As a solution focused therapist, I attempt to stay in the present as much as possible. I explain to my clients that the past is where Rumination can be found. Rumination is usually found on the couch hanging out with Depression. Ahhhh, those shoulda, coulda, woulda days. If only I had gone to college sooner. What would my life be like if I had kids later/earlier? Maybe if I had been born rich... Before you know it, Regret comes knocking at the door with Resentment close behind (you can always hope Depression doesn’t have the energy to get off the couch and answer). This often triggers an unhelpful cycle that accomplishes nothing other than dulling your mood and stealing your motivation. The past is a great place to visit for important life lessons and happy memories; however, if we overstay our welcome, we might end up in an unproductive “rut” that depletes our energy. Practicing mindfulness, regularly, can combat this cycle. This doesn’t mean to meditate everyday (although that would be dope as well). Mindfulness is simply described as paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Eating, showering, or taking a walk can all be practices in mindfulness. We can do anything “mindfully” by paying attention to our senses during the activity. If you are eating an apple, pay attention to the texture, the temperature, and the taste of the apple. Notice the feeling of biting and chewing. While taking a walk notice how your feet feel hitting the pavement or how your bare feet feel in the grass; feel the wind blow across your face or feel the warmth of sunshine on your skin. The idea is to pull your mind into the present moment; to let go of those negative ideas and feelings. Mindfulness practices are cheap, easy, and require nothing but focus. Stay mindful and happy! Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.
Rachel Hensley is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master's degree in Family Therapy from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She is also certified as an Anger Resolution Therapist and runs a private practice in the Clear Lake area.