When was the last time you were on a teeter-totter? Been a few years? For many, they live on a teeter-totter bouncing back and forth from depression thoughts to their anxieties. They think about the negative experiences of the past, replaying them and wishing them away then jumping to fears of the unknown or predicting the future to be bad. Depression often comes with replaying negative experiences from our past, re-experiencing loss, rehearsing guilt about situations we cannot change, and saying things like, “if only” or “I wish” or “I should have.” Sometimes this thinking is so faulty because we might say things like “I should have known” in situations where we simply could not have known. Anxiety often comes from thoughts of “what if” or thinking that the past will replay itself or is a predictor somehow of the future. It’s the “if I think that something bad will happen, it probably will” mentality. Both are exhausting. Both are ineffective.
I remember as a kid trying to stand in the middle of the teeter-totter. You would position your legs so that your body hovered over the center. Then you would attempt to balance. If you could do so, your teeter-totter would remain straight or balanced. It was kinda fun to see if you could make your teeter-totter balance out.
You know what’s also kinda fun? Living in the moment. For literally 100’s of clients I have seen, this is the practice for them. Yes, and I say practice. When you live in the moment, you have complete control. You actually live life instead of regretting or fearing. This is not about flippantly forgetting lessons of the past or mindfully planning for the future. Living in the moment means listening instead of planning what you’re going to say. Living in the moment means noticing the world as it is around you. Living in the moment means putting the past in the past, the future in the future, and recognizing what is the current moment. I am amazed at how people’s lives really change when they begin living in and recognizing moments. So, if you have found yourself bouncing back and forth, take a step back, and check out your moment. You may find that it is way better than where you have been spending your time. But, remember this is a practice. It takes time to develop but the more you do, the more balance you will see.