Taking regular time to be present to yourself can teach you ways to take care of yourself and how to sit with uncomfortable feelings or emotions. If we start to become aware of what we are feeling during good or neutral times, then it will be easier to do this in times of strife. Being mindful of what is happening internally can be done simply and at any time, so try these suggestions to get yourself started.

Spend some time outside. Go to a park or nearby nature reserve and sit quietly alone. Notice what it is like to be there: what you are thinking, seeing, hearing and feeling. Ask yourself some questions such as “what is it like to be alone here?” or “how do my thoughts distract me from being in the moment?” Being in nature is revitalising and refreshes the mind and spirit.

Spend a quarter of an hour in a private space with no distractions and do nothing. See what it is like to do nothing and be aware of what feelings arise when you are doing nothing. Do you find yourself wishing the time away or is it comfortable? Does your head take you straight to your to-do list or are you able to empty your mind? Noticing these things will allow you to become more aware of your thoughts, feelings and reactions resulting in increase compassion for yourself.

Watch a film or listen to a piece of music that touches you. Do this with the intention of observing your feelings at all times. See if there are small changes in the way you feel physically or emotionally. See how you respond to those changes and whether you try to avoid them or embrace them. If you find that you tend to avoid them take notice of that, breathe deeply and stay there. See what happens when you don’t avoid the feelings.

Offering yourself the gift of presence has ripple effects throughout your life. When you get present to  yourself, you get present to those around you, allowing an offering of empathy and attention. Showing yourself that you are valued allows others to feel valued by you too. Take a moment to get present to yourself and see how it changes your relationships.