You wake up on what seems to be another loop of what transpired the day before--and the day before that. You try to tamp down the tiredness to focus on your responsibilities, thinking rest can wait but those tasks cannot. You open the television, you hear the usual barrage of horrible news, and you feel yourself tapping out. Suddenly, all the suppressed fear and anxiety come rushing down. It’s only eight am.
Your friend wakes up at noon and proceeds to do nothing for the rest of the day. She has heard enough bad news and has become desensitized to it. She no longer has any interest about the future, thinking it is only about to get worse from here.
Two reactions from one cause.
How do we motivate ourselves when there seems nothing to look forward to? Our fear of the future is not baseless when what everyone talks about is how everything is getting worse—from climate change to the recent delta variant to the economic crises. Our mental health is the first to take the brunt of it all.
Fear and Anxiety is our body’s way of telling us that we are under too much pressure and stress. One small trigger can cause us to “flip a table”, which is a manifestation of everything that is going on in our heads. Young people no longer have the motivation to study or work on improving themselves, thinking it is pointless since it seems the world just might end before they even grow. On the other end, some people throw themselves into work as a coping mechanism, trying to suppress the dark thoughts about future and not letting their minds roam free even for a moment.
The future looks terrifying because it is unknown. You cannot control it, and it feels like all you can do is watch it unfold. But being in this line of thinking means forgetting about today. Disregarding the now. And most importantly, ignoring yourself.
According to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, mindfulness practices bring kind awareness and acknowledgement to your anxious feelings and effectively reduces symptoms of fear and anxiety. Mindfulness brings us back to the present and reminds us that our intrusive, negative thoughts are not real; they have not happened yet, and we should let them go.
One of the benefits of mindfulness is it helps you become more aware of your body in the present moment. It teaches us to mentally scan our body, making us more connected to what is being physically experienced. It provides a safe space for your thoughts and feelings where you can recognize your fear and anxiety and calmly release them.
Meditation is an effective method to counter stress responses. According to a study by Wolters Kluwer Health, Meditation stimulates a set of actual physical changes in our brains, forming stress-busting “relaxation responses” visible in MRI imaging.
Being mindful in the present breeds healthier and wiser life decisions. When we are not bombarded by thoughts and events that have not yet happened, we are able to recognize the little things that make us happy thus making us more motivated and ready to face the challenges of each day. Cultivating a safe space where you can express yourself is important to live a fulfilling life, so even if tomorrow might look gloomy, you can still make today worth it.
If it helps, look at the future the way astronomers see the universe. A lot of things are still unknown out there, but the things we are seeing today are worth it. They are beautiful, exciting, and mind-blowing. You deserve to see life in that light.
Athena Wisdom Institute has a deep passion for cultivating a more grounded, mindful, and fulfilling life for people around the world. We offer courses on Ancient Wisdom, Rituals, and Meditations that can help you with your journey to a more meaningful life. Allow yourself to blossom to your highest potential and sign up to our well-being programs today.