It’s interesting isn’t it that we know we can only live in the present time, not re-write the past and yet we can weigh ourselves down with history or baggage in the form of guilt, and yet still have time to be concerned or fearful of the future letting those ‘worry warts’ take over and spoil the here and now.
Someone recently described to me that guilt is a ‘past’ emotion and worry is a ‘future’ emotion, until then I’d never really thought about this specifically. Since then I’ve pondered about this quite a bit taking more notice of how the past and future can hugely interfere with our present.
Guilt and worry fill our lives and are two emotions that bring us no good whatsoever and yet we give them far more importance than we should and spend too much time ‘feeding’ them both than we should.
Guilt means not feeling satisfied or blaming ourselves for something we either did or didn’t do in the past, and worry can cause us to be concerned or fearful about things we could or should do to the point of preventing us taking action. We can let our past interfere with our present which will affect our future.
Whilst none of us have that ‘magic switch’ to turn off guilt and worry, which we all wish we had, but what we can do is change our mindset to spend less time focusing on these two useless emotions and use strategies instead to reduce their importance and decrease their energy in our everyday lives.
So, how can we deal with guilt and worry and what strategies might we use to help us give less credence to them and more to positive actions?
- Guilt – write it down – Try writing down a list of what you feel guilty or remorseful about, what the regrets are and what the ‘feeling’ actually is and trying to identify what if anything we might be able to do to make amends or find relief by ‘putting it in a black box’ out of the way if we really can’t change things. Sometimes writing things down can minimise the bad feeling as the bare facts in themselves often hold less weight than our feelings
- Worry – set time aside – If we set aside a set time and identify and use a set place for worrying and go over our worries, we can contain this more. Likewise, also writing these down to create a ‘worry list’ can be useful so we can ‘see’ what it is we are concerned about. Spending time going over our worry list during our set worry time can at least restrict the rest of the day to focusing on more positive things
Becoming more conscious of any past guilt and worry about the future is a step in the right direction, after that it’s about trying to manage and cope by using positive strategies to help us manage these on a day by day basis.
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