; it is the practice of staying actively engaged, open-minded, and mindful during the everyday activities of our lives.

Fundamentally, being present revolves around immersing yourself fully in the current moment, removing any worries regarding the past or future. Mastering this act opens up a new dimension: feelings of joy and an increase in well-being. By entering the moments of the present, emotions of frustration, resentment, and anxiety tend to diminish. In essence, being engaged with life’s current moments allows us to be heavily involved with the array of possibilities that lie ahead, rather than being stuck with the distractions of the mind.

However, due to our fast-paced society, the present has slowly started to become nonexistent. With multiple daily routines such as waking up, going to school/work, and a variety of other tasks we need to accomplish, our brains start operating on autopilot – the days go by in a blink, as do the weeks, months, and years. The pressures of modern life come into play as well, as we are constantly chasing after the next big milestone or achievement in our lives. Additionally, social media has played a massive role in diverting our focus from the present. With individuals posting multiple photos or videos about how they miss a specific time period or are sharing their plans for the future, it becomes challenging to place your focus on what is happening here and now. The endless consumption of this content creates a perpetual cycle that inhibits us from focusing on the moment at hand and rather traps us into a state of distraction.

As someone who is guilty of repeatedly stating the phrase, “time is going by so fast”, I too have struggled with staying present within each moment. Luckily, I have quickly learned that the biggest key is learning to be aware and shifting your attention to what is around you. Whether you’re stuck in traffic, in the shower, or waiting in a grocery line, allow yourself to experience what is happening right now. Start noticing the people, the sights, and the sensations of each passing moment. While this sounds easier said than done, the hardest part is remembering to do so. With consistent practice and dedication, you can rewire your brain into permanently ingraining this habit.

In conclusion, as the infamous Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” He’s correct – being present isn’t a luxury, it is a practice that enables us to take a step back and remind ourselves of where we are. By doing so, we are taking steps to better appreciate our lives and improve our happiness along the way.

Noor is a 3rd year student at UC Davis majoring in Communication with a minor in Accounting. She enjoys watching movies, going on walks, and spending time with her friends. She is excited to be apart of the HerCampus team and looks forward to incorporating her interests and experiences into her articles.