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Mindfulness in Recovery- The Power of the Present

Do you ever find yourself dwelling on the past or worrying about the future? I think it's a natural thing we do as humans. We like to reflect on the things that have happened in our past and plan for the future. But at what point does it become unhealthy?

Are we harming ourselves with this form of mental time traveling?

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the moment.”

When we are thinking of our past we can find ourselves comparing how things are today vs how good they used to be, or we are second guessing our actions, feeling regret and shame over things that happened some time ago.

If we are constantly thinking of the future, we are likely feeling anxiety and worry about what lies ahead. We may find ourselves coming up with all types of "what if" scenarios and playing them out over and over. This causes us to feel

the anxiety of something that hasn’t happened yet and may not ever happen anyways!

If we are focused on the moment we are in right now, without drifting too far into the past or the future, we are able to find a sense of serenity and peace. There is no changing the past and there is no controlling the future. Life is going to take its course no matter how hard we try to morph it to fit our desires. We have to ride the waves and embrace the ebbs and flows as they come, right here in this very moment. Having trust that everything will work out exactly as it is meant to will shift your perspective from,

“Why is this happening TO me?” to, “How is this happening FOR me.”

A mindset that comes from knowing that there is a lesson to be learned from

every single thing we experience throughout our life journey.

Nothing happens by accident.

Person meditating in the distance on a mountain surrouned by nature.

Spending too much time regretting the past or worrying about the future truly gains us nothing. The only thing we ever have control over is the present. This is where our attention and energy is most important. Living in the present keeps our focus on the important tasks. If we work only on what is right in front of us and always try to do the next right thing, we will find that we have less regret of the past and worry for the future, because we stayed focused and got done what we intended to.

So how do we begin to break these habits of future tripping and past dwelling? If we have done this for a long time, it will take some practice to shift your mindset.

Let’s do some reflecting. Think of a time when you were stuck in the past. What were you thinking about? How did you feel in that moment? Did sitting in those feelings help you find relief? Now think of a time you were worrying about the future. What were you focused on? Were you able to change anything in that moment? Did the rumination serve you in any way? Now let us look at the present. When have you been able to feel calm and peaceful? Did you feel more connected going with the flow? Did this feel more natural to you?

Of course, there are times when we look back fondly at the past, reminiscing on good memories. Sometimes looking into the future can help motivate us, giving us a healthy amount of stress to prepare for something that is coming up, inspiring us to perform at our best. We can learn from the past, and we can plan for the future. It is just important that we don’t live there. By living in the present, we can put what we learned to good use and carry out our plans with success.

Person meditating at sunrise with palm tree in background.

Look around you, what do you see? What can you feel, smell, touch? What do you hear? Be a part of the world around you, pay attention to the small details. Beauty surrounds you at all times, you just have to look for it.

Now is now. It is all we ever have. Nothing is promised to us beyond the moment we are living in right now. There is a reason people say that the present is a gift. It is truly a beautiful thing. We are here now, living in this moment of infinite possibility, not weighed down by the past or the future. Anything can happen when you channel your flow state and focus on what is directly ahead of you. That is where the magic happens. That is where we find peace and serenity. It is always here waiting for you.

Now, and now, and now.

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Well said

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