One of the keys to overcoming depression and anxiety in our lives is the ability to be in the present moment. You might be thinking, “That won’t change my past” or “That won’t solve my problems.” Yes that is correct because we cannot relive our past and most of our worrying does nothing to solve the problem. Ruminating about mistakes in the past only brings us down, and worrying takes away the peace of the present moment.
Maybe you tried a mindfulness exercise which helps for 15 minutes be in the present moment, but your problem is waiting to greet you when you arrive home. How do we escape the inner critic or fears that seem to follow us around daily? Here are some practical strategies to stay in the present moment.
Take a worry break: Take a set period and think about all your worries. Next, write down all the actions you can do to reduce or manage the worries. Put these actions into a calendar. Now write down the the worries you have no control over. Address the worries one day or moment at a time. You now have an action plan to address your worries. When you are not in a worry break or there is nothing else you can do to manage your worry at the time do not continue ruminating about the future!
Resolve any troubles from the past: What is lingering from the past thats bothering you today? Whether it is a trauma, financial mistake, or opportunity you missed out on, ask yourself “what is a step I can take today to resolve this?” Rather then ruminate on the past, it’s time to take that action step forward. This might mean involve reaching out to a therapist or counselor for the support. Like the worry break, when you are not taking action towards resolving the past it’s time to stay focused on the life in front of you.
Take one task at a time: When you have 20 things that need to get done, life can get overwhelming. The problem is we cannot do 20 things at a time and we don’t perform at one task when thinking of the other 19. Instead put the priority of the things that must be done today and concentrate at the task at hand. The other tasks will be taken care of when the time comes.
Stop the procrastination and avoidance: Some things in life will always be unpleasant and the quicker we take care of them, the quicker we can get back to the things we enjoy. Rather that dwell upon errands all day, take of them sooner and reward yourself. This also applies to specific fears. It may be time to confront the fear rather then avoid. Avoiding the uncomfortable conversation you need to have only keeps the problem lingering around or make it worse.
Have meaningful or enjoyable activities daily: Speaking of rewarding yourself, the whole purpose of this article is to get back to enjoying life. In order for that to happen you need to be living the life you were born to live! Spend daily time present in those activities that bring value or meaning to your life. This is also a challenge to try new activities or meet new people that will bring joy to your life.
Again, working with a trained therapist or counselor is a great way to practice these strategies and take in individual circumstances. The past is behind us and the future is never guaranteed so lets focus our time and energy on the present moment.