If you’re caught up in worry loops, or find yourself churning over an old conversation and the heat or angst is still there, then you’re stuck. It’s hard to lead, to take effective action – to even know what the best thing is to do when we are stuck in some future or past based scenario. We are not focusing on the here and now, and the wisdom and insight that’s always there in the present moment isn’t available to us.
There can be four triggers that keep us out of that place of clarity and presence. When we are not present we are often caught up in a past/ future scenario, and a pleasure/pain scenario.
Let’s dive in!
WORRY is when we’re caught in a trap between some future occurrence and a painful expectation. It also looks like anxiety and fearfulness. We might catastrophise and make things worse in our imagination (like Chicken Little worrying the sky falling down).
We get stuck in mental loops that go nowhere. The worry mindset is independent of concerns in your life. You can have real challenges, yet not get immobilised through worry.
When you notice worry, ask: ‘What am I worried about? Specifically. Make it clear. Write it down. Look at it. Then, consider what action you can now take to address the issue.
I love this by the Dalai Lama: “If it can be solved, there’s no need to worry, and if it can’t be solved, worry is of no use.”
RUMINATE is when we chew over some past event, hurt, embarrassment, conversation and it causes us to feel bad. We might wallow in it, or brood. We go over it, again and again. That thing we did or didn’t do, did or didn’t say. It’s an anchor keeping you stuck.
When we ruminate, there is an element of incompletion about it. When you notice yourself ruminating, you can move into the present moment by asking yourself ‘what do I need to do to complete this?’ Is there a conversation to be had? An apology? Something you need to let go of? Make a note of what that is and then take the steps to get it complete.
PINE is when we look back at something fondly from the past, but in a way that diminishes the present moment or the future.
It’s when we see something – a love, a job, an earlier phase of our life – with rose coloured glasses. You’re appreciating what you had – but in a way that taints what you have now. There can be a concern that you’ll never have anything as good as you had it.
There’s a gift in pining if you are ready to get into the present. Look for what is the joy bubble from earlier times. What is it exactly that you are? Make a plan to get that in your life again. It will usually take a different form from the original past joy, but the energy behind the old feelings can guide you into bringing more of that into your life now.
ANTICIPATE is where the future and pleasure collide. Looking to the future with pleasure is a powerful thing to cultivate. It builds energy, raises your vibration, gives you hope.
Amplify this by homing in on what is giving you that feeling of joyous expectation,
Watch out for not taking action, and being caught up in the sort of magical thinking or naivety that anticipation brings. Tune into anticipation, but in the NOW get clear on the actions you need to take to make that future happen.
When we move from these 4 states and into the present moment, solutions show up that can help you. These pathways, ideas, or next actions aren’t possible to see when we are stuck in the past or future.
Take the action that stops the worry, ruminating or pining. Take the action that will deliver on what it is you anticipate and feel excited about.
Till next week,