What causes anxiety for most people? To put it simply, it’s their fear for the future. For children, they may have anxiety based upon entering a new school once they graduate from their old one. They’re scared of the possibility of not making any friends at their new school and getting good grades as well.
For young adults, their anxiety may come from fear about their future career and when they will be able to move out of their parent's house. Lastly, for older adults, their anxiety may come from fear of how they will be able to retire.
All of these different age groups fail to do one simple thing that can help them to be a happier and more stress-free person. All they need to do is to live in the present moment. You’ve probably heard this from many motivational speakers or even your therapist.
It sounds simple to do but why do so many people have a hard time doing it? They find it hard because during the span of their life so far, they always thought about the future. This anxiety begins to creep into our minds from a young age when we’re asked the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
Most of us, when we were younger had typical answers like being a superhero or the president but after a while, we start to give answers that are politically correct. We act like we really know what we want to do and we try to make that career sound as professional as possible.
We’re afraid to be judged by the next man because for some reason we think that the person who is asking us has their life together. The truth of the matter is that they’re not perfect and they may be in a career that they don't even like.
Living in the present moment is the worldwide cure for people who deal with anxiety but it’s something that takes some getting used to. Doesn't that sound kind of crazy? Most of us need to practice how to enjoy the present moment but hey, you’re not alone in this fight.
It’s Easier to Focus Now
So, as you’re reading this article I want you to look at what’s in front of you right now. You may be reading this from your phone or your computer, just noticing what device you’re using is a start.
Now look at the environment you’re in, are you at home on your couch, or are you in a coffee shop surrounded by jazz music and people using their technological devices as well?
As you can see, it’s not that hard to focus on what’s going on around you, all you have to do is build the strength to look at what’s in front of you rather than what’s not.
This is the problem we as humans have as a collective, we tend to focus on the material possessions that we don't have in our lives yet like a certain car, a certain amount of money, or even a certain lifestyle. The more we think about those things we don't have, the more stressed out we get about the future.
There’s no guarantee that we’ll have these things in the future and there are a lot of obstacles in your way as of right now that are preventing you from getting those things. Do yourself a favor and look at what’s in front of you.
What can you control in the present moment? You can control your mindset, your thoughts, and your actions. Since you think about the future so much start taking steps in the present that will help you get the future that you want.
You can actually control more than you think in the present moment, it’s up to you how controlling you're going to be. If you’re in a bad mood, switch that emotion by controlling the way you’re thinking. Start telling yourself more positive things and eventually you will be in a good mood.
Again, nothing is promised in the future so you might as well live with what you have now and be happy with it. Many of the things we have in our life now can actually make us more fulfilled than we think. You’re able to be on a device that allows you to read different articles like this and allow you to surf the internet whenever you like.
It’s Easier to Be Thankful in the Moment
How can you be thankful for the future when it’s not even here yet? You have so many blessings in front of you that you take for granted every day. Yes, you’ve got used to the materials that are in your life now but you should give them some recognition every now and then.
When you’re able to count the blessings that are in front of you, you'll be thankful for the life you’re currently living. Think about the people who don’t have anything, do you know how thankful they would be to have at least half of your blessings.
Just like how you took notice of the things that are right in front of you, it’s time to show your gratitude towards them too. If some of these things are tangible items then you can clean them or polish them. This is how you show care to your tangible items, simply by taking care of them and making sure they’re functional.
Let’s say that you got a new computer this year and you want to show your gratitude towards that computer. You can get a microfiber cloth and some computer spray and wipe down the laptop until it’s clean. You can also delete any unneeded files you may have on the laptop to clear up some space.
If you want to show your gratitude towards intangible things like your mental health, you can do this by meditating and thanking God or the universe for everything you have now. It’s so much easier to count the blessings you have in front of you rather than counting the ones that aren’t in your life yet.
There are more blessings to come and there are some that will go, as long you stay thankful for what you have now and what you did have in the past, they will keep coming like a cycle.
All good things come to an end but they also have a beginning as well. Remember this the next you find yourself anxious about the future, it will remind you of how powerful the present moment is.
You Can Look Into the Past Up Until the Present
You should look into the past when you find yourself thinking about the future so much. You’ve accomplished so many things up until this present moment and you should be proud of it. Of course, you’ve made some mistakes that you wish you can take back but everyone does.
You can’t look into your future and see all that you’re going to have and then think to bring it back into the present moment. It’s okay to visualize the future that you desire but this takes time and you will have to be patient.
One thing that is good about the future is it teaches you how to be patient. Nothing you truly desire comes overnight. Your life is different from others and it always will be, do your best not to compare your life to anybody else's.
Focus on the present moment and do the best you can with every action. Look into the past every once in a while for motivation, you will see how far you’ve come in the process.
The present moment is all that you have and until the future does come you have no other choice. If you think really deep into what the future is, it’s actually the present moment of the life you thought of in the past. I’ll leave you with a quote from Mike Murdock that says
“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”