When Thoughts Create Stress and Anxiety

This post was written by Rhonda Wasserman

Original content by Ashley Berges

Do you spend time worrying about the future, Future thinking? It takes us from being mindful in the moment to thinking about what could happen and most likely what is not going to happen. 

Future thinking can cause us to be prisoners in our minds. We are constantly thinking about all the choices that we have made that we believe were wrong. Could we have changed a choice to have changed the outcome of the situation?

Future thinking is time-consuming, makes us feel powerless, and usually ends up negative because it is never going to happen. 

 First, future thinking causes us to always wonder, “what if?” We question ourselves, wondering if we would have done something different, and how our lives would have been. When we get into the thought process of “what if” it takes us off target and makes us question everything.  In fact, it is a deflection from our current situation.  Therefore, putting us on the sideline of life, questioning our reality.

Often, when we future think we may start asking ourselves about previous relationships. We want to know if the person we are no longer involved with is happier in their new relationship without us. We think that we may have made a mistake by leaving them. Again, this line of thinking takes us out of the moment. We need to realize that we were not the only ones in the relationship.

The emotions, actions, and all that came with the other person were also part of the relationship and influenced the outcome. We tend to think that if we changed one thing about ourselves, the situation would have changed. This is not a true reality. As a result, we create more and more scenarios in our minds that make us feel worse about where we are right now.

Another important aspect of future thinking is how fear can manifest from a future thought. We are no longer mindful and are focusing on the future. Often, we can feel fear and anxiety but not know the source of it. Our thoughts create these feelings, but we do not realize we are in our future thoughts. We are not mindful enough to stop the thought process and get into the emotion.

We need to catch when we are future thinking to stop the anxiety from future thoughts.  Furthermore, we need to be aware of where our thoughts and feelings are coming from based on future thinking. The more we can control our future thinking, the more we can stay in the moment and be in a place to make real change. Consequently, this will allow us to create a reality in the moment instead of thinking about the other options. 

Once we can get the future thinking out of our minds we will then be able to focus on the past thinking and the internal dialogue. Once we clear out the future thinking we can work on the past thoughts and self-sabotaging thoughts we have. We must get out of the questioning position, and out of questioning all the things we did not do that supposedly would have made things better.

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