When was the last time you were stuck inside your mind, on a train of ongoing thoughts? It happens. Whether we are stuck reliving the past or envisioning the future, it happens to all of us quite often.
Yet, exercising mindfulness (being fully present, aware of where you are and what you’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you) can ease the struggle of it.
Next time you find yourself stuck on these undisciplined train of thoughts, constantly but unconsciously generating more and more “What if’s,” just try to take a moment to stop and observe.
Stop and recognize what’s going on in your mind and shift in person.
Instead of staying the victim of your thoughts, try being the observer. Instead of reliving that hurtful past experience once again, observe what might have gone wrong then.
Could you have prevented it? If so, what can you do next time when something similar is going down? If not so, then is it really worth vehemently punishing yourself over?
Instead of thinking about what could happen in that future decision you’re about to make, observe the silliness you are doing by creating imaginary scenarios and letting these discourage you from giving a brilliant performance.
When you’re stuck in the past or the present like that, tackling with millions and billions of thoughts, unsurprisingly you waste a profound amount of mental energy. According to Health Line, this is defined as emotional exhaustion.
Instead of using the energy to finish that homework, be productive in a meeting and get that checkbox checked with pride. You may end up doing nothing all day due to the emotional exhaustion your own mind created.
It has played you, dictated your mood and how your day will go; but most of all, you let it do it.
We as humans have the ability to direct our mental energy to anything we wish. This ability starts with mindful thinking and acknowledging, observing your feelings.
As the licensed marriage and family therapist and award-winning author John Amodeo stated, sometimes we need to allow some spaciousness around our feelings so that they have a chance to settle. Therefore, we can benefit from reflecting on our deeper, truer feelings because noticing and sharing our authentic feelings connects us with ourselves.
He furthermore stated that when emotions, thoughts or desires are arising within, we can notice them, be gentle with them and allow them to be just as they are. We live with more inner peace as we make room for the full range of our human experience.
By doing mindful practices like taking a moment to step away and shift to being the observer of your pressing thoughts, you spend more time wasting your mental energy on things that doesn’t deserve your precious energy and time. You will, therefore, eliminate more and more stress from your future by using your full mental capacity in fulfilling the things needed to be done without any more procrastination.
As the founder of Anger Management Education Bernard Golden summed it up,
The preoccupation of thinking about what “should have” or “could have been” undermines our capacity to more fully engage in our present or with our potential future.
Your future is constructed by your present.
Now, will you construct your future with an unstable foundation just because you’re distracted by what you’ve done in the past or what you’ll do in the future, or will you devote your full capacity to construct the life you want?