Decrease Anxiety by Living in the Now 
I find that most often, people feel sadness and increased amounts of anxiety by living in the past—hanging on to events that shaped who they are today. These events were either negative, positive, or both.  We find with athletes it’s often a positive event they chase to recapture the euphoria of that event.  We see this with greats like Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan. 
However, for some of us focusing on the past is often connected to either a trauma or fear we cannot shake.  It may be a long held belief that has affixed itself to our psyche.  These unshakeable thoughts become a part of our daily lives.  We find it difficult to move throughout the day carrying the burden of these weighted thoughts, feelings, and emotions with us.  Some symptoms of hopelessness are difficulty sleeping, an inability to sustain attention, lack of interest in social activities, sex, work, and possibly a decrease in appetite may be experienced.
A great first step to regaining control of your life is to seek professional help that can guide you through the process of eliminating thoughts that are barriers to your daily functioning.  Remember, you are not alone and you don’t have to endure this alone.  Many individuals experience diminished interest in life when they are unable to stop the repetitive voices inside their heads sending messages that make them feel unhappy and give a sense of hopelessness.  The process of learning how to dial down the voices and thoughts comes with using therapeutic tools that help you make a shift in your beliefs.  You see when you learn a new way of thinking about your past it allows you to be present in the Now.
Being present in the now…I know it sounds funny and maybe even a little off-center for some people.  But, I can tell you it works.  Working through the process of acceptance and believing—provides you with the tools to affirm that you have made it through that experience.  That’s right, YOU made it. Even if you have come through your journey with scars, it still counts as an accomplishment.  I imagine it took a lot to make it to the other side of your journey. So let’s put the focus on now. You are living in the here and now.  Your experience may have been a negative one that caused you to doubt your abilities or cause you to believe you are worthless and without hope. It’s simply not true. In fact by taking the time to read this blog its proof you are willing to do the work it takes to decrease your pain.  You are a winner.  Don’t forget, as long as we breathe we have a second chance. 
Take this moment to stop and deeply breathe in the air surrounding you.  Take a moment to really look around your surroundings.  Make a decision to be very present in this moment.  If you are unhappy with what you see, seek help to make changes that will improve your life.  Make a decision to leave the past behind and actively participate in your decision to Live in the Now.
Submitted by Lauren F. White-Johnson, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Anxiety and Stress Center, Orland Park, IL
(708) 349-5433