Most of you would like to experience each day with lightness, happiness and trust. I know I do. You might manage to do that some of the time, but often feel either sad and regretful of what has happened in the past, or worried, anxious and fearful of what might happen in the future. Your thought process tricks you and you are caught up in a negative spiral that impacts your quality of life. You are not living in the NOW.
The irony is that you may feel all of this is out of your control, when in fact, you are creating it. No one else creates your thoughts or feelings. Ultimately you have the power to un-create what is not serving you well. Michel de Montaigne said it well when he said, “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.”
Many times my clients say, “But you don’t understand. I didn’t do anything. They did it to me. I cannot help but feel this way.” That victim mentality does not serve them well and creates a “habit” of blame, distrust, unhappiness and regret. So what can be done?
The way the mind works depends on past experience. We all take in information from the world and filter it though those experiences. That is why two people can be talking about the same thing and see it from two very different viewpoints. Reality is socially constructed. Just look at the POTUS election if you have doubts! Like changing a camera lens, we can decide on the view we desire, wide-angle or zoom. We just need the tools to slow ourselves down and reframe our thinking. We need to live in the NOW.
The following tools may be useful in moving from fear of the future or regret from the past to the NOW.
- Use your feelings (sadness, anxiousness or unhappiness) to help figure out what thought drives those feelings. Typically, it is something, “I won’t have enough money this month.”, “My boyfriend will probably leave me.”, “I am not good enough to apply for that job.”
- Once you have identified the thought, ask yourself to come up with a counter thought that is more productive such as, “I can make it through the month if I am careful.”, “We are having a great time and my boyfriend says how much he cares for me all the time.”, “I have no real idea what the company is expecting, but I have a wealth of experience that may serve them well.”
- These thought will help you get back to the NOW. There is no need to fear the future (it does not exist) or regret the past (it is over and done). Take a deep breath and examine your new feelings.
- Move! Do something with your body to get out of your head. It can be exercise of some type that you really need to think about to execute. When you are putting your thoughts on what you are doing at the moment, you are living in the NOW.
- Practice gratitude. Being grateful is a great way to replace a negative thought with more positive energy.
Once you start living in the NOW you become lighter, more focused, playful and trusting. Happiness follows close behind. You have the possibility to “provide new ways of thinking to create new ways of doing.”