This is one of the hardest things for me to do. I am future oriented and love to plan, plan, plan! In my first pregnancy, I struggled with the idea that I have a due date but that isn’t the actual date she will come and we actually don’t know what date she will come. How do I plan for that?! I learned though and this part was easier with my second pregnancy. But my planning mentality isn’t the healthiest for me just as mulling over my past isn’t healthy for me.
The happiest I am in life is when I am living in the present. Enjoying the life
that I am currently living in & finding ways to love it now. That doesn’t mean my past doesn’t come up to contaminate my thoughts and feelings but what I do when it does come can change how it impacts my depression.
Mulling over our past means the same thing as ruminating over our past. Do you one of the other definitions for ruminating? … When an animal chews food, swallows it & then brings it back up, chews it again & swallows it again. Ya… that’s disgusting so I don’t want to be a part of that!
This is an extremely hard thing to do for a lot of people and especially those with depression. If you have depression… this is a killer for your thought process. Don’t do it.
We can’t stop thoughts, feelings or memories from the past from coming up… it is just like a lot of other things I talk about… the different being… it’s what you do when those come up.
Do you allow them to sit around inside you? Do they take over your thoughts? Do you act different now? How do they change your mood? or your day?
The best thing we can do with our past negative feelings & associations when they are brought back up is to pull out the lessons learned to apply in our lives now & in the future and then leave the past in the past where it belongs. Do not… I repeat, DO NOT bring it back up to chew & swallow again… unless you enjoy that type of thing.
Okay, so a lot of people know and get that living in the past can be damaging to our emotional well-being and especially those with depression and anxiety, but many don’t quite see how living in the future can be just as damaging.
Here’s an example of me working on this…
When we bought our home, it is a lot bigger than previous homes we had so we lacked furniture & decorations to fill it… still lack, who am I kidding?! We made our list of plans we want to do for the entire house, inside & out & I would then think of our list often & naturally get down. I didn’t know how we would ever get everything done, how we would afford it all, when I would be able to buy things to get everything done & why on earth my house doesn’t look like my Pinterest boards!!!!
After allowing these thoughts to take over & add to my depression, I decided it needed to change. Instead, I needed to think how fortunate am I to afford such a large house that is so close to my dream house? And it’s in a cul-de-sac… hello dream! I am so grateful for the gorgeous furniture & appliances and everything we have been able to do so far. It looks 1,000x’s better than when we moved in. I think how happy it makes me to know that my kids each have their own space & have so much room to play inside & outside of the house. And what a great neighborhood we live in & that my neighbors are so friendly but give me my space to be the hermit my depression likes me to be.
Enjoying the home I have now & loving the fact that I am raising my kids in such a nice house changes my happiness in so many ways & helps with my depression.
*Side note… this can easily apply to parenting too…
Don’t get too stressed about what you’ve done wrong or what you could have done better. Don’t get too stressed about what you will do when they are this age or that age but instead take your lessons learned, apply them now which prepares us for the future and enjoy your kids now! Embrace the good times and the bad times.
This life only happens once. Don’t let it be consumed with the should have’s, could have’s, & would have’s but let it overflow with the am’s.
“I am living in a nice house” ….
“I am grateful for healthy children even though they might drive me crazy” …
“I am able to wake up each morning to a husband that loves me” …
“I am able to drive to a job that provides for my needs (& some wants)” …
Try it! When you find yourself ruminating over the past or consumed by plans of the future… STOP…. and think of the good things that are happening now. Focus on the positives (easier said then done but I promise your thought process can change). It’s not going to work every time… we all have setbacks but as long as you are trying.
Living in the moment is such a healthier way to live for your emotional & mental health (it is especially helpful for those with depression & anxiety) and it can even make your relationships healthier…. it makes you happier!
If you do struggle with this, one way I suggest getting started is by journaling… this can help get your juices going to turn this into a habit.
What are the ways living in the now has helped your life?