Is there anything in your life that you’re worried about? Do you often get that unsettled, anxious-fluttering feeling in your gut? Maybe you’re worried about getting everything checked off your to-do list, or about the health of someone you love, or about whether you’re on the right track in your life.
Here’s the thing about worry — it’s ALWAYS about the future. There’s no reason to worry about the past, because it already happened. Maybe you feel regret or guilt or anger over the past, but worry is always tied to the future. Some people try to combat their worry by getting super Type-A and creating detailed plans so they feel like they’re back in control of the situation. Other people try to neutralize their anxiety by rationalizing it according to outside input or past experience. All of these responses are totally normal. But planning and rationalization (essentially, logical approaches) can’t make the feeling of worry go away. In fact, they can sometimes make it worse because they so easily lead to “paralysis by analysis,” which can cause you to sit paralyzed in the fear even longer. The only way to truly stop worrying is to become more present. (Click to tweet.)
There are tons of ways to center yourself into the present moment: you can meditate, do yoga, go for a long walk or run, or focus on your breathing or on your senses. Or you can simply remind yourself that you’re making a decision based on what feels right to you in this moment. That decision may change in a week or a month or a year, but you have to trust your future self to make the best decision when it’s time.
So what are some techniques for getting present that you can do anytime, anywhere? We could give you breathing exercises or affirmations or any of that stuff, but to be honest, they don’t always feel very natural when you’re at work, out with friends, or generally anywhere semi-public. And while it would be convenient to save all of our worry for moments when we’re safely at home without other people around, that’s just not realistic. So instead, try this (either alone or in public): Become hyper-aware of your current situation — really use all of your senses to get the full experience of the present moment. How often do you really listen to the little sounds in your office? Or focus entirely on someone’s voice, and nothing else. Or really stop and TASTE the food you’re eating (food tastes SO good when you’re laser-focused on your taste buds). We tend to live in the future so much that the little details of our present life can get dulled out.
So whenever you’re in that analytical, worrying head-space, try getting in deeply touch with your senses. Then leave a comment to let us know about your experience!
Kristen & Rachel