Updated: May 25, 2020
I think it's fair to say that in life we often project into the future. In this space and time, we're projecting what we have to do next, how we're going to get there, and how it's going to go. We role play conversations and arguments that haven't been had, trips that have to be made, money that is going to be spent and commitments we may or may not attend. This projection of what lays ahead in space in time, is a story, and I want you to recognize that we ourselves are writing that story.
The baseline story I hear people create is the trip from here to there that may result in car trouble, flat tires, abduction, and that tornado from the Wizard of Oz that is clearly going to drop you off in Never Never Land and have you never getting back home. It will probably happen all in one trip from here to the grocery store, for sure. The statistics are totally in your favor with that, right? (Insert sarcasm.)
When thoughts like that occur, I want you to recognize that you are the creator of this masterpiece. When we project into the future, it's an event that has not yet taken place. The only place that exists is in our head. I like to look at the sewer grates in my subdivision and look for Pennywise to offer me a balloon or a role of toilet paper as I walk by. Thank you Stephen King. =) That's a fun future event I am still planning for. Don't take that from me and tell me he's not real. I saw the movie! ;)
When we are role playing a conversation or an argument that needs sought out, we go into what the other person is going to say that will be worst possible thing that could come out of their mouth. That creates a feeling inside of us. It creates anger, anxiety, tears, and most likely we throw out some poor coping skills and go into that conversation 1/2 cocked, guarded and angry. Better yet we avoid the conversation, let resentment build and look for things that support our point of view that that person sucks. Then cite it in an essay in APA format.
The anger and coping skills we build from this fantasy are all techniques that are masking our vulnerability because we "know" that person is going to say something douchy on purpose. Do you know what our great authors and writers have on us? They write a silver lining and often a happy ending into their stories. In this scenario, we don't. Our baseline anxiety creates a crap story that will never get published and no one wants to read, not even us. But we loop that story over and over and create more angst on it. If someone says, "oh it will be ok." They are often discarded for their credits to our story and we continue to cite the worst possible scenario in history.
This is anxiety. In excess, it creates nothing good in our life. It stops us in fear. These thoughts create a cortisol (stress hormone) release, and all kinds of crap our bodies don't like. It contributes to poor health. It contributes to substance abuse as we try to make coping easier.
Meditation, mindfulness and dear Deepak Chopra are all tools for centering ourselves and being in the present. Yes, you should take life as it comes, but that's another article. But for wherever you are right now, when you start projecting into the future, write a story that is fun and empowering. That story is taking your present mood and creating happiness instead of misery. People want to hear that story, so does your body. Next time you're going to the grocery store, look for a pot of gold instead of a flat tire.
Til next time,
Have a magical day!