We’ve all heard it before, especially when things get tough… ‘Just take it one day at a time’, ‘live in the now’. But why is that such powerful advice, and more importantly, how do we do that (because sometimes it’s not so much wanting to do something that’s the challenge, but rather knowing how).
So, what’s so great about ‘now’? Did you know that if you’re truly ‘living in the now’ you can’t be doing depression or accessing anxiety?
When we live fully in the moment not only are we connected with those around us and engaged 100% in what we are doing – we are paying attention to the gift of the present and the lessons and treasures therein. Even more powerfully, when we do this we can’t be feeling anxious or depressed; it’s just not possible.
OK, that sounded way too deep and generalised for you didn’t it? But it really is that simple – research and experience in the field proves it.
Let’s break it down so you too can really consider how simply depression and anxiety (chronic or subtle/transient) work, and in doing so, start to avoid heading down those slippery slopes that can demotivate and take us ‘off track’.
Think about the last time you felt anxious. I mean really go back in your mind and experience that… Got it? OK, what were you focusing on when you were feeling that anxiety? Something in the future, right? Specifically, you were worrying about what might come, what might be – some anticipated event and possible outcome. AND you were doubting if you’d be able to handle it ‘correctly’ or well. You made all sorts of images or played out all sorts of scenes in your mind of things going wrong – catastrophically or ‘realistically’ – but all imagined, because it hadn’t happened yet (and probably it never did when the time came too). No wonder you started to feel demotivated and upset! The unconscious mind is a very powerful thing – it acts on the cues you give it and it can be very convincing.
Anxiety robs us of the joy of now, generally out of habit and/or with the ironic intention of this ‘awareness’ making us more successful by preparing us to act now. The problem is we get so tied up in the negative scenarios it can send us into a negative state or spin so that we are actually LESS able of taking action and our negative emotions can start to create a new problem that didn’t even exist before.
So remember – worry and anxiety are like paying interest on a mortgage you may never have. Where’s the sense in that?
When you feel anxious make a conscious effort to stop and ask yourself these powerful questions:
- “What is the worst that could happen?” … Now half it. Now half it again. And again and again until the feeling/imagined scenario reduces and you begin to feel calmer and more in control.
- “What is the best that could happen?” Enjoy imagining that best case scenario too and see how that changes your energy level and thinking about your upcoming event.
- “What is this ‘anxiety’ trying to tell me to do? What is the positive intention/action I can focus on NOW?”
Once you’ve separated the intent from the emotion you are free to let go of it and take action. Power, empowerment and results come from taking positive action and bring you back into the now.
The same is true of depression. Depression occurs when we start generalising negatively about the past so it starts to overwhelm and incapacitate us. By living fully in the ‘now’ in this moment we bring our focus back to what we have and can do, and that action can lift us out of our worry, confusion and negativity.
So remember: live in the now – that’s why its called the ‘present’ – it’s a gift we can give ourselves at any moment and when we do, all sorts of new possibilities become apparent.
Have a positive, powerful week, and stay tuned for part 3: How to fake it till you make it – creating a positive, powerful every-day mind-set.