A weird feeling in the belly, dry mouth, slightly furrowed brow, a low-volume current coursing through fingers, arms, shoulders, back, and legs, tightening everything. Only deep breathing relieves it. But only those who are aware that they are anxious even bother to breathe deep. The rest simply carry on worrying because they are so used to it – they don’t realize this negative feedback loop destroying them, is not actually the default setting.
Revisiting occurrences from the past produces the exact same symptoms as when it actually happened, be that hours, weeks, years, or decades ago. Regret-filled memories flood the system with the same hormones as during the events and functionality is impaired at almost the same level – sometimes more than when it was actually happening – because one is alone in their private bubble and doesn’t need to keep up their public face.
Fretting about stuff that is yet to occur, impairs one’s ability to perform or enjoy what one is doing (even if it’s just sitting around or lying about) right now. The cruddy feeling produced by anxiety-causing what-ifs colors the entire day. Wallowing in the down-pull of future events that – based upon previous life-stats – are almost guaranteed to happen as ‘feared’, impairs one’s ability to take rational steps towards realizing a positive version of that future. Instead, it distracts us from actively building the present, here and now, upon which the desired future could base itself. And it does exacerbate the humors (sorry, couldn’t resist).
So you have to ask yourself – is it useful?
How to deal with an event, should it come to pass, during or after said event, could still be considered useful-thinking. But pointless-worrying about the awful possibilities that could happen (and possibly never might) does naught but dilute the drink.
It is, for instance, far more useful to plan for optimized health and looks by adding or subtracting processes and items from the current lifestyle, so that one maximizes the chances of being an attractive older person. But just worrying about how one would look is pointless. Worse, worrying about being an aged-reject, is even more unproductive, because the very process of feeling the emotions of loneliness and illness in that scenario, contributes to that exact future, by flooding the system with imbalances of corporeal elements.
Visualizing how beautiful one would be in the future is just as stupid, when taken to excess. Once again, one is engaging in a form of ‘joyless pleasure’ because feeling good is one thing, and imagining a range of futures to pick the one to work towards is sensible, but excessive sensational imaginings can result in the same disorientation that occurs ,when one picks up an empty bottle genuinely believing it to be full.
You might be shocked at the amount you time travel. But what is so great about the present moment?
Once you start noticing and bringing yourself into the present moment, you will notice the most wonderful thing of all. Time slows down. And in small moments, you can accomplish more than you did in hours and days previously, with a lucidity of focus heretofore not experienced.
Remember when the protagonist in the Matrix dodges those furious bullets in real-time and a number of precise actions occur within a very short moment?
That is actually what it is like when one is 100% in the present moment. Time slows down.
When one is fully consumed by the present moment, whether one is filing nails, washing dishes, brushing their hair, writing a paper, making the bed (yuck!), chopping veggies, the thought-process is lucid and the resultant actions are excellent and precise.
Being this way, one discovers, that one has accomplished a number of tasks, mundane or lofty, in an astonishingly short short period of time. Compare that to hours and days just passing by, with the list of undone things piling up, along with the long list of distractions to quell the growing feeling of unease at this non-accomplishment.
This is what happens when we keep allowing our minds to leave our bodies and enter another space-time: nothing.
Are you responding within to events past, or a future not-yet-existent?
Be where you are. Just be, exactly where you are. And only do that which you are doing.
If navel-gazing is what you are doing, do that thoroughly and excellently with full attention. Because the navel-gazing is, while everything else isn’t.
Only then will you find yourself concretely moving forward, and not incrementally in sporadic circles.