Many of us experience a lot of fear, worry and stress in our lives, much of which is completely unnecessary. The reason that we experience these feelings is we're spending far too much time engaged in a negative mind cycle, rather than the present moment.
We're constantly thinking about the upcoming bills, the "what ifs" of the future, mishaps of the past and what other people are thinking or expect of us. We're telling ourselves stories and beating ourselves up. This generates a ton of negative emotions! Meanwhile, our lives are happening right now and chances are, things are pretty good. Even if it's not great, it's likely much more manageable and bearable than what we create in our minds.
If you experience a lot of fear (which we all do and is totally normal) you're probably worrying about a possibility in the future. You start to stress out over something that hasn't even happened and certainly isn't even guaranteed to. You're then living in this stressed-out vision of a possible future, while in this moment, you're actually fine.
We also do this by fantasizing. Instead of just being in the moment and engaging in our lives, we go off into some fantasy future, instantly putting more expectation on a situation and eventually leading you to over think and over stress over something that should have just been a fun moment or experience.
We take things that are (our reality) and turn them into things that aren't (an exaggerated version or negative possible outcome that hasn't happened).
Another way we go into this negative mind cycle is we rehash the past. We replay a conversation or event over and over in our heads. Wondering what they really meant when they said that, how you should have said or done this, and thinking about people or relationships that aren't a part of our life anymore. Instead of engaging in the present moment, our one short and beautiful life begins to pass us by. We're living in our heads instead of the present.
And here's the thing, not only does life happen in the present moment, but connection, passion, love, depth, clarity and genius do, too, just to name a few. Our power lies in living in the present moment, not hashing things out in our heads.
Let me give you an example from my life.
At my last "real" job, they had a friendly little team and I had just become the marketing manager and head designer. Every other week we had team conference calls where each department head would give an update and talk about what was needed from the rest of the team. These conference calls terrified and plagued me. Before the call I would have to spend at least an hour writing out what I was going to say, thinking about what they might say and how I would respond, making sure I knew everything that was going on. It was incredibly stressful, and when the call finally happened, I would still manage to trip over my own words, forget important details and could barely manage to speak loud enough or clearly for anyone else to understand me. I was completely in my head, hyping up the call, worrying, stressing and scared.
Now? Most of the time I don't even prepare for calls because I just don't have to. I only need to review something once, conversations stick with me better and I even shock myself with some of the clear, focused and powerful things that come out of my mouth. By learning to live in the present moment, I'm able to retain information because I'm fully engaged in conversations. I'm confident because I'm not worried about what will be said and how I'll respond. I'm in the moment and that allows me to connect to my genius zone and tap into my intuition instantly.
So, how does it work?
Anytime that you're feeling stressed out, worried, fearful or any other negative emotion, I want you to pause. Take a deep breath and use your senses to re-engage in the present moment. When I first learned this tool, my mentor Josh Pais encouraged using the phrase "I'm back." You speak this out loud to disrupt that mind cycle and use the vibrations and sound to engage your senses. You can also take note of what you smell, what the floor feels like under your feet or the armrest against your forearm. Re-engage in the present moment.
It's so easy to slip out of the present moment, especially when you've just begun to implement this tool. Be kind to yourself -- this is new and you're not going to be perfect. The important thing is that you begin to recognize when it happens and shift back into the present moment. Don't analyze why it's happening or how many times you had to shift, that would also be engaging in your thoughts rather than the present moment! Just take a deep breath and come back.
When you're feeling stressed about a possible situation in the future I want you to stop, take a deep breath and ask yourself, "Am I okay, right now?" The answer is usually a strong yes. In this moment, you're probably okay. If the moment comes, you'll deal with it then. This doesn't mean you shouldn't prepare for rainy days, it just means you don't spend your whole life worrying about them and completely missing the beautifully sunny days in between.
Stop engaging in the stories you tell yourself. Stop imagining how things may or may not go. Stop fretting about the past or reliving it again and again. The only moment that matters is this one, the one right in front of you. How will you use this moment to make progress, connect deeper, take action towards the life or outcome you want?
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Stephenie Zamora is the founder of a full-service, life-purpose development, design and branding boutique. Here she merges the worlds of personal development and branding to help young women build passion-based businesses. Click here to access her Foundations for Unshakable Joy free video training series now!
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