Do you still fret over something that happened yesterday, or worse yet, something that happened months or years ago? Does the thought of tomorrow or next month bring anxiety? Chances are these emotions are fettering you into paralysis. In my practice I see so many people immobilized by stress and fear for things gone by or things to come.
Here’s a new perspective. We as humans tend to like control. So here is a fact – we can no longer control the past. It has already occurred. It in actuality does not exist anymore – except in our minds. And we do not control the future as it does not exist yet either. What we do have control over however is NOW, or in other words the present. These stressed out folks miss out on now by worrying so much about what I call ‘then’ (past) or ‘yet’ (future) events. How sad that we would give up our control in such a manner.
For past events, they are done. Let them serve you as learning opportunities. If you didn’t like what happened, or if you thought something could have gone better then process the past event for just that. As much as one may fret over it, will it ever change? No! But you can, in the present moment, make adjustments so you move on from a perhaps not great experience. If you are holding on to a past glory, you can prepare for bigger better glory moments by being actively engaged in the present. This is what you have control over.
For future events, they haven’t happened yet. Control will not come by jumping over the present time and trying to wrangle an outcome from the future. The future is built upon consecutive ‘now’ moments. Think of living in the present moment as building the road that will lead you to the future. You are the builder of that future. If you try to jump ahead you will find the result you are trying to control slip through your hands like grains of sand.
If you should find yourself feeling anxious over past or future events, here are some tips:
- Take a look at the past event and see what is emotionally affecting you. Create a learning opportunity so you can make changes now.
- If you are anxious about a future event, imagine it going perfectly. And then think about steps you can take now to help build that road to your desired outcome.
- Write down your thoughts. When you can see your thought process in black and white it helps to withdraw it from your mind where assumptions and emotions can skew your contemplation of the event.
- When you are feeling emotions that do not feel good, ask yourself “Does this serve me?” Chances are those thoughts do not serve you and keep you anchored in the past stress or future fear. Create a present thought that will support you to live in the present moment.
- If you struggle with being present in the moment look for things around you that make you smile. This can be petting your cat, watching a butterfly outside, or going for a walk. By viewing things currently around you, you can help reset your mind to the present.
Take control of what you can – the present moment. This will help heal you from past discretions, prepare you for future success, and make you feel alive. Your mind and stress level will thank you for it!