The future (anxiety)
Last week we delved into the way we can hold onto and distort past memories. Letting our inner voice steer our perspective to anywhere but the place we would like it to be. If we allow it, we are unknowing passengers dwelling in a land of depression at the hands of our inner voice.
This week we will flip over to the other end of the spectrum, the future. Living ahead of our time, trying to predict copious amounts of outcomes that more than likely never come to pass. Forever trying to pave a desirable set of circumstances that fit our narrative inside our minds.
As discussed last week, it is healthy to look back on events in our lives as it is to entertain future prospects. But in small doses, and with little expectation than to enjoy what you had and anticipating what might be.
So living in the future is to constantly anticipate events. To allow IV to create an endless amount of varying scenarios that will most definitely not come to fruition. This allowance we give IV then puts us in a state of anxiety. Some of us experience these anxieties more severe than others. No matter the severity, it is not an ideal way to spend our days when we have all this beauty right before us at every single moment!
You’ve found out this morning that you of all the employees in your company have been chosen to present a speech on what your company stand for and what defines it. You are a little surprised and flattered that you’ve been chosen for this task. Your manager said that you have a very open personality with a good ability at speaking your mind with an emotional intelligence to go with it. Your expertise are what the company could use for this speech rather than some contrived and derivative spill that no-one ever really buys. You are informed that this speech, even though not all that important, is a good opportunity to upscale the company in the local community and will most certainly have positive repercussions later on in time. You have 2 weeks to prepare a 6-8 minute talk. Good luck!
The seeds have been sown.
You now find yourself in an almost tunnel vision like world whenever you find yourself with a free moment outside of activities that need your full attention. The problem that will arise here is that you will quite quickly yet subtly find your energy levels fading as the days go by these next 2 weeks. You are unknowingly burning your candle on both ends by giving 100% attention to all events in work and your social life. But, for every second you have to yourself you know spend living in that 6-8 minute speech…
Living 2 weeks from now
You had this honor put upon you out of nowhere, that’s true. So you didn’t exactly have a game plan from the moment your 2 weeks started. So you’ve allowed your inner voice to take the wheel here and barrage you with idea’s at any free moment you find yourself with. At first it is both exciting and nerve wracking. Seeing yourself in front of what will be 150-180 people and giving them your ‘real life, real person’ company experience.
Your inner voice has both positive and negative things to add on a moment to moment basis. one moment IV is telling you you are a regular Oprah Winfrey and will just ooze a fluid speech so seemlessly. Then the very next moment IV will mention how hostile this crowd will be and that they will all certainly laugh at you, not with you!
IV isn’t giving you any time to stay present and focus on controlling the controllables (actually writing down notes for the speech). IV is much more concerned with making you so anxious that you either begin to over eat throughout your days, go the other direction and under eat, or even start running 20+ more kilometers a week than you usually do. IV has turned you against your equilibrium. It has made you avoid stillness for an energy draining fast paced lifestyle until the big moment finally arrives and you are so burned out by the time you step up to the stage because you have lived the big moment in your mind a million times already.
It’s not productive and certainly not healthy on your own mind to play a future event on repeat. You can’t possibly get the best out of yourself by letting IV steer you into 10 directions at any given moment.
The game plan
A way we can limit all of the above anxieties from taking full control of our lives is by making a schedule with ourselves!
Get your diary out, if you don’t have one, download an app or buy a physical one! A diary is a big step into helping a person make dates with themselves and therefor limiting our IV’s ability to waste energy and think about appointments in the future.
Using your diary to allocate a time that you can sit down and actually devout your FULL attention to the speech will grant you much more freedom to live in the moment in all your free time outside of other commitments. Allocate 45-90mins to really jot down anything you can then leave it until a day or 2 later.
Scheduling in these self accountable appointments won’t get rid of IV straight away necessarily, but it will certainly give you inner fuel to start dowsing IV’s negative words. It will give you the fuel to say ‘hey, I’ve scheduled time to work on this speech tonight, so right now, let me focus on eating this meal!’
You see, because you’ve allocated specific times to work on your speech, you can now save your energy throughout the day because you won’t be inclined to think about it as much until the allocated time arrives. Think about it, if you were going to train for a marathon you wouldn’t run one everyday would you? You would begin by allocating a time where you can maybe get a 5km run in. Later in the week you might be at a level where you could get another 5km and a slow paced 7km to end the training week. The point is you are pacing yourself, conserving energy for when you actually need it. Not burning energy on false futures that will not come to pass.
Take a moment from your day and focus on just one anxiety that you may be letting drain you. Really try to slow down and address it. If you have multiple anxieties, I would recommend just focusing on one for now.
See if you can schedule a time where you can dedicate a half hour or so on this topic. Give yourself a foundation where you can start telling IV that you don’t need to waste energy on this future issue right now, because you’ve scheduled the issue for a later date.
Start redirecting your IV’s to present moments and leave the future events, for the future. What will unfold will unfold in due course.
If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present.Roy T. Bennett
Self awareness is progression