I have always been a worrier.
Worrying is hardwired into my DNA.
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled to accept what was happening to me and to live in the moment.
I obsessively worry about the future. I wonder where I will be six months, a year, ten years from now.
I worry about money, my job, my student loans, my dog, my family, and my relationship.
My worrying keeps me up at night. It leaves me tangled in knots. I worry myself to the brink of exhaustion.
It’s hard to live in the moment. I’ve devoured self help books and attempted to practice mindfulness dozens of times before. There are some weeks where I am extremely successful. Those weeks I feel lighter, happier. I don’t worry so much about my job or about money. I know that eventually everything will work itself out and if things get hard I know they won’t always be that way.
But there are weeks that I can’t do it. I can’t stop searching for a new job, because I want out now. I worry I’ll be stuck in 9-5’s I hate for the rest of my life. I worry I’ll be this unhappy forever. I neglect my own health. I don’t walk my dog. I ignore my family and friends.
I wonder why it’s so hard for me to accept where I am and be happy with what I have. I look at my dog and wonder why I can’t be like her. For a dog, there only ever is now.
For me, there is now and later and way, way later. I’m always getting ahead of myself.
For now, I continue to learn and remind myself to practice mindfulness. Perhaps one day, mindfulness will be as easy as breathing.
But on those days where I struggle, just as you might, I wonder how I can learn to be more present in the moment? How can I hold myself accountable for my own well being?
Next time I begin to struggle I vow to:
Get in touch with nature.
Standing beneath the blue sky, feeling the sun warm the skin on the back of my neck, it’s hard to let your mind wander too far.
I’m aware of every sensation. I can feel the breeze lifting my hair. I can feel little beads of sweet pooling on my skin. I can dig my toes in the mud and the grass and connect myself to the Earth.
It’s easy to forget out modern day struggles when you’re connected with nature.
Next time I’m struggling, when the obsessive thoughts and worries won’t stop, I vow to connect with nature. Personally, I love to hike, kayak, and walk my dog. But there are tons of other ways you can connect with nature. You just have to find what you love.
Here are some ideas:
- Bird Watching
- Exploring nature trails
Spend time on a favorite hobby.
I often find that if I’m bored or doing something mindless (like watching TV or working on a boring task at work), I’m more susceptible to start worrying about things. When I’m busy or doing something that I love, I’m hyper focused on the task at hand. I feel happy and at peace. I love that I feel productive. From now on, I vow to take more time to work on a favorite hobby or do the things I love.
Some things you can do:
- Craft, D.I.Y projects
- Cooking or baking
- Sewing, knitting
- Learning a new skill
Spend time with family and friends.
When I’m busy and stressed, the first thing that seems to get pushed to the way side is my family and friends. I don’t have time to spend with them, I reason. I need to work on this or that if I’m ever going to do this.
But my family and friends are important.
At the end of the day, it’s my relationships with others that truly bring me happiness. If I feel that I’m unhappy or struggling with my own anxieties, I vow to set my worries and work aside and reconnect with others. Hopefully you will too.
How do you hold yourself accountable for remaining present in the current moment? What do you like to do when you begin to worry too much?