Did that headline get your attention? Are you wanting to feel happier and less stressed?
Wondering what that one thing is?
Well here we go –
STOP TIME TRAVELING
I read about time traveling in a fabulous book by James Altucher called Choose Yourself!
Time traveling is when you are either worrying about the past or stressing about the future.
It means you are NOT living in the moment. Time travelling can completely ruin your here and now.
It’s what too many of us (including myself) do far too often.
When it all comes down to it, what you need to do to feel happier and less stressed is be in the moment.
With this in mind, I conducted an experiment over the Easter break.
First let me start with some background.
The weeks leading up to Easter were stressful. I’d just started a new temp assignment when the Queensland weather went crazy and the remnants of Cyclone Debbie hit Brisbane essentially shutting the CBD down for the day.
The next day I came down with a terrible cold – nothing like having a sick day on your 3rd day at a new job! While the doctor told me to go home, take time off work and rest, that simply wasn’t an option. After that, it was working full time and running to interviews in my lunch break. I was still sick and feeling terrible.
During that time, I took my cat who already has Stage 3 chronic kidney disease (which is heartbreaking enough) to the vet, only to be told he has developed a serious heart condition and could pass away at any moment. I was devastated.
To top things off, when I was pulling the cat cage out of the taxi van on the way home from the vet, I tripped and fell heavily to the ground. In true cat-mum style when I lying on the ground, all I could think was ‘I hope the cat is alright’.
By the time Easter came around I was exhausted, still sick and sore from my fall.
I knew I had to do something about my emotional state.
As I started thinking (or more accurately worrying) about whether I would get one of the jobs I had interviewed for, a thought popped into my head.
“When am I going to be happy? What’s it going to take?”
I suddenly realized I have been in a constant state of ‘when’ and ‘what if?”
“When I get a full time job, will I finally be happy? What if I don’t get a permanent job – what then?”
“When my beautiful boy dies I am going to be devastated and sad”.
“When I have a steady income I can stop worrying about money and do this, this and this”.
I realized I was all about the when and what if, and I was completely missing the NOW.
I made a pact with myself that the four-day long weekend was all about being in the moment and more importantly enjoying and making the most of that moment.
And you know what – it worked!
I couldn’t believe how calm and happy I felt throughout the long weekend.
Every time I started to time travel in any way, I pulled myself back into what I was doing.
If I was chilling with the cat, I relaxed into the moment and fully embraced it.
If I was doing the dishes or cleaning the house, I put on some music and enjoyed what I was doing. I danced around the house and sung out loud to myself.
I smiled to myself for no damn reason at all. 🙂
I didn’t stress about whether I would hear back after the interviews. I couldn’t control any of it, so I figured why worry about it.
I caught up with two close friends over the break and both commented on how much happier I was.
It made me realize that sometimes (hell most of the time) we have to make ourselves happy or we at least have to allow ourselves to be happy even when things are crazy, unpredictable or stressful.
I noticed by the end of the Monday public holiday, I was starting to slide a little (i.e. I was starting to time travel again). I was worrying about whether I had gotten one of the jobs and what would happen if I hadn’t.
Each time, I felt myself slipping, I had to pull myself back into the moment. It took self-discipline and persistence. I had to keep repeating the process. I had to keep focusing on the now.
Not yesterday, not tomorrow but today.
Right now is where the joy is. It’s where your calmness and happiness is waiting for you.
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