Focusing on the Future – Anxiety and Depression

What does focusing on the future do for us? If you continue to behave the same, your life will remain the same. Our patterns often exhaust us, leading to emotional tides of anxiety and depression. Today we are going to look at the pattern of anxiety. Often occurring because of a projection, anxiety is experienced in the present, yet is directly correlated to a thought about the future- even if that future moment is in 10 minutes. The “what if” scenario- what if I lose control, what if I’m yelled at, what if I make a fool of myself- the What if’s create anxiety. I won’t leave my house because I am afraid that something bad will happen or I will have a panic attack are all projections.

Do you hear it? The fear of some impending situation, a situation that has yet to be, and the reaction scenario begins- you know what it is like- your heart might race, your palms get a bit sweaty, your head is racing and you feel very alone: difficult to describe to those who have never had those feelings.

I am often asked how can I be in the moment if I need to plan for the future. Yes, we need to plan, to create an idea of something we are moving toward. The best example is the mountain climbing scenario.

You know you want to climb a mountain. You have been thinking about it for a long time. You do all of the prep work to accomplish the task. You get the proper clothing, you train, and you build your stamina for the future climb. Yes, you are looking to the future. Every moment that goes into the plan demands a mindful state of being as you think about what you need to make the climb physically safe and emotionally possible. There are no projections in this story line. It is based on fact.

You have now arrived at the base of the mountain. Having all the equipment you need to begin your climb,  you are aware of your breath and your every move. You are not anywhere else. You are with the mountain. You are with yourself. Projecting into the future, doubting your next step or next pivot point on the face of that mountain puts you into danger. Staying in your breath, counting on your knowledge to make the next connection with a stable point so you can jettison ahead are all part of being one with the self in the moment of the climb.

Life is the climb on the mountain. Life is preparing for the climb. Anxiety keeps us alert and it also stops us. The goal is to break the thought pattern that feeds the anxiety. When you are in the present, and have facts that support the present, there is no room for projection.

When you start projecting, watch what happens to your internal watcher. Do you become filled with angst, anxiety or do you feel disempowered?

Do you want to stop your pattern of projection?

Can you imagine feeding your present state of being by being here and not over there?

Let’s do it.

First step: Believe it or not: your breath. How often we take it for granted. Take in a breath. Hold it. Slowly, I mean slowly, count of 10, exhale. Do this 3 times. What do you notice?

Second Step: A projection comes in: Say to it: Stop IT! Funny right? Now you have the opportunity to change the thought. I am here, right now, I am safe in this moment.  Look around the room for something for you to visually engage in: a picture, your shoes,  your clothing- if  you are wearing something with a pattern, count the times the pattern repeats itself.

Third Step: Check in with yourself. How are you doing? If better, great, if not, no worries, repeat steps one and two.

Oh, and by the way, even when you feel good, this is a great exercise to do.  The more you do this exercise, the easier it will be and the faster it will work.

 

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