Sunday, June 23, 2013

The importance of being a realist

Nervous people live in either the past or the future. When we are in lowered tones, we live in the past, rehashing what was, what could have been. When we are in fearful temper, we agonize over the future, over what may transpire.

I often find myself worrying about what lies ahead. I fear a plane crashing, a major change at work, a loss of income, a serious illness—all potential future events. Dr. Low would remind me that finding peace involves living in the moment, not working up a situation in the “preview.”

Dr. Low also emphasizes realism. A realist doesn’t fret over major life disruptions that realistically have little likelihood or that are unavoidable at any rate. For example, a realist acknowledges that, yes, all of us will die someday, but he doesn’t spend his life worrying about how that could happen. A realist doesn’t try to predict the future and finds happiness and inner peace by living in the moment.

For nervous people, being a realist is challenging. But when I stop and simply listen to the wind or my cat breathing I instantly feel relief from being able to relieve myself, even momentarily, of the immense burden of trying to worry about—and ultimately trying to control—the future. Being a realist takes practice, and I have a long way to go. Yet simply acknowledging the value of living in the present certainly reflects more realistic thinking.


Daisys Dukes said...

I've had anxiety for 5-6 years. This really described
How I feel

Lauren said...

I found that for me, too, being realistic is the most challenging when I'm worrying about something. It sometimes becomes an obsession to the point where the outcomes I fear are nowhere near what would be likely to happen.

Being realistic is hard sometimes, you sometimes need someone else to put it into perspective or you can get lost in the worry. Thanks for this post! It's so good to see that I'm not alone with that problem :)

Jason Ellis said...

Great insight on realistic thinking and being in the present moment.

I struggle with this myself daily and it's a constant fight to stop projecting what could be (good or bad)and getting too hung up on the emotional consequence of it.

I think the biggest struggle is having this thought process so embedded in your thinking that you don't even realize it's there.

Thanks for creating a separation for those who never acknowledged their forward thinking habit before.

Lyubov Ismakov said...

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Sam Davis said...

Yes, it is far too easy to drift away from the present moment. A book that certainly helps in developing the ability to "remain present", is "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. It had a very big impact on me and I think it can do the same for others!

Sam, Social Anxiety Solved

Dennis Simsek said...

Fantastic article, when I started off as a blogger I was motivated by the way people loved my success story of how a pro athlete overcame an anxiety disorder, then it all came crashing down on me, sticking with it through the tough times is key I guess. Thanks again on being a realist in this world, and if your were interested my blog is located at take care.

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Anonymous said...

"Fearful Temper –– negative judgments (discouragement, preoccupation, embarrassment, worry, hopelessness, despair, sense of shame, feelings of inadequacy) directed against oneself" I too, live with anxiety. The form that has the most dire consequences for me is Fearful Temper. When I worry about what I've said, or not said; did or did not do; when I am in this Fearful Temper it leads me to a very dark place. A self destructive place. Worry about the future is uncomfortable, but this inward directed Fearful Temper is self destructive.

CA B said...

This is a WONDERFUL post! Thank you for putting out such great info. For those of us dealing with anxiety it is truly a sometimes daily if not by the minute struggle. Living in the moment is so much easier said than done, but with much work and dedication, it can flourish!

Kim said...

This is exactly what I needed. I have been trying to deal with anxiety/depression on my own but I am failing. This post spoke to me and I am so grateful I stumbled upon this. Even though I know others deal with this on a regular basis, I feel like I am the only one in the world.

Thanks again for your words, they are a great encouragement!