I’m always surprised how hard it is to live in the moment. Supposedly, it’s one of the best ways to be happy. Appreciate what you have in your life at that time. Don’t worry about what the future holds and don’t stress about the past. You can’t control either of those, so there’s little point in obsessing over them.

But knowing this doesn’t actually mean it’s easy to do. When you’re sitting on your couch watching television or reading a book on the bus, it’s shocking how quickly your mind can totally disconnect from whatever you’re doing and start wondering about what’s passed or what’s to come. Even as I sit here writing, I’m having trouble not worrying about what task I possibly could have messed up in the past that will affect my future – a double whammy. Worrying about the past and future all rolled into one.

Daydreaming is especially easy to get lost in when you’re thinking about relationships. It’s easy to get caught up in what could happen. Maybe a friendship will turn into something more. Maybe someone will say something that will offend you. Maybe someone likes you and you don’t like them back, or vice versa. I’m being purposefully vague because it’s easy to daydream about pretty much any facet or possibility surrounding relationships – good, bad, or just random.

However, while daydreaming can be fun, it definitely comes with some catches – and these are consequences beyond the stress of worrying over something you can no longer change. When you’re constantly thinking about things outside of the present moment it can be hard to actually appreciate the good things in life. Who cares if the person you like does or doesn’t like you back (well, obviously you care)? You can’t control how someone else feels. And that’s okay. No one is obligated to return your feelings, so accept that that’s a possibility and don’t get caught up in blaming yourself for not being good enough. Appreciate what you do have.

Do you have a good job? Good friends? The ability to afford electricity? Take advantage of these things and try being content. I’m not going to say everything will work out on its own. I think that’s absolute bullshit. I don’t think there’s some karma genie keeping tabs to ensure everything works out in the end, but I do believe you can work to change your mental focus so you’re not missing out on the here and now.

If you’re too busy worrying about your relationship with person A or your crush on person B, then you’re going to miss out on enjoying the time you could have spent drinking with your friends. Plus, I find that constantly worrying about the future is a total waste of time. There’s no way to know what will happen tomorrow, much less 20, 30, 40 years into the future. But maybe I just tell myself that because thinking about the future is, to me at least, absolutely terrifying. What’s even a good way to be spending your time 30 years from now? I have no fucking clue.

No matter what you imagine, your future will not go as planned. That’s pretty much the only certainty, so stop wasting your time thinking about how you want your life to go. It adds unnecessary stress and is completely pointless.

I’m aware that it’s way easier to tell you to live in the moment than it is to actually do so. Just while writing this piece, my mind has zoned out into many weird ‘potential’ scenarios – each one less likely than the first. So do what you can, just try to appreciate what’s happening now as much as possible.

Author: Dani Howell

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