"I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." - Mark Twain
We are in the middle of this years holiday season. A lot of people are waiting every year for summer to arrive in order to leave a stressful lifestyle behind, at least for a while.
Daily life seems often to be full of bad news, negative thoughts and emotions, duties, pressure and stress, full of things, that could go wrong, things to be afraid of. Holidays will fix this. And sometimes it works out fine. You are lucky with the weather and your environment, you create beautiful memories, relax and enjoy the easiness of life as it is.
Letting go can be so easy, can't it. Not having to worry about anything, just be. Wonderful.
But sometimes the end is in sight too early and you catch yourself thinking about having to go back home and start that old circle all over again.
I have been there myself. I was really good at ruining the last days of my holidays, thinking about how things were before and worrying about how it all will come back once home, ruminating about „what if“s of all kinds, poisoning the moment I actually was in.
Thinking about the past and reliving some of our most valuable moments and memories can be a nice momentary thing. Listening to music and songs of my youth brings back very strong emotions and sometimes I like to enjoy those goose bumps, tears in my eyes or a smile on my face, vague memories. But actually I am living that present moment the fullest.
Dwelling in the past can become an issue, when it still has a strong emotional impact on you now and affects your present thoughts and behavior. When things that have happened in the past are still open wounds, instead of scars. Often we transfer our old memories and unpleasant emotions into the future and form the belief, that what happened once will always happen, becoming afraid of future events and creatively playing worst case scenarios through our mind. But the future just hasn't happened yet.
- Be willing to accept the past as it was. There is nothing you can do about it now. Relax. Realize, that the past has passed, you are here now and you don't know, what the future will bring.
- Understand your thoughts and ask yourself if those thoughts serve you in any way now or if they actually only stop you from living the way you want.
- Remember, it was something that happened a long time ago, you made it till here, now be ready and decide to let go of it, creating space for new experiences.
- Realize you have the power to stop to tell yourself your story over and over again. Memories are neither stable nor reliable, they change with us, with our moods, with our situations and perceptions of the world.
- Allow those old wounds to heal and embrace the scar as a reminder, a lesson you have learned and allow yourself to grow.
„Worry is a misuse of imagination“- Dan Zadra
You cannot control the future. The insecurity about everything to come can leave an uncomfortable footprint on your life. We plan every situation into detail and yet things can turn out differently. Sometimes when that happens we are happy about it, happy, that life provided an incident that surprised us and gave us something different and even better, than we expected. And sometimes it can hurt. Both of those things belong to life, that is the beauty and richness of it.
So how can we create and integrate those holiday moments in our every day lifes, leaving the past in the past and stay relaxed about the uncertainty of the future, just being in the present time?
- If you catch yourself ruminating in the past or worrying about the future, acknowledge your thoughts for a moment and then press an inner STOP-Button. Remind yourself, you are in control of your thoughts. They are just thoughts and you create something positive or negative out of it. You can choose, now.
- Bring yourself into the present moment by grounding yourself:
notice 5 things around you, that you can see, hear, maybe even smell and taste and feel. It will interrupt unhealthy thought patterns immediately and remind you of where you are right now.
- Become aware of your breathing. Just notice how you are breathing now. Do you breathe fast or slow? Deep or shallow? Through your mouth or nose?
Take some deep and calming breaths. Inhale through your nose into your belly, feel with your hand, how the air is pushing your belly out and exhale through your mouth, feeling with your hand on your belly how the air is gently released. Just focus on that.
- Go for a walk into nature, a parc or sit in your garden for a while, listening to the wind in the leaves and the birds. Nature is calming in itself. Notice all the different colors and smells nature has to offer. Feel the sun or the rain on your skin. There is nothing else to do, than being.
- Visualize a time or place you like, an activity that brings joy or someone you love. Dive into that with all your senses. See, hear, smell, feel, maybe even taste it all. Experience the lust for life, excitement, warmth, the love and your deep gratitude for some minutes.
- Do something you love and that helps you to focus and relax, whatever it is, that brings you joy. There is always time for that, take it.
- Practice this little Mindfulness Quickie:
In busy times, moments of stress and anxiety just hold on for a minute or two, take a step back and:
Remember, you are more powerful, than you think. You can influence your thoughts, emotions, behavior and reality and bring some holidays back home.