There’s an old Chinese proverb, “anxiety is when you live in the future and depression is when you live in the past.”
It’s a useful little saying with more than a whiff of truth about it, but how do we learn to avoid becoming anxious about the future and depressed about the past and live a happy and fulfilled life in the present without having to join an ashram and start talking a load of baloney?
Here’s a few pointers from online-counselling, for people who don’t have the time to chill in an ashram or the inclination to talk baloney.
Living in the moment is elusive, like a butterfly in December or a perfect hair cut; or even more hard to find; a butterfly with a perfect haircut in December. These moments of calm and contentment are rare and only come along once in a while.
Apparently, Buddhist monks are able to sustain this elusive and wonderful state of being through meditation for many hours at a time. For the rest of us it’s the reverse, we’re able to grasp just fleeting moments of peace in between fretting about our overdrafts and falling asleep in front of the telly with a half-eaten drum of Pringles. How then can we live in the moment, without the inconvenience of learning the entire sacred scriptures of Lord Buddha, shaving our heads and enrolling in a temple, or an Indian ashram?
I think this is the starting point; what do you do, that you enjoy so much, that you forget the time? This is the start of living in the moment and avoiding the anxiety of the future and the depression of the past.
First of all though, as a warm up exercise, cut out everything that gets you down and makes you feel bad about yourself. Cut out people who get you down, activities which you don’t like and anything else that increases your stress levels, anxiety and depression. Cut it out quite ruthlessly, like a doctor operating on a cancerous growth. If it makes you feel down, whatever it is, get rid of it.
The biggest of these maybe your job, and for many people changing their job and persuing something which makes them happier, no matter how difficult that maybe, has been a massive, and positive life changing event. Life is simply too short to spend 30 years in a job that makes you feel bad. Cut out everything that makes you feel bad.
Once you have done that, start work on identifying the things in your life which make you feel good, and that you get so engrossed with that you lose all sense of time. Make sure these things are optimized to your benefit. Also of course, make sure you are eating well, and not filling up on junk food or snacks that effect your blood sugar levels. Make sure you are sleeping well, getting to bed at a reasonable time and waking up feeling okay, (a minimum of 8 hours for a healthy adult, as if you didn’t know). Do all the healthy stuff that everyone bangs on about; drink water, do some exercise, drink alcohol in moderation, don’t smoke and all that jazz. It does make a difference.
When you have done all that you are ready to increase whatever it is that makes you feel good and able to live in the moment. This could be everything and anything and is so different for each of us, some people can easily become immersed in gardening, or DIY projects, or writing or creating great food and cooking wonderful meals, some people really get into cycling, or walking or wildlife, or carpentry, or computer games, or motor mechanics, or paddle boarding, almost anything else under the sun.
I recently worked with someone whose realised that his main thing was badger watching and has now become heavily involved with a badger charity and even moved house to the countryside where he can persue his passion for our shy, black and white furry little bears that trundle about the woods and country lanes whilst the rest of us are asleep.
Whatever your passion, your passport to living in the present and achieving monk like calm and serenity whilst dumping anxiety and depression is to persue what makes you completely happy for as long as possible.
If you would like to learn more about our Online Counselling programme have a look here: https://www.thelifechangepeople.com/online-counselling/
For counselling holidays in the UK have a look at this page:
Thanks for reading