Thoughts about the past and future, especially when inaccurately fondly or pessimistically, might serve to distort both our expectations and perceived reality.
This, in turn, might drive negative thoughts and emotions.
I heard once that depression is living in the past and anxiety is living in the future.
I’m no psychologist, but this does at least reflect my own personal experiences.
I have – and still do, although less frequently – experienced periods during which I lost hope, felt empty, and didn’t want to do anything at all.
I have no clue if this was diagnosable clinical depression.
Likewise, this post isn’t intended to be a suggested course of action for such a condition.
What I do know is that these episodes freaking blow.
One thing I’ve noticed is that these feelings tend to involve ruminating over my past.
What is no longer.
Things, people, and places that brought me joy.
Do these thoughts drive the accompanying feelings of malaise and melancholy?
Or is it the other way around?
Is it a causal relationship at all?
I don’t know.
There’s an association there, though.
Thoughts of the past are a common denominator with the times I really feel the clouds move in.
While it’s taken much work, I have been able to cut down on the frequency, intensity, and duration of these episodes by focusing on the present.
Focusing not on what “was”, but what “is”.
Drawing my attention toward what is actually happening, not what has happened or might happen.
What I think is powerful about this approach is that it closes the gap between reality and expectations that drives discontent.
What else would we do, really?
All we can expect is our reality.
Everything in the past is gone.
Nothing in the future is certain.
We can celebrate and learn from what was.
We can hope and plan for what might be.
But we can live only here and now.
Expect only here and now.
You are worthy of the best life.
You’ve got this.