We hear it all the time. Phrases like “be present”, “stay in the moment”, “be in your body”, but what does that actually mean? If you’re feeling disconnected from your body for any reason, it can be difficult to imagine just what it means “drop into the present”.
The Gift of Presence
Bodily presence is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
With it comes a feeling of groundedness, of trusting your place in the world, of feeling sure-footed no matter what steps you take.
Other perks of feeling grounded in your body? They’re endless.
- Bodily Intuition: When you’re in tune with your body’s rhythms, you’ll notice when things feel a little off, as well as what you may need to remedy that.
- More Energy: Being present in your body means you’re not spending energy trying to get back in touch with it.
- Sleep Better: This is a catch twenty-two, but the more natural energy you have, the more likely you are to have an easier time falling, and staying asleep.
- Better Sex: It’s only natural that the more in your body you feel, the more you will feel in your body. If you catch my drift.
- Happier Overall: Your natural state is to be in tune with your body. When you’re feeling aligned physically, your mental and emotional health will most likely follow suit.
Easier Said Than Done
As nice as it sounds, in theory, to be present in your body, in reality – it’s not always that easy.
There are so many things that can take you out of your body.
One of the biggest culprits is trauma. Whether they be small instances or huge, memorable events that lead to issues like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
It’s not just severe cases of trauma that can take you out of your body. The stress of everyday life, excess screen time, and busy city noises all can cause to feel removed.
Generally, this is an intelligent response on behalf of the body as a means of protecting itself (think fight or flight response), overtime, however, it can backfire, and leave you feeling dissociated.
For people who have experienced trauma, or who have chronic stress or anxiety, there’s a tendency to be in a state of “time-travelling”. Worrying about what happened in the past, or what will happen in the future, makes it nearly impossible to be present at the moment.
Chronic pain and/or illness can also cause someone to feel removed from their body. If you’re not feeling comfortable or safe in your body, it makes sense to dissociate from it to a certain extent.
There are many reasons why someone might not feel present in their body, but what practical steps can you take to get there?
Back in Your Body
- Breathe: An all too common stress response is to hold your breath. But breathing is one of the easiest ways to tap back in. A few deep belly breaths will help ground you in just a few seconds. You can also have a go at these breathwork exercises.
- Pleasure: Sex with yourself, or someone else is an incredible way to feel the power of pleasure, bringing you back home to your body. Try it yourself with these masturbation tips.
- Nature Nurture: Getting outside means fresh air, dirt under your feet, and birds chirping in your ears. Immersing yourself in nature outside, allows you to connect with your inner nature.
- Track Your Cycle: As women and people who menstruate, there’s a natural rhythm and tuning in with nature that happens with bleeding. Try tracking your cycle and seeing when in it you feel the most grounded, ungrounded, etc. Take note that this may not be as consistent if you are on any sort of hormonal birth control.
- Pay Attention: Keep track of what habits or substances seem to throw you off. The big culprits are typically excess caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, and not enough produce. It’s not just what you eat, it’s also who you surround yourself with, what you’re watching and reading, and how you spend your free time.
Notice how pretty much all these tips are totally free?
That’s because it doesn’t have to cost a lot to take steps towards becoming more present. Sure you can go to a Yoga class, or go on a tropical vacation, and those may absolutely help you, but they’re not necessary. The simplest of tools are ones that you already have within.
The Power of Embodiment
There’s a resonance to people who are feeling embodied.
Their words come across clearer. They seem to operate from a place of ease, even in difficult moments. There’s an elegance to their movements, and comfort from their company.
And it’s within us all. We all have the capacity to work towards feeling more present in our bodies. Remember that you may never arrive at a permanent state of presence, but with time and practice, it will feel more natural, and more like your go-to state.
Now take a deep breath, and let it out with a sigh.
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.