Being in the moment is something I’ve come to be quite good at. That’s because most of our problems are either in the past or in the future and not really an issue in the present moment. When I was ill I was focusing on things I’d done wrong in the past, reliving them over and over and transforming them into warped and distorted versions of actual events. In the end the things I regretted were actually a world away from the things I’d done wrong. In much the same way, when I was stressed and anxious it was because of a future I was imagining to be dreadful but in reality was no more than slightly uncomfortable.
My life turned into a vicious cycle of over-analyzing everything I’d done and over-imagining the horrible consequences that would result of these things and it took its toll.
When you can sit down with a clear mind and reflect on this in a rational way it becomes easy see where the problems came from. At the time it sort of took over who I was. It was like being stuck in a swamp of my own thinking and I was too tangled up in the weeds to get myself out. I needed help which as I’ve mentioned many times came in the form of anti-depressants (Citalopram to be specific).
Once they’d started to work I became genuinely interested in learning new methods of thinking to try and help me stay out of the swamp going forward. This is one of the things I learned.
The past has happened, nothing we can do can change history. Reliving negative experiences won’t change what’s been, all it will do is make you feel worse and cause you pain in the now. Let it go. Do what you can make amends but for heaven’s sake, stop torturing yourself.
The future is a figment of your own imagination. We can’t know what’s going to happen – it’s impossible. Dreading what might never occur is a waste of time and in reality all we are dreading is the fear of the unknown. When the time comes to face our fear it is rarely as painful as we thought it would be.
So if we focus purely on the now, deal with the obstacles directly before us and move forward, there is nothing to dread, nothing to regret just a life to live and a chance to make the right choices as often as we are able.
This is where I find myself now.
If I start to dwell on past events I notice it, I acknowledge that the past is the past, I forgive myself (as often as I need to) And I move back to the present and do something to focus my attention on the moment at hand.
If I start worrying about the future, I pause and rewind. I replay a more pleasant version of events in my mind, one where I’m coping with everything the situation has to throw at me. I’m handling the potential obstacles with ease and smoothly dealing with the task at hand. Then I come back to the now and let the future worry about itself.