A Definitive Guide to Staying Present

PRESENTED BY CORNING® GORILLA® GLASS: Mind wandering? Can’t concentrate? There’s nothing like a tough trek to keep you tethered to the present.

Inspiration, Found: Betatakin


Corning® Gorilla® Glass had invited me to document a Southwestern adventure in Navajo Nation. I packed my Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ and got ready to explore the Betatakin Ruins, a 135-room cliff dwelling carved into an alcove by a Pueblan tribe called the Anasazis in the 12th century As the founder and CEO of FitFluential, a health and fitness community, I’ve defeated some excruciating workouts in my day, but nothing snapped me into the now like hiking to Betatakin Ruins.

The descending trail was a 3-mile hike down steep sandstone steps, a challenge that made a stairmaster feel like a cakewalk in comparison. Life was difficult for the ancestral people, who made do with the resources they had. Since a stream runs through Betatakin, the arid sandstone terrain is unusually lush with vegetation. Along the trail were indigenous plants, such as sage, yucca and cliffrose, which the tribe used for healing medicines, wicker baskets and even masonry.

Despite unforgiving terrain, harsh weather and slim resources, the Anasazis remained resilient and connected to the earth. As I slowly brought out my Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ (with Gorilla Glass 4 to help protect it from any “oops” moments on rugged terrain) and began capturing the remains of their living quarters and legacy, I realized I was completely engaged in the moment.

I ended the day with a life-changing perspective, feeling like I wanted to be there fully in each moment of my life, whether I was hiking the wilderness or watching Netflix. Here ‘s how to try it at home.

See alsoGet Your Yoga Outside with Hiking Yoga

5 Easy Ways to Slice Through Distractions and Stay Present

1. Go Outside (Now)

Already there? Congrats, you’re ahead of the game. You don’t have to do much beyond walking out the door and into a natural setting to feel refreshed and cut through mental clutter. According to a study in the International Journal of Environmental Research, merely hanging out in a forested area promotes feelings of vitality. And once you feel alert, you’ll have the energy to lock into the present moment.

2. Sensationalize Yourself

Your mind has a tricky way of taking you out of the present, so try experiencing a situation with your senses. Feeling my fingertips graze the textured sandstone and paying attention to each step was key in shutting down worries, anxieties and frustrations. Instead I had the bandwidth to give my complete attention to our guide and get inspired.

You can practice this outside (feel the breeze against the nape of your neck, hear the crunch of the leaves below your sneakers), at the office (ground your sit bones into your ergonomic chair, take a moment to identify the subtle flavors of your tea) and anywhere else you may possibly be right now.

3. Deploy a Quick Mindfulness Meditation

A quick breath-and-body check deters wayward distractions and shines your attention inward and into the now. Take a comfortable seat, whether perched in a chair or on a floor cushion. Notice how you are currently breathing. Is it shallow? Are you drawing in quick deep inhales? Are you holding your breath? Now, deliberately take a few slow, deep breaths, and trace the trail of your breath in your body. Is your belly expanding at the start of the inhale, followed by expansion of your chest? In which nostril do you feel air coming in and being released? No biggie if distractions arise; get back to the business of following your breath. After 6 to 8 breaths, let your breath go and notice how its patterns may have evolved since you first started. Slowly bring your attention to your body and gently open your eyes. Welcome to now.

4. Strike a Balance

Balance poses are excellent gauges of how present you are—suddenly falling over can be a “gotcha!” indicator of a wandering mind. Try out Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose) or Vrksasana (Tree Pose), and notice if you are veering to one side Don’t do the obvious thing and compensate by throwing your weight to the opposite side. When you are precariously balanced in a pose (or life), focus on pushing your standing leg and/or hand straight into the earth. Then observe how grounding down and narrowing your attention allows your body to remain steady and strong in the air.

See also7 Ways to Create A Yoga Staycation

5. Be a Mindful Photographer

Capturing a momentous occasion or beautiful scene can be an exercise in mindfulness. Social media has us posting about our day on the regular, but we don’t have to be on autopilot when we do it. Before you take a photo, experience the subject in front of you and pick one aspect or feeling you’d like to take from it. And of course, simplify the situation with good tech. Corning scientists brought a mindful and thoughtful approach to designing tests in the development of Gorilla Glass 4 to make sure that it would deliver dramatically improved protection against drops. Now this good tech can help you be mindful in your moments because Gorilla Glass 4 helps protect your smartphone against potential “oops” moments that hold you back from the present.

By following the journey, you can enter to win prizes, including a Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ of your own, a 3-night stay at Miraval Resort for two and a $500 gift card for travel. So, follow @CorningGorilla on Twitter to look for your chance to retweet to win!