Recovery can take a long time for your depressed loved one. Read and share this article with them. They can use the future projection exercise below to shift their mood when dealing with negative symptoms they can’t change. You can use it too!
When you are dealing with a difficult period in your life it’s important to remember the concept of time. Here’s a definition to consider:
Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.
Simply put, time is a continuum that starts the minute you are born and it never stops. With each second of a day that passes you become a different person.
This is a scientific fact. Even if you think you are the same and feel the same from moment to moment you are different. Your biology changes by the second. Your environment changes. And together these aspects shape you in the present moment.
This concept is at the core of Buddhist teachings. They call it impermanence. It is a term used to explain that the world and our existence is in a constant state of flux. Time passes on no matter what and no one can stop it.
This is an especially important concept to consider in moments where life is not working the you way you want it to. Sometimes it feels that things will never change or that it will never get better. That is impossible.
While feelings are relevant to the way you experience the world it has nothing to do with reality. Feelings can’t be measured in distance, time and form. And feelings change from moment to moment as time shifts and new things happen.
So, no matter how bad your situation, it helps to understand that it is inevitable that your situation will change. It may get worse for a while. It may get better. But life is a constant state of ups and downs.
The more you accept that life is constantly changing with your control the more you can learn to go with the flow and take heart in bad times knowing it will get better. What goes up inevitably must go down, and vice versa. Sometimes it goes far down. But it always comes back up eventually.
Future projections exercise
- Find a quiet place to sit or lay with no distractions
- Set a 5 minute timer
- Close your eyes
- In your mind visualize yourself as you are right now. Get present to your clothes, your body, your surroundings. Get present to your unhappiness. Get present to your depression. Feel your sadness. Feel your pain. Do this for 1-2 minutes. Now, shift your thoughts to a future time where you are happy. You can be doing anything in this future memory. Include people you want. Cloth yourself and create your body the way you want it to look. Feel how happy you are. See yourself doing something you love. Think about how great it all is. Stay in this memory for as long as you like or shift to another memory. If you like you can even travel to the past and visit your past accomplishments. Feel the happiness in moments that were incredible.
- When you open your eyes you will wake up and life will be as it was when you closes your eyes. But know it is now 5 minutes beyond the time it was so the world is already a different place. You are already closer to your future memory. What is right now, won’t be soon.
Keep this old adage present as you move into your day: “This too, shall pass”