Living For Today, Stuck In Reverse Or Forward Focused?
Learn From What Has Already Happened
None of us want to make the same mistakes over and again when it comes to our health, but unfortunately all too many of us often do. For example, how many times have you said to yourself: “I’m not going to drink that much when I go out with friends, I’ve learned my lesson. I had a terrible headache or felt sick for a few days and don’t want to go back there again”. Yet what happens? We get carried away in the moment and regret it later. While it is true that you should live more for today, you need to learn from what has already happened (what doesn’t work) in order to really enjoy today.
Many of us don’t want to spend too much time thinking about the kind of mistakes we have made; let’s face it, they’re over and done, and there’s nothing we can do about them except learn from them! There is little point in reliving them and continually rehashing them, learn from them and then move on. If you worry too much about what has been, your misgivings may well end up a source of much frustration, and the things you’ve done that you are not proud of may even make you fearful of failure in the future. In short, they could make you anxious or even very insecure, so its best you learn from them, then forget them and move on. Tell yourself: “Next time I’ll do it differently” instead of “I was so stupid, I shouldn’t have done that”.
There is nothing wrong about thinking of the past, enjoying your achievements, but remain focused always on the present – it’s the world you live in right now. Many people daydream and think about what happened some time ago, what they said, how they felt and what they did, how others treated them or how they treated others. Some think about the happy moments they experienced a long time ago and don’t think enough about today, focusing on today’s negatives rather than today’s positives. OK, so maybe you did have some happy moments in the past, and you may be forgetting the not so pleasant moments as well. You will have experienced stressful times, happy times, boring times and times when you felt exhausted and sick as well. But the question is this: Are you happy today? If your life seems to be dull and boring or stressful, then it’s really up to you to do something about it! You are the captain of your own ship, not a passenger.
Forget about the past, it is gone, memories may remain of people and events, but today – the right here and now – is what you want to spend your time thinking about. TODAY, make the most of it.
Live For The Moment – Live Your Life Today
Did you know that your mind does not know the difference between an event that is real or an event that is imaginary? Maybe you can’t change what happened yesterday, but you certainly can change how you feel about it today. You can also imagine that today is great, and that tomorrow will be even better.
You’ve probably read things like “You’re as happy as you make up your mind to be”, but it is true. If you “think” happy, you are more inclined to feel that way, but more importantly, people will see you as a happy person and be attracted to you. You will have a LOT more friends and influence people too. What do you do when you meet somebody who is NOT happy, somebody who is anxious, worried, somebody who doesn’t smile or say nice things about themselves or others? I’ll bet you can’t wait to get away from them, the same thing others will want to do to you if you feel that way. Makes sense?
Enjoy the day you’re living in. Wake up in the morning with confidence, and a feeling that the day is going to be the best you have experienced for a long time. Think for a moment just how GREAT it is to actually be alive today, think of all the amazing opportunities you have to shape your own destiny! Relax. I have been clinical practice for a long time, and seen many chronically unwell patients over that time, I’m just happy to be alive and well at 54 years of age. Have you heard of the motivational speaker called Dale Carnegie? He encourages people to live in “Day-tight compartments.” Dale mentions that ” Half the beds in our hospitals are reserved for patients with nervous and mental troubles, patients who have collapsed under the crushing burden of accumulated yesterdays and fearful tomorrows. Yet a vast majority of these people would be walking the streets today, leading happy, useful lives, if they had heeded the words to live in day-tight compartments.
What Carnegie is really trying to tell us is that we need to stop focusing on the past, but we also need not be concerned about the future either. We need to live for right now, for today! Dale Carnegie is not suggesting that we should be neglecting our future years, that we shouldn’t be preparing for what lies ahead, but that we should not have any anxiety abut future events.
Tomorrow when you wake up, just lie there for a few moments and think about the day ahead, think about the new adventures that are going to happen today. Tell yourself that TODAY you are going to do things a little different, you are going to do at least one thing that makes you feel great, but more importantly – you are going to make somebody close to you feel special. One of the greatest tragedies many of us have in our lives is putting things off until tomorrow. The put their life on hold, and they tell themselves that tomorrow will be better for a multitude of reasons, but here’s a few:
- Tomorrow will be better because I will have graduated and will be making money…
- Tomorrow will be better because I’ll have kids and be married and happy…
- Tomorrow will be better because the kids have grown up and I’ll have more time & money…
- Tomorrow will be better because I would have paid off my mortgage…
- Tomorrow will be better because I will have divorced and remarried my new wife…
- Tomorrow will be better because I’ll have bought that new car, boat, whatever…
- Tomorrow will be better because – fill in your blank here.
Some people never seem to enjoy their life today, they kind of put it on hold for tomorrow, and the day after, etc. But as their life passes by, suddenly they understand that TIME and not MONEY is the most important currency. You don’t understand this until you are at least 50 years old I guess. I like to tell my patients to enjoy the journey and not the destination, because life is in the living moment, the here and right NOW. Today is the only day that should mean something to you in terms of happiness when it comes to your most important possessions – the people you care about and love, your family and friends.
How efficiently you filter out yesterday and tomorrow’s stresses and strains will to a large degree determine your level of peace, contentment and happiness today. Your body’s stress system functions optimally when it is not burdened by yesterday’s concerns or tomorrow’s imaginary problems. Most of your thinking should therefore be directed at what you will be doing between now and when you go to bed. This places the least stress on your body’s adrenal glands, the glands of stress.
The people I find who suffer the least with adrenal fatigue and burn-out are those folks who don’t allow their past failures and problems to plague them. They don’t hold grudges or harbor resentments towards other people and try their best to get on with others, even those whom they have had conflict with in the past. I’d like to remind you that the biggest stresses in our lives generally involve how we feel about other people in our lives. Happy people don’t worry about tomorrow, they are too busy enjoying today, if you concern yourself about things that haven’t even happened, you will only end up anxious, depressed and frustrated, and at what? Have you noticed that on many occasions when you worried about something that you thought was going to occur, it never really ended up happening?
Always remember this – that today is the most important day of your entire life. So when your mind begins to drift into the past or somewhere in the future, try and bring yourself back to the present moment as quickly as possible.
Tomorrow Is Going To Be Fantastic!
Your future certainly is important, and I’m not expecting you to neglect planning for tomorrow. Failing to plan is planning to fail, there is no doubt. I kind of see it this way, your future is like a bed that’s all messed up, you have to look at it and make it up nicely,you will need clean sheets, pillow case, etc. This is the planning phase. When you are happy – leave it alone until you need to use it – sometime in the future, this is the execution phase. Some plan too much, some too little and some people never plan anything at all, they just live their life from day to day. It’s really up to you, but I believe that the most successful people are the ones that plan their future to some degree, and I certainly think it is wise. That way you can relax about the future and just need to be concerned with executing your plans.
Prepare for your future, but never get anxious about it, it will become a stress in it’s own right. Lack of planning can make your future uncertain – leading to stress and anxiety. Over-planning can do the same.
Life well into your future is the same as life well into your past, there will be financial challenges, health issues and relationship challenges as well. As I mentioned previously, many worries and fears you may have about your future are needless and will inhibit your ability to enjoy life NOW. So, I’m kind of saying that it is a fruitless exercise worrying about what has not yet happened! Remain optimistic always about the future, never lose hope, it will encourage you to set goals and encourage you to accomplish them. Achieving goals and milestones in your life makes you strong and helps you develop the skills to tackle even bigger goals, leading to an increased sense of self-esteem and personal growth. And guess what? Your physical health improves as a consequence, this is something I’ve witnessed in many patients who I’ve seen over the many years I’ve been in practice.
I’d like you to ALWAYS feel positive about the years ahead, it will help to reduce your anxiety, an emotion that will reduce your ability to enjoy your life today. You can’t live in the moment if you are anxious about tomorrow, and anxiety has a way of spiraling out of control, it feeds upon itself. Get RID of this emotion by not buying into this garbage, fight against negativity and feeling bad about yourself or others. Never feel anxious about events that haven’t even occurred! Look forward to tomorrow but enjoy the here and now today.