I was recently talking with a wise friend who shared this with me, and I wanted to pass it on:
"Depression happens when we're living in the past. Anxiety happens when we're living in the future. We need to live 'present-tense' in the now, fully immersed in whatever it is we're doing."
That statement really rang true for me. We tend to live either in the past or the future. For me, it's the future. I'm continually thinking of things that I need to do, goals I want to achieve, or things that could happen.
Others live primarily in the past, wishing they could change things that happened, or feeling guilty.
It can be hard to live in the present. Sometimes I feel like I'm living with adult ADHD, barely able to focus on the task right in front of me. On one hand, I thrive on multi-tasking - but it becomes a problem when I can no longer focus on one thing well.
She went on to say,
"If you're doing dishes, do the dishes (focus on doing that to the best of your ability). If you're in a conversation, be in the conversation (focus). If you're doing laundry, do the laundry." Focus, focus, focus. For me, when I'm working, I need to work. When I'm mothering, I need to mother well. When I'm studying, study. Distractions will never go away, but I can still work on being focused on what is right in front of me.
If we somehow learned the art of focusing, we could avoid so many spiraling thoughts. We wouldn't worry so much about what people are thinking about us. We wouldn't dwell on our mistakes as much. We wouldn't fret about the future so often. Our minds might just be open enough to hear that still, small whisper of God that longs to speak to our hearts.
Jesus even teaches this concept in Matthew 6:33-34: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
This video for Ann Voskamp's 1000 gifts illustrates this so well. Take a moment to watch.