How to Practice Being More Present

Over time, our behaviors turn into habits and these habits make it hard for us to be in a state of awareness. Learn to be more present by using a noticing practice.

By Erin Baute, PhD(c), MPH

Our Brain and Behavior Patterns

Over time, our behaviors turn into habits and these habits make it hard for us to consciously, or in a state of awareness, recognize what we do, what we say, how we act, how we feel, and so on.


Let me give you an example… 


Think about driving to work, school, or the gym every day.  You might drive this same route a lot. Have you ever gotten to your destination and didn’t remember taking that last turn or getting off on the exit?  


Our brain is monitoring all of our patterns as a way to find areas where it can reserve energy in the event we need those precious reserves for our coping responses. We develop these patterns as early as childhood, which means we have decades of how we move in the world hardwired into our subconscious mind.  


This is where we can start to see our Enneagram type shows up, sometimes even when we don’t mean to because these patterns have learned to take over and drive to save us time or energy. So, if we want to make changes to those patterns – say, we want to drive a new way to work or the gym, we have to pull up those patterns into our conscious mind and bring them into our awareness.

In order for us to change our habits and the patterns of our Enneagram Type, we have to practice paying attention and consciously shift into new patterns.

What Is a Noticing Practice?

Think about that new route I wanted to take, and I needed to pay attention at every turn, so I don’t get lost.  I am going to have to stay really alert – I can’t rely on my patterns to get me there, at least not yet! 


This is the same work we must do with our Enneagram type – it is to recognize that the construct of our type is, in fact, my most limited pattern behavior. It’s my most practiced habit. 


In order for us to change our habits and the patterns of our Enneagram Type, we have to practice paying attention and consciously shift into new patterns. This is where practicing presence becomes an important ‘new’ habit to develop, because if we want to make changes to any of our old or unhelpful habits, we first need to learn how to pull those patterns into our awareness. 


Our consciousness experiences are like a muscle. Just like with any exercise or practice, the more you commit to it, the greater the results you will see. 


Enter a noticing practice…


A noticing practice can take me up and out of those habits and give me more tools to use at that moment. We first start by changing some sort of physical component in our body, it might irritate us just enough to keep us awake (aware) in terms of our behaviors. 


To start your noticing practice, start by moving something on your physical body to a new place. If you wear a watch on your left hand, put it on the right hand. If you wear a ring on your left hand, maybe put it on the right hand. Shift something on your body that would irritate your consciousness and your subconsciousness just enough to go, hmm, that’s not where that belongs.


I might be used to wearing my watch on my left arm, so I go to look at it and I’m like, oh it’s over here. And so all of a sudden, I can recognize I am actually in a state of awareness. I’m in the present moment because I’m recognizing something is different about my physical state.


And in the moment of recognition, I can take stock of- what do I think right now? How are the situations and the people I’m with making me feel? What is my body telling me about it? What am I sensing? What does my intuition say? 


It’s within this moment where I can reconnect to this broader scope of who I am.  And I do this over and over and over again throughout the day, and eventually what is happening in the moment is more in concert with how I want to be and I can start identifying what I want to re-pattern or release. 


Just like with any exercise or practice, the more you commit to it, the greater the results you will see.  Eventually, you won’t need your watch or ring to pull you awake – you’ll be able to do it on your own.  It just takes strength-training this new muscle.  


This noticing practice may seem small, however it might be the most uncomfortable thing we do at first, because it’s really going to disrupt our habits. That’s exactly what it’s meant to do. So, pick something to move and get started noticing all these new experiences, thoughts, and feelings you have throughout the day! 


Here is a resource that might be helpful in capturing what you notice: 


Starting a Noticing Practice


Or, if after reading you feel like it’s clear as mud (), watching this free masterclass may help some of the pieces fit together better: 


Practicing Presence Masterclass


You’ve got this!

Erin Baute helps entrepreneurs, business owners, managers, and influential people find their way back from the personality burnout experienced when our coping strategies get overused and our intuition ignored. She is a skilled business coach and behavioral strategist with over 20 years of experience in behavior change and professional development with individuals and teams. Erin earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Development, Master of Public Health and is finishing her PhD in Organizational Psychology, with a focus on personal and professional development using personality as a framework.

Erin has been studying and using the Enneagram for almost 13 years. She is a Certified Enneagram Teacher and Trainer, and an Accredited Enneagram Professional from the International Enneagram Association.

She is working toward her Somatic Experiencing practitioner certification to help her clients make lasting body-based changes and improve her ability to help them find holistic coping strategies for who they are, today.

Instagram: @livingtheenneagram

YouTube: Living the Enneagram 

Free resources

Spread the word

  • No comments yet.
  • Add a comment

    Medical Disclaimer: All content found on the HER Health Collective Website was created for informational purposes only and are the opinions of the HER Health Collective experts and professional contributors. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.  If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.