How to Approach Life – Stay Present, But Plan Ahead
‘Staying present’ has become something of a tired psychological and spiritual axiom, especially when it’s confused with never making rational plans for the future, yet a new study emphasises the importance of balancing these two approaches to secure a peaceful inner state and a meaningful life.
The study adds more weight to the notion that endless analysing your problems doesn’t really help, but just create more questions and more negative psychic energy.
While it may seem counter-intuitive to the egocentric modern man with his faith heavily set in science and analysis, living in the moment – rather than dwelling in the past or worrying about the future – has been shown to produce better long-term health.
To see how these factors influence responses to stress, the researchers looked at data from 223 study participants.
The study included 116 people between the ages of 60 and 90, and 107 people between the ages of 18 and 36.
All of the study participants were in the United States.
All of the study participants were asked to complete an initial survey in order to establish their tendency to engage in proactive coping.
Participants were then asked to complete questionnaires for eight consecutive days that explored fluctuations in mindfulness.
On those eight days, participants were also asked to report daily stressors and the extent to which they experienced negative mood.
The researchers found that engaging in proactive coping was beneficial at limiting the effect of daily stressors, but that this advantage essentially disappeared on days when a participant reported low mindfulness.
Mindfulness Key to Transcending Fear
Another recent study conducted at Wake Forest School of Medicine states that people who engage mindfulness – the practice of present moment awareness – carry less pain and stress than those who don’t.
The study’s lead author, Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., said: “We now know that some people are more mindful than others, and those people seemingly feel less pain.”
Further still, a team of Virginia Commonwealth University researchers also recently showed that people who have greater levels of mindfulness are better able to cope with negative emotions and social rejection.
Researchers from VCU, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Kentucky were curious to discover if mindfulness could be a buffer against the anger and pain of social rejection
“Our findings suggest that mindful people are not as distressed or pained by social rejection,” the researchers wrote.
Recovering Man Opinion
While psychology has it’s value in helping individuals uncover traumatic experiences and offering them a path through tough times in life, the notion that a person should spend their life in therapy is highly questionable.
In some cases, we are addicted to our own minds, our victim stories and our pain.
Letting go of it can seem unfathomable, although the actual process is so simple.
The mind (and ego) desperately screams that this is silly and you’re just ignoring your deep and complex problems, yet in setting future goals and resting in the present moment with no judgement of yourself, your thoughts or others, you are doing the absolute opposite of ignoring the reality of life.
If you’d like to explore this topic more, why not check out the free Recovering Man book, From Lost Boy to Awakened Man, which takes you on a 9-Step journey in taking personal action to rid yourself of fear, compulsive behaviour and weakness.