Present Living for Negative Feelings
RESOLUTION: Live more presently!
Have you ever expressed feelings of helplessness, anxiousness, worry, doubt, frustration, stress, depression, etc? More than likely your answer to this question is YES, but there is varying degrees on this spectrum of ‘YES.’ It is critical to understand that these feelings can certainly be a symptom or result of recent trauma or a mental health condition. However, these feelings often can arise when you are not living presently. “What does that even mean?” you ask.
Well let’s see. The first thing you want to do is take a quick assessment of yourself. How often are these feelings manifesting in your life?
- Always (every day)
- Often (5-6x per week)
- Sometimes (3-4x per week)
- Occasionally (1-2 per week)
- Almost Never (0-1x per week)
Once you have determined the frequency of the feeling(s) you have, try to make an assessment of how “heavy” the feeling settles on you when it occurs. Does it feel like the weight of perhaps a simple handbag or change purse? Perhaps a backpack or satchel? Maybe a large luggage tote with no wheels? Or a boulder? The “heaviness” of your feeling can a be true indicator on how present you are in your life.
Imagine yourself on a mountain top.
Living in the past is like looking back down the path you took to get to the spot you are standing right now but allowing yourself to back-track instead of enjoying the view at the top. Allowing the past to show up in your present can manifest itself as feelings of worry, anxiousness, depression and so on. Just as Certified Health Coach Karen Kennedy writes, “Thinking fondly about the past and looking back at the way things used to be isn’t a bad thing until it is.” Sometimes we live in the good times and others we choose to relive the bad. Either way, the past is meant to be left as just that, the past.
On the flip-side, looking at the trail that lies ahead is like looking into the future. Looking into the future is a critical component of being a human being. Thinking of the future can give us hopes as you begin to plan, strategize and imagine, all of which are skills that you often use on a regular basis. But, these skills, if remained “turned on,” can lead to anxiousness, doubt, worry and so much more. But a skill of someone who is living presently is the ability to turn off the “future planning self” when it is time to do so and simply be. Be in the present moment.
As could be predicted, living in the past and future can greatly impact your ability to live presently even on a neurological level. According to the Harvard Business Journal, similar parts of the brain including the pre-frontal and medial temproal lobes and other posterior regions are activated when recalling past events and thinking of events that could happen in the future. Coincidence? I think not! But the question still remains, how do you get rid of this excess weight or baggage that you are carrying? Well, your brain, much like a muscle, must be consistently trained to maintain healthy habits that make it strong in the areas you wish to see improvement and growth. Here are three quick tips…
Don’t think. Just do.
This doesn’t mean that if someone tells you to jump off of a bridge that you just go and do it. However, what it does mean is that sometimes our minds can take over, and we begin to overthink every little thing. We think too much about the what ifs, should haves, could haves, and so on, instead of simply just doing. So, free yourself of the thoughts and feelings that weigh you down here and now, and just go with the flow. Let life happen.
Let it go.
Not everything or everyone in your life is meant to be controlled, so stop trying to control it. Holding on to truly unneeded people, places or things can only weigh you down more. So let go of this unnecessary baggage you have been carrying and let things manifest on their own because as the sayings go, “what is meant to be will be” and “when one door closes, another door opens.”
Live it up!
To continue the sayings, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” In order to live in the moment fully, it is so important to find ways to feel alive. So, maybe you do go jump off that bridge after all, or possibly you have other things on your bucket list. Whatever it is, big or small, allow yourself to be at full attention of the present moment. Notice your feelings and thoughts without judgement and just LIVE!
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey