Ever find yourself traveling back in your mind to places you love or times you have enjoyed? Sometimes staying present isn’t all that beneficial during challenging circumstances, like the current pandemic. Or a challenging family situation or workplace changes.
Projecting ourselves to a previous time or a desired future time can serve as a break. It can allow our minds to escape the present circumstances that we may not want to think about anymore. It can also be inspiring. Escaping to an ideal future moment is common in athletics. Athletes will often imagine themselves in play, going through scenarios prior to the actual event.
Sounds good but not sure where to start? Try one of these exercises:
Reflect on a nostalgic experience. This mental time traveling nostalgia helps people feel happier, create stronger connections to others, become more willing to give and seek help, and gain a deeper sense of meaning. Don’t limit it to just the good, reflect on the painful days as well to keep perspective.
Schedule 15 minutes in your day to worry about the present. Lay out the worst case scenario and work your way through it. Avoid RUMINATION! It’s not helpful and only increases your cortisol levels.
Transport yourself down an alternative timeline. “What if I would have made XYZ decision?” Walk yourself down that path and see where it would have taken you. Counterfactual thinking- things that could have happened but didn’t helps to realize all that we should be grateful for!