Often when we start thinking about the next day, the next year, the next few years and sometimes even the next few hours we begin to worry. We may think about something bad happening at our jobs, with our families or with our health. Some of us may be in a financial situation that needs help or we may be looking for a job, perhaps we had a fight with a loved one. There are so many situations that can put us into a spiral of worry leaving us thinking about the many “What ifs”, the many possibilities of terrible things that could have gone wrong. We may be left thinking the future is bleak or perhaps we are doomed. In times of anxiety we may feel sick, tired, stressed, angry, and hopeless and we may not even be able to function properly because we are just so worried.
I remember a time where so many situations left me with feelings like the ones described above. I often had so many feelings of impending doom that it was hard to concentrate on what was happening in the moment! I would stay awake all night worrying about what was going to happen at work the next day or what someone thought about something I had said in the day. I would worry about getting sick and having nobody to cover my shift at work. I constantly worried my son would get sick. I worried about the health and safety of the children I cared for at work. I worried about finances.
How can we stop worrying about our future? After all, will the thoughts in our head do anything to prevent that terrible thing from happening? Will worrying help us get further in life? Will worrying change a situation that already occurred? Unfortunately, no matter how much we think about something it will not change the outcome. We can only change the outcome with our actions.
Sometimes it is hard to quit worrying. Perhaps being a worrier or terrible anxiety is part of ourselves – we may say to ourselves if I knew how to stop worrying I would. Often in my bad times of dwelling on the past or freaking out about the future, I desperately wished I could stop but I would get caught up in the moment. Then I discovered mindfulness practice.
The act of being aware of the present moments, present feelings without judgment. As my mindfulness teacher one said it is just noticing what you notice. If you find yourself getting really worked up about the future perhaps sit with that for a while taking note of how you are feeling, notice what is going on around you and inside you. Start to live in the moment in the now. Tell yourself you are just going to let it be. Remind yourself that your thoughts will not change a situation.
Take some time to relax in the quiet, maybe enjoy some nature around you, listen to some music or go for a walk and focus on what you see, smell, hear and feel. Then make a plan- what can you do to make your future better? Perhaps you talk to someone about your feelings? Apply for jobs? Ask forgiveness or give forgiveness? Let things go! Once you are able to focus on that present moment I am sure you will feel freer and perhaps even empowered. Remember worrying will not get you anywhere in your journey and will not change the future. So take a deep breath and maybe think of some things you are grateful for at this moment.
I remember a quote I once read that said: Worrying about the future is tempting but useless. Do the best with what you have in front of you and the rest will fall into place. I wish you all a wonderful future and wishing you peace, positivity and relief from any anxiety you may feel.