Future Anxiety – do you live in the future?
I do. Sometimes. We all do, sometimes.
I used to live there much more, with all of the things I would have as well as all the places I would visit, the houses I would live in. There was a big long list in my head.
I was very ambitious; I still am truth be told, but I had a slowly dawning realisation that I was almost solely focused on the future.
What I would do there? What things would I have there?
The more plans I made and goals I set, I realised that my overall feeling was future anxiety:
This is future anxiety – ‘Today, this hour, this minute, is not good enough. I have none of the things I want and am working towards, therefore I’m not happy. Also I won’t be happy until I achieve a long (and possibly never ending) list of ‘wants’
You can see that I was blind to everything that I already have.
Can we be happy with what we already have?
Making a conscious effort in addition to realise just how beautiful life already is, bringing awareness to the ‘little things’ helped me become happier.
“Five Minutes to Happiness” (Maxwell Maltz) was first published in 1962. A book written to help us learn the art of being happy.
Since then, many pages have been written about how we can be happier.
The main gist is focusing on the good stuff, appreciating that which you have and being grateful for it.
Making a list of just five things you’re grateful for may seem an odd way to help future anxiety. It’s not about what’s on the list, don’t judge yourself. It could be chocolate ice-cream, it could also be knowing that you’re family is fit and well.
Just come up with five things
A nice meal maybe – it might’ve been a great salad or an enormous burger- remember not to judge.
No rain today.
Walking through the park first thing this morning perhaps.
Meeting a friend, for a particularly great cup of coffee.
Your health – even if you have a bad cold, perhaps you can be grateful that it’s not worse!
In addition, studies have shown that after making a nightly list for just one week happiness grows.
By doing this small, simple exercise you are retraining your brain to notice the good things, the positives.
You start to look out for them as well as register them when they happen.
Then you can enjoy and appreciate them all over again when you add them to your list.