Many people also dwell a lot in the past in their mind. If they are continually focusing on unhappy past events, and how they were 'wronged' or were 'right', this will cause much inner grief, anger and resentment.
They remember past losses and re-trigger grief, sadness and loneliness, keeping themselves unhappy and forlorn. They keep themselves stuck in emotional pain.
The Future again
Or they are continually imagining themselves in the future, in a better life, without problems, where everything is perfect and they 'don't have a problem in the world'.
I understand. I have been a master worrier and WCST-thinker. I have been an expert at worrying and focusing so much and for so long on the WCST outcome that it actually happened! I know this subject well. I've been there.
And what I had to learn was these habits of negatively focusing on the past or dreaming of perfect, unrealistic futures HAVE TO GO.
This doesn't mean you don't have goals or aspirations for the future, that is different. But having perfect, problem-free, idealistic imaginations of the future is just another way of the mind escaping the now.
There are many reasons why we create and then unconsciously perpetuate these unhealthy, non-productive, self-damaging mind habits.
Three of the most important to understand are:
1. WORRY IS A MIND HABIT NOT AN EMOTION. Worry is a mental habit which was unconsciously set up to protect us from feeling bad or experiencing unpleasant things (which made us feel bad or perhaps even made us think we were going to die) when we were young. It is a self-protective mechanism of the mind trying to keep us safe. Whilst initially it may have served a purpose, it now no longer serves a beneficial purpose now and just makes us unhappy and sick. Worry is a mind-habit we MUST learn to change and delete from our internal computer programming if we want to be happy.
2. TRUE HAPPINESS LIES IN THE PRESENT. Being stuck in the mind in the past or future means we are not in the present here now. The only time we really have is now. The past is gone, the future can only ever happen in the mind, and the present is where everything is happening, from moment to moment, and is where we create our future from.
The mind will fight this concept at first if it is used to living in the past or future, so we have to re-train it and discipline it to stay in the now. This takes work but it's possible with the right strategies.
All spiritual teachers emphasize the important of living in the present moment.
This is particularly important to do if you have a habit of being fearful, afraid, worrying, WCST-ing, expecting the worst to happen, pessimissm etc. You MUST come back to the present if you want to be happy. It really will save you from yourself - from your old mind habits. It will change your internal computer programming.
3. WE NEED TO CLEAR THE FEAR. We have to clear the programming and old unconscious fears which are keeping us stuck in the past or floating in the future. This takes commitment, courage and often the support and guidance of professionals who can help us see what we cannot (yet) see about ourselves.
So here is a very useful mind mantra you can use to bring yourself back to the present moment. Use it ANY time you notice you are negatively in the past or future, or fearfully, worrying about the future:
I refuse to go into the past.
I refuse to go into the future.
I choose to stay in the present.
I am safe in the now.
Be happy. Be Here. Be Now.
Relevant EAA Programs:
- Learn how to stop the mental habit of worry and WCST Thinking