To break the habit of becoming anxious or fearful about the future or feeling despondent about the past, takes time.
When I think about beating myself up about the past, I use the analogy of watching a re-run of a movie or a football match. You know what the outcome is going to be – your favourite character tragically dies midway through the movie, or the team you support loses because of one unfortunate slip up, yet you re-live the frame by frame actions over and over again to find the outcome remains the same.
So what is the point?
You can’t change past actions or outcomes – sometimes you learn something from the experience, but then sometimes you don’t…it is done.
So when you find yourself starting a re-run in your mind, that’s the time to hit the Pause button, take a deep breath and remind yourself you are here now, in the present moment. Now is all you have any control over so be still, concentrate on your breath, appreciate what is happening around you. Is the sun shining ? Is your favourite meal cooking on the stovetop? Pull your awareness away from the re-run and do what you can in the now to make your life the best that you can with what you have.
As for projecting the ‘what ifs’’ into the future – well as I said in my earlier post, you can prepare for something with the best skills that you have and often that is enough. However when life serves you up challenges, it is then that the practice of mindfulness is helpful to gain some serenity. Do the best you can in whatever circumstances you find yourself in, focus on your breath and create some peace in the space within yourself. This is really helpful to give you the clarity and focus that you need to think clearly, and gain some inner strength to deal with what life has brought for you to handle.
There are many breathing practices taught in yoga that help your body, mind and spirit. I have been talking about just the simplest calming ones for the mind, but there are also plenty that are energizing too. If you join a class you can find out more
Remember you need to practice to be a musician, so too you need practice sometimes to be a more accepting human being.
Please let me know if this works for you, or tell me about your own experiences.