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Ten Quick Ways to Regain Presence and Reduce Stress



In life’s most profound moments, whether at a vibrant concert, within the serene halls of an art museum, or in the intimate circle of close friends, there’s a sensation of pure presence—a feeling that nothing else exists beyond that very moment. That feeling is the essence of aliveness itself, untainted by judgments or preconceptions.

Yet we often unconsciously convince ourselves that we don’t deserve those moments. We prioritize our busyness over this state and in the process sacrifice our aliveness and power. 

The truth is that presence is perpetually available to us, an ever-accessible sanctuary regardless of the circumstances. It’s not a reward to be earned and it doesn’t require a specific setting or attire. The more it seems unavailable, the more crucial it is to carve out tranquil moments, recenter yourself, and regain that presence vital for mental well-being.

All that is required for presence is our willingness.

In this blog, we’ll explore ten quick and easy methods to help you reclaim your presence, reduce stress, support your mental health, and cultivate mindfulness in your daily life. These techniques can be easily integrated into your everyday routine to pave the way toward a more harmonious and balanced life and state of mind. 

1. Appreciating someone 

Cultivating an appreciation for others is a profound gateway to presence. When you consciously acknowledge and value someone’s contributions to your life, whether they’re a friend, partner, family member, or coworker, that practice prompts you to recognize the positive impact others have, fostering gratitude and shifting your mindset from negativity to a more empowered stance

When you focus on anyone and ask yourself what you can appreciate about them and see what they bring to your life it enables your growth. ⁠ The application of appreciation can bring us into the present reality because it requires that we take a moment to acknowledge what is here now. ⁠

Even in complex or strained relationships, finding aspects to appreciate in them can be the first step in transforming your perceptions, grounding you in the here and now. 

Like most things are, it’s easier said than done. It can be difficult, but taking the extra step to practice gratitude and appreciate someone who may be more challenging for you to find appreciation for can often shift our mindset from one that is below the line to an empowered stance. When you accept that everything that happens to you is for your own growth and benefit, you can find the capacity to appreciate even the challenging relationships in your life. ⁠

2. Appreciate something around you

Engaging in the simple act of appreciating the objects or elements in your immediate surroundings is a powerful tool for presence. By consciously directing your attention to the intricacies and details of an object, you can reorient yourself to the present moment. This exercise encourages us to notice the often-overlooked beauty in everyday items, fostering a sense of gratitude and awareness.

This is one of the simplest ways to achieve presence. All you need to do is apply your attention to any single thing around you. 

Find 10 things to appreciate about that item and write a gratitude list! That may sound like a lot, but it’s easier than you think. Use your creativity and find some gratitude for that object. By requiring focus and intention, this exercise reliably brings you to presence. It’s difficult to think about your agenda or to-do list for tomorrow when you are finding 10 days to appreciate your armchair, and that’s the point. Take the moment to be here, now.  

3. Breathe

Take control of what you can control and activate the powerful, life-giving, autonomic functions that your body already has inside of it. Deep breathing will naturally ground you and bring you mental clarity. 

In any given situation you can immediately bring yourself to presence through breath. The way we breathe influences our physiological state and, consequently, our mental and emotional well-being. When you bring attention to your breath—feeling the air enter and leave your body, noticing its rhythm—you immediately shift your focus from distractions to the act of breathing. This redirects your mind away from wandering thoughts about the past or future, centering your awareness on the here and now. 

Deliberate and deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, triggering relaxation responses in the body. As a result, stress levels reduce, the mind becomes calmer and clearer, and cognitive function even improves! When you’re less caught up in stress or anxiety, it becomes easier to maintain focus and be fully present in whatever you’re doing. Incorporating specific breathing techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing or box breathing, can significantly enhance your mindfulness.

Conscious breathing can also help with managing emotions. When we experience emotions like stress or anxiety, our breath tends to become shallow and rapid. Conversely, when you consciously slow down and deepen your breath, you signal the body to relax, which helps in returning to a state of presence and emotional balance. When faced with overwhelming feelings or challenging situations, taking a few deliberate breaths helps create a pause. This pause allows you to respond rather than react impulsively, promoting a more measured and present-focused response.

I challenge you to practice techniques like the four-part breath release—inhaling for four seconds, holding for four, exhaling for four, repeated four times the next time you want to decompress or bring yourself back into the present moment. This technique activates your body’s natural relaxation response, enabling you to center yourself amidst any stressful situation or just plain old daily life.

Incorporating mindful breathing into your daily routine is a presence practice that requires no special equipment, can be done anywhere, and only requires your attention. By cultivating a habit of conscious breathing, you can harness its remarkable ability to ground you in the present moment, allowing for greater clarity, calmness, and a deeper connection with your surroundings and inner self.

4. Meditate consciously

Conscious meditation, in contrast to the conventional perception of emptying the mind, is as a profound invitation to embrace the entirety of our experiences. It’s a deliberate act of welcoming thoughts, emotions, and external stimuli without resistance or judgment. Rather than trying to shut out or suppress these aspects, conscious meditation encourages us to acknowledge and observe them impartially. This practice empowers us to cultivate a profound sense of presence by being fully engaged with whatever arises in the moment.

It’s about learning to coexist with our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings without grasping onto them. Instead, we acknowledge their presence, allowing them to pass through our awareness without attachment. This approach teaches us the art of letting go and consciously returning to the present moment whenever distractions arise. Conscious meditation is not about striving for a blank mind or erasing negative thoughts and feelings, but embracing the richness of the present experience, acknowledging it, and gently releasing it to stay anchored in the now.

If you’re new to meditating, we have resources for you here on! Try out a mindfulness meditation and keep practicing!

5. Get curious

Fostering curiosity about anything—a topic, a person, or even a concept—is a great way to find your way to presence. The deliberate act of asking open-ended questions or exploring unfamiliar territories engages your mind fully in the present. It encourages us to set aside preconceptions, stimulating a heightened sense of awareness and openness to new experiences. 

Try it out! Find any topic to get curious about. Get curious on purpose about a person, or a topic. This doesn’t need to be a big research project but you want to try asking open, honest questions about that topic. Even sitting here and trying to find a question to ask is a presencing exercise.

Don’t judge yourself for how many questions you can come up with. The point is, can you get curious about anything?

6. Drastically change your posture

Our physicality offers a direct gateway to presence. By consciously altering your posture—standing up, uncrossing limbs, looking up instead of down—you actively engage with your body and surroundings. This shift in physical stance prompts an immediate change in your mental state, reorienting you to the present moment and heightening your awareness of bodily sensations. Focusing on your physicality and body sensations and shifting consciously brings you into the here and now. It engages your senses and invites you to live in the tangible, real moment.

This doesn’t have to be a big production. Try uncrossing your hands or feet. Look up instead of down. Shifting your body is a good way to tune into yourself and your environment. 

7. State shifting

State shifting is a powerful technique that can quickly bring you to a state of presence, offering a practical method to ground oneself in the current moment. It involves intentionally transitioning between different sensory experiences or emotional states, redirecting your focus and awareness. This exercise leverages the profound connection between mind and body, utilizing changes in physical sensations or environmental cues to alter one’s mental and emotional state.

By deliberately shifting from one state to another—such as moving from indoors to outdoors, experiencing temperature changes, or engaging in diverse sensory experiences—you can quickly reconnect with the present. These transitions jolt the senses, prompting heightened awareness and attentiveness to the current environment. For example, walking barefoot on grass or experiencing different textures awakens our senses, facilitating a deep grounding into the present moment and the natural world.

The amazing thing about state shifting is the method’s versatility. This method is adaptable in any situation. Try going from dry land into water, indoors to outdoors, warmth to cold. Pressing your bare feet to the ground helps to discharge energy that’s been building up inside of you, especially energy that might come from the world around you, and friction you’re holding onto. Try switching from the warmth of a blanket to a cold water experience in the shower or a nearby body of water! Spending time outside in natural environments will help you get back into flow. 

When you are zeroed in on how your body reacts to your environment, you can achieve a unique state of presence that naturally integrates your inner and outer realities. Acting like a reset button, state shifting interrupts patterns of thought or emotion that may lead to distraction or rumination. It encourages a mindful engagement with the immediate experience, effectively breaking the cycle of mental preoccupation with past or future concerns. Ultimately, state shifting offers an opportunity to connect with the environment and the body’s responses, fostering a deeper sense of presence by grounding oneself in the here and now.

8. Speak Unarguably

Practicing unarguable speech involves discerning facts from personal narratives or interpretations in communication. By articulating statements based solely on observable realities, you direct your attention to the present moment. This form of communication fosters clarity and prevents unnecessary distractions caused by subjective interpretations, thereby anchoring us in the here and now. When you are out of presence, you can get really wrapped up in your own stories, your theories, what you think, your interpretations, what’s going to happen, or what things mean. But when you are in presence, you are attending to facts. To speak unarguably is to be able to distinguish between a fact and a story, and communicate in the language of facts. This form of communication helps focus your mind and body on what is true now, in the present moment. 

9. Exaggerate your current attitude

Acknowledging and expressing our present emotions—whether positive or negative—without judgment is a potent method to embrace the moment. This exercise involves magnifying our current emotional state intentionally, allowing us to experience and process it fully. By doing so, we acknowledge our emotions, creating space for them to exist before consciously letting go, thus facilitating a deeper sense of presence and acceptance.

In this exercise, even when you don’t want to feel like how you’re feeling, you are going to express and embody that feeling in an even bigger, more dramatic way. Feeling angry? Throw yourself on the ground and have a toddler-level temper tantrum. 

This brings you to presence because it is ALLOWING what is here now to be here. You aren’t trying to squash, deny, or “should” your way out of your current state. Experience it, and then you can let it go if that’s what you want. 

10. Get moving

Whether it’s through aerobic exercise, a yoga session, or a walk in nature moving your body is an easy way to ground yourself in the here and now. When you exercise, you become acutely aware of your body’s movements, sensations, and capabilities. Focusing on the physical sensations—like the rhythm of your breathing, the muscles at work, the feeling of your feet hitting the ground—anchors your attention to the present moment. This heightened bodily awareness draws you away from overthinking and redirects your focus to the immediate physical experience.

Physical activity facilitates coordination between mind and body. Whether it’s performing specific yoga poses, lifting weights, or engaging in a sport, the synchronization of mental focus with physical movements demands present-mindedness. As you concentrate on your body’s actions and responses, your attention naturally gravitates to the present, fostering a strong mind-body connection. Exercise has the added benefit of reducing stress and tension. When you’re physically active, your body releases endorphins, neurotransmitters that act as natural mood elevators. This release helps quieten the mind, making it easier to let go of worries about the past or anxieties about the future, thus bringing your focus to the immediate experience of the activity. 

Engaging in physical activities can lead to a state of flow—a state of rich presence where you’re fully immersed and absorbed in what you’re doing. Time seems to pass quickly, distractions fade away, and you become completely engrossed in the activity.  Whether it’s the rhythmic cadence of a run, the deliberate movements of yoga, or the focus required for strength training, physical activity presents ample opportunities to tune into the present moment. By embracing these opportunities and immersing yourself fully in the experience of movement, you can tap into a profound sense of presence and well-being that extends far beyond the duration of your exercise routine.

Integrating physical activity into your daily life not only benefits your physical health but also serves as a gateway to heightened awareness, mindfulness, and a deeper connection with the present moment.

Presence is Conscious Leadership

These powerful tips offer a multifaceted approach to cultivating presence in various aspects of our lives. Integrating these practices into our daily routine enables us to navigate stressors more effectively while fostering a profound sense of mindfulness and empowerment in the present moment.

Our inner work affects our outer world. Presence is the difference between approaching your life as something happening to you versus something happening by you. When life is happening by you, you feel alive. You recognize that you have agency, you have creativity, and you have power. What could be more freeing than that? This essence of aliveness, often experienced in moments of pure presence at concerts, art exhibitions, or in intimate circles, is within our grasp at any moment. Yet, the belief that we don’t deserve such presence or the prioritization of busyness over this invaluable state can lead us to unknowingly sacrifice our aliveness and power. However, the truth remains: presence is perpetually available, a sanctuary accessible despite circumstances or attire—it merely requires our willingness to engage.

With modern life rife with stress, noise, and distractions, carving out tranquil moments becomes essential to recenter ourselves and regain the presence necessary for mental well-being. The techniques explored in this blog offer ten impactful ways to reclaim presence, reduce stress, and nurture mindfulness in everyday life. From expressing appreciation for others and the environment to practicing conscious breathing, and meditation, and getting curious about the world around us, each strategy serves as a pathway to heightened awareness.

Presence isn’t just a state of being—it’s a form of conscious leadership. It’s the distinction between feeling like life is happening to you and recognizing that we possess agency, creativity, and power in shaping our experiences. By integrating these practices into your routine, you can not only navigate stress more effectively but also gain a profound sense of mindfulness and empowerment in each moment. I hope as you journey through life you can embrace the power of presence as a transformative force, so you can live more fully, consciously, and authentically.

Photography by Kelley Raye //

Dr. Caneel Joyce is a CEO Coach and social scientist who helps people break out of the invisible traps and make whole-life changes easily and naturally.

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