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Stay With Today

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I often find myself fast-forwarding into the future. I worry about things that haven’t happened yet or that might not ever happen. This can take up a lot of my time and energy. And I’ve found that, in the end, my worrying usually doesn’t change the outcome, it just depletes me.

Does this sound familiar? We can have the tendency to get into our heads and ruminate (or obsess!) about ways to fix or prevent things that are not within our control to change. But, wasting today and worrying about tomorrow doesn’t actually make us more prepared to deal with the problems that we’re worried about (if they even arise). And if they do arise, our hurt will not be any less just because we spent time worrying about them! The only guaranteed outcome of our worrying is that we will be exhausted. Because all of our “preparation” just prolongs our suffering.

Some of you might be saying, but Daniela, even if my worrying doesn’t prevent the outcome at least I won’t be caught off guard. But the truth is that there is no way for us to anticipate everything that might happen, so we will eventually be caught off guard no matter how much we’ve “prepared.”

So how can we turn this pattern around? Lately, I’ve been using the mantra “stay with today” to help me stay on track. Rather than trying to anticipate or change the future, this mantra encourages me to stay present in the moment and focus on the things that are within my control. It is also a reminder that if my feared outcome does happen I will be able get through it. Even though I may not want that outcome, I do have the tools to manage it and worry is not one of those tools.

This is not an easy task. Our brains are hardwired to scan for danger and strategize how to keep ourselves “safe.” But with consistent practice we can pave new neural pathways to help shift this behavior. So when you catch yourself in the act of worrying about the future, I encourage you to can gently remind yourself to “stay with today” and deal with tomorrow when it comes.  

Check in with me in the comments or on Facebook to let me know how it goes.

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