Recently, I’ve been struggling to remain happy. It’s normal for moods to fluctuate, of course, but mine have hovered on the darker side of the spectrum for a while now. I’ve been stressed, anxious, discontent, and confused about myself and my life.
After some reflection last week, I realized my problem:
I’m not living in the present.
Sure, it’s a bit cliché–or at least it’s such a common trap to fall into that it seems I should have known better. But alas, I am guilty. I worry so much about the future.
- When will I have enough money saved to move out?
- How much can I put into my savings this week?
- Should I focus on paying off my debt before I move, or is it okay to make saving a priority?
- How can I change my study schedule to maximize efficiency and get my license as soon as possible?
- What will my next job be?
Question after question, worry after worry. Not only is that unhealthy, but it’s exhausting as well. So, once I made my revelation, I decided to chill the hell out.
My life? Is freaking awesome. I’m employed, I live comfortably, my friends are cool and funny, my family loves me, I’m healthy, I have a car, my writing class starts soon, I’m pursuing my dream of writing a book, my faith grows more and more every day. When I make the conscious decision to focus on the now, I am instantly in a better mood.
However, I’m aware that just deciding to do something doesn’t mean it’ll work, so I asked Barlow for help. She gave me a great idea! Set a time limit on how far in the future I’m allowed think. Furthermore, adjust this limit based on the emotion I’m feeling at the time. For example: if I’m going to worry about the future, I limit myself to 1 week. I don’t allow myself to worry about never getting my license, only about keeping to my study schedule for the next seven days.
So far, it’s been helping quite a bit. I nip unhelpful thoughts about what’s to come in the bud, and I do something small to distract myself (like hum a song) until the urge goes away. It’s not super scientific, but it works for me. 🙂
Life is good, and I’m living it the best way I know how. I will continue to do that until I learn a better way, and that cycle will never end.
As basic a piece of advice “live in the present” is, I think everyone needs a little reminder sometimes. So, take a minute or two and really appreciate yourself for exactly who you are, and appreciate your life for all that it is–the good and the bad–exactly as it is.
Until next time!