The Future of Worry and How to Stop It
Anxiety About The Future
Do you catch yourself distracted by fears and worries? You might think of what might happen if you don't do something or make a certain mistake. Maybe you lay awake at night overthinking about what may come tomorrow at school, work, or with a friend or your spouse. Does "what if" rule your mind most of the time? Anxiety lives in the future. We worry about the future and the unknown. Sometimes, this can help us to think ahead and be prepared, but often times we worry about things that never happen and may be the worst case scenario. We worry about our future self, not what is happening to us right now.
Focusing on the present moment can help you to stop worrying about the future and reduce your anxiety. Practicing Mindfulness in the moments of worry can help you take you out of the uncertainty of the future and bring you back to the current moment where you can choose what to focus on. Stay present by noticing your senses and what is going on around you. You can practice this now... take a look around, what do you see, what do you smell, what do you hear, what might you taste, what do you feel - both physically and emotionally? Try to notice what is going on without judgement. You are accepting what is happening right now and only right now.
Focusing on the present may be hard to do when your anxiety feels out of control. What if you start to think about something else or control to think of the things you are worried about? That is okay, do not give up. The more your incorporate Mindfulness into your everyday routine, the easier it gets. Start with just a few minutes at a time. Practice mindfulness in a peaceful place, such as while taking a walk outside. Then begin to try it in different times of the day, such as while stopped at a stop light when driving home or while eating a meal.
Imagine Having a Clear Mind
Still having trouble focusing? That is okay, and is often the case when feeling anxious or depressed. Some people like to use imagery and visualizations when practicing mindfulness. To clear your mind, start by imagining your kitchen sink is full but instead of dishes it is full of what you are worrying about. Imagine yourself pulling out the drain stopper and all the worries begin to drain away. Turn on the water, rinse them down, and wash your hands of them. Then continue to focus on the current moment. If other thought pop up, that is okay, do not judge yourself, it is only natural. Imagine yourself turning on the faucet and washing them away.
Don't like that visual? Try imaging yourself relaxing on the side of creek on a beautiful day. Think of all you can notice with your five senses. Visualize your worries landing on a leaf on the water and watch them float away down steam and out of sight. Or imagine yourself looking up in the clouds and placing your worries there, acknowledging how you feel and them letting them move along and dissipate with the weather patterns. Let your worried thoughts and feelings pass like a storm.
Enjoy The Present
Anxious worries focus on the future. But no amount of worrying will change the future or fix any problems. Focusing on the present can stop worrying can help you relax or be productive. Incorporate Mindfulness and being present into your daily life and over time you can reduce your anxiety. Being present and mindful can help you enjoy each moment.
Contact Me for Counseling for Anxiety
If you struggle with anxiety and your worries seem out of control, a therapist can help you take back control of your mind and live more comfortably. If you are in Texas or Missouri, contact me to set up a free 15 minute phone consultation to learn more about online counseling for yourself (or a child, teen, or other loved one you know) and ensure we are a good fit. Contact Calm Centered Counseling now at 502-430-CALM.