It's been proven that most people who have depression are "past thinkers". That means they have nostalgic thoughts about all the good stuff they used to have or all the fun they did in the past. For those that have depression, the nostalgic thoughts can cause you to be sad about those thoughts because you feel like the present isn't as good as it was back then.
These same people are usually the ones that have had a bad event happen in their life that may have started their depression. The problem with being a "past thinker" is that you can't do anything about the past anymore. You can't travel back in time to change anything. But there is always something you can do now to leave the past behind you.
There are three steps to follow to start living in the now.
Usually, people who are living in the past are those who need to focus on Forgiveness. Forgive those that have done you wrong. I live in the past often. It's really hard not to. I've had some great years as a teenager that I truly miss and every time I think about it, I always end up being depressed about how my life is not like that anymore. I have learned to "forgive" myself for not keeping up that lifestyle and I try to remind myself to pay attention to what's happening right in front of me before it becomes the past that I missed out on.
I've also been through a few traumatic experiences as a child. Only my husband really knows about it, besides those people involved in causing the trauma. I was not one to share my feelings. I grew up in a big family so when you try to talk to someone, you're usually ignored. So that trauma ended up with me developing anxiety and depression along with some trust issues with my spouse. I have always blamed those involved for giving me depression and anxiety. It always made me mad to think about and it put me in a bad depressive state. Until I started reading a good self-help book that opened my eyes to forgiveness. I never really put it together that all my bad thoughts about the events in my past were adding to my depression. I just thought that's how it is. It's been at least 20 years since this trauma and I've finally decided to personally forgive those that hurt me. I didn't confront the people involved, nor did I tell anyone about it. I let my whole self-forgive them. I still hate them for what they did, but it no longer has control over me. I can control my thoughts about it, I can move on quicker, and I honestly don't let it define me anymore. It feels amazing to know that now I'm the one controlling that situation, not letting it control me.
I know not all people are ready to forgive, and you definitely don't have to until you are ready. But, if you can at least work toward it, it will help you be a happier person and feel more in control of your life.
If you want to personally talk about my experiences, I'd be happy to chat. Or if you want to discuss your experiences, I'd love to listen. I keep all personal information to myself. No one will ever hear your story out of my mouth.
A way to start living in the now is to appreciate what is happening in front of you. With technology being all the rage, it's hard to be present because you're focused on a screen.
I have to schedule times I'm allowed to be on my phone so I can enjoy spending quality time with my kids.
The other day my little family was able to go to the pool together. I left my phone in my bag the whole time and just enjoyed playing with my kids.
I got to feel the excitement of a 3-year-old while swimming with my son. We have a public pool near us that has a water slide, lazy river, and a mushroom waterfall thing. I haven't been able to take him to the pool until just recently so seeing him get so excited over everything was just the best experience. It made my day just watching him having a blast. It made me realize that he has a lot of these experiences with new things but I'm missing it because I'm in my own thoughts about the future or past, or I'm on my phone seeing what other people are doing. As I said earlier, I'm scheduling times on my phone or ignoring of the TV, so I can be present for the important moments with my kids.
I hope if you're a parent, you try to do the same. Make sure your living in the present before it becomes the regrettable part of your life.
The future is usually not a bad thing to think about. As long as it is goals you want to work toward. I feel like half the time people think of the future in a stressful way. Like when it's Sunday and your thinking about all the crap you need to catch up on at work when Monday comes. There is no use in thinking about that because it's already going to happen. If you can stop your thoughts and try not to think about it as much, it will make your Monday much better. My husband is a ball of anxiety. Anytime we talk about future stuff, his thoughts go toward the negative stress of it all. I told him I want to move downtown ( he has wanted to since we have been together) but bringing this up causes him so much stress because he hates moving, he stresses about the money he needs to make to make that happen. I know these things are legitimate to be concerned but he thinks about those negative things soooooo much that it completely makes all the good things irrelevant to him.
I think that's a terrible way of life. I love to think about the excitement and experience. I get there is negative stuff to think about, but I don't make it the whole experience. When I think of the positive stuff, it makes the negative a lot less bad.
I always feel like in my articles I'm pointing out the obvious. Be more positive, forgive others, be present.. but when it really comes down to implementing it in your life, it's really a challenge to do. When you have lived your life one way, it's hard to just change. But if you keep these tips in mind, it will help you change some situations in your life. Which will rewire your brain to start thinking differently, and ultimately be happier.
I hope you enjoyed my article. I love hearing from my readers so please feel free to reach out. I will respond!
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