Just think about today

Pioneer Zephyr 1944 calendar

By Burlington Railroad (eBay item calendar) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the things that worries me the most is thinking about tomorrow or thinking about the future. Will I have a job 5 years from now? Will I still be here or will I have gone somewhere else? What will my financial situation be like in 2 years? Will I be alone forever or will I find that special someone? These are all questions that go through my head whenever I think too much about the future; and let me tell you, thinking these thoughts don’t just scare me, they stress the hell out of me too.

Thinking and planning for tomorrow and the future is all well and good, but it’s not going to help anybody if thinking about it stresses you out so much that you can’t even think properly any more. When that happens there’s just one thing you have to tell yourself, tomorrow is tomorrow; for now let me deal with today. Sometimes you need to take life one day at a time, there’s enough going on in this one day that you need to focus on without thinking about what is going to happen tomorrow.

Our  brain is an amazing thing, we can think of so many different things so quickly that its almost instantaneous, but you can’t think about the future all the time, you have stuff you need to do today too. There’s no point in thinking about the future too much, its unpredictable and a lot can happen before tomorrow comes around and thinking about it won’t change that.

Sometimes when you’re start thinking about tomorrow and start getting stressed it can be very difficult to shift your focus, because as awesome as our brains are, they are also stubborn. If that’s the case just think of it as a meditation exercise. In an earlier post of mine I talked about how our brain is like a monkey (put link here), it likes to hop from one thought to another and is easily distracted, so you need to give it something else to think about. In that post I mention how a good way to meditate is to concentrate on your breathing; if you get distracted that’s fine, just bring your focus back to your breath. In time, with practice you will be able to keep your mind focused on this one thing alone, in this case your breath. This same principle can apply to you when you start thinking about the future too much and are getting stressed out; then remind yourself of all the stuff you have to do today.

I’ll give a few examples:

  • I need to pay my rent in two weeks but my pay check is late. What do I do if I don’t get my pay check on time? Forget that I need to buy groceries today; I need to check what I need and make a list.
  • I’m going to have an exam in a month, what if I don’t pass? Forget that I have to attend the class later today and I need to get my notes together.
  • What if my partner wants to leave me a year from now? Stop that, I need to get ready for our date today.

Like I said before, thinking about the future isn’t bad, sometimes you have to when you are making plans. But nobody has to or should think about the future 24/7. Remember, unless it is actually helping you, forget about the future and think about today.

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