An exercise worth trying during any season

As the summer rolls on and time seems to pass at a quicker pace than I like to admit, I realize how important it is for me to remain as present as possible and cherish these days.  We talk about ‘being present’ all the time but I think this concept is as unique for each person as their own experiences.

For me, ‘being present’ is about recognizing an experience, acknowledging my energy, and appreciating my emotional response without getting caught up in interpreting the event or worry about what is going to happen next.  I know this sounds pretty direct but the truth is that it’s not always easy.  However, one of my favorite ways to embrace any moment (even the frustrating ones) is to smile and take a deep breath.

Try it out.  Pause, put a smile on your face, then take a deep breath in.  As you try this, you will become more aware of your body, your emotion, and tension that may be present. If you continue to smile and breathe for a few minutes you will notice that if tension is present, it starts to ease a bit and if you are feeling good to begin with, the smile only enhances your experience to its full capacity.

If you want to see the true magic of this simple exercise, try it during a challenging moment.  For instance; when someone has just said something offensive or hurtful or when something doesn’t go the way you would like.  The beautiful thing about smiling is that even if you don’t ‘mean’ the smile or you feel like you are forcing it, your body and mind respond just as if it is genuine.

So practice this exercise out this summer and remember that being present isn’t just about embracing amazing and beautiful moments; it’s about taking an active part in our own realities and remembering that we are wonderfully complex and thoughtful beings that are full of love, hope, and compassion.

Being present doesn’t have to take a lot of energy or even a lot of thought.  It just takes a moment to be totally real with ourselves and open to an experience.  The more we engage in this exercise, the better our hearts and minds will be to practice love and compassion for ourselves and for those around us.

Even though smiling may not be an exercise that helps you tone up your physical self;  it targets the most important part of our bodies….our heart and souls.   So go get your smile on and be present.  🙂

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