I have this thing where I wish the world would speed, or slow down depending on the situation. In good moments, I obviously wish I could be at that moment forever as if I’m asking the world just to slow down because I finally feel okay. Then there are times when I can see the end of something coming and wish it would just finish already. This feeling happens with school, tests, relationships, and even reading. I see it coming, and I get anxious about it. My stomach starts turning and sometimes time even slows down. A page is taking longer to read. I’m taking longer to write an answer to a test question. The days at work last longer than usual. It makes sense in the other way too. When I’m happy in a moment and want to stay there, all I’m thinking about is how it will end. It always has the opposite effect, but I still find myself gravitating towards that way of thinking.
This only makes life difficult. I find myself sitting at my desk with anxiety high and not being able to keep my legs from bouncing. I find myself stressing and becoming overwhelmed by the list of things I still need to accomplish. It a weird way, this is my comfort zone. I know what to expect. I know what I’m feeling. I know why it’s happening. I know everything about this feeling. Sometimes, I even know how to release it. If I start living in the present moment, then what? Do I just magically become happy? But how does one even go about this?
I bet you also have heard a lot about mindfulness and how incredible it can be. I hear others talking about meditation and how much it works for them. I tried it. I swear I tried it all. I tried doing Headspace, and I was able to do it until it started being fifteen minutes and I gave up. I tried other apps as well. All about breathing and relaxing. It worked for a week. Then there are coloring books – and oh man, I LOVED coloring when I was younger, but now, I just stress about the color patterns and how awful it’s going to look. I tried the drawing the same shape over and over, but all I could think of then was how much I was screwing it up. As you can see, my mind isn’t great at this whole “being present” thing.
The living in the present “movement” for lack of a better term, is appealing for me. My anxiety and depression often hide me away in past mistakes or an uncertain future. I try to fix this by predicting and being scared of everything. Being too nervous about screwing something up, rather than just doing the best that I can. For the next few weeks, I am going to try as many new things as I can and do my best just do it without overthinking it. I am finding that this whole sitting still forms of meditation and presentness isn’t cutting it out for me, so I’m going to try to move beyond that.
I have a bunch of stuff that I currently do that work for me (puzzles, collages, reading, hiking, therapy), but I want to bulk up my “toolbox” and have a variety of go-to tools that I can use. I wanted to take an active step towards becoming more proactive about living in the present. I don’t want life to keep passing me by anymore. I don’t want to constantly be worried and wishing for time to slow down or hurry the crap up. I just want to be here, but it’s not always that simple so making moves is what I need to do.
Below are some activities I’m going to try. I’ll write about each activity after I do my best to fully experience it and write about how it went, and where I can do better and how I handled it. I will be noting how I felt before I did the activity, rating my anxiety and depression on a scale from one to ten and then after as well.
-Indoor Rock Climbing
I will name more as I come up with more ideas – I also welcome more ideas as well! If you tried any of these, let me know how it worked out for you. I would be interested to hear others experiences.