Planning for the Future While Staying in the Present

Mindfulness is mentioned a lot in recovery groups and counseling. In the 12-step rooms, you may have heard the saying, “One day at a time.” Taking recovery one day at a time is a principle of mindfulness. Mindfulness encourages you to stay in the present and limit worrying and obsessing over the future. Even though mindfulness is a wonderful strategy, you still have to plan for the future. You can be mindfully cognizant of the future, while also staying in the present moment.

What types of activities do you need to plan for? There are some things that you just have to plan for. Bills, education, family, vacations are all things that you most likely need to have plans for. Planning is inevitable, but it does not need to overwhelm you. You may find it helpful to take a break if planning becomes stressful.

Staying in the present moment is about awareness. Mindfulness is almost like picking and choosing your battles. Yes, you need to plan for bills and vacations but you don’t have to be buried with stress.

There are ways to refocus and stay in the moment:

  • Breathe
  • Focus on the rhythm of your breath
  • Be observant of walking, breathing, eating
  • Meditate
  • Listen to calming music
  • Do yoga
  • Purposefully remove negative thoughts
  • Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts and actions

When you feel anxiety about life situations, remember that you can’t control everything but you can control your reactions. Planning for necessities can be stressful, so taking a step back to breath and collect your thoughts is important.

You can ask yourself some questions to help ground yourself.

  • Can I control this situation?
  • If so, what parts can I control?
  • Will worrying help me get through the situation?
  • How can I reduce stress?

Life has ups and downs. You can’t control everything, and you can’t always prevent stress from happening. You do have power over your thoughts. You can take a deep breath and revisit the situation later. Making lists to organize what you can control is a beneficial way to be mindful while planning.

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