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12 Uncomfortable Feelings That Tell You’re On The Right Track

12 Uncomfortable Feelings That Tell You’re On The Right Track

No matter what stage you are at in your life, it is important that you feel you are on the right track to achieve your individual goals. The problem is that many of us experience feelings of fear and discomfort as we grow and evolve as individuals, and there is a tendency to mistake these emotions for symptoms of unhappiness or discontentment.

As a result of this, we may instinctively pull back from the precipice and attempt to deal with issues that simply do not exist, rather than embracing these unsettling emotions and understanding that they are the mere embodiment of change. Once we achieve the latter, we can continue to pursue our goals with tenacity and success.

12 Uncomfortable Thoughts, Feelings and Emotions that Indicate you are on the right track

To help understand this in greater detail, let’s take a look at the feelings and emotions that are clear indicators of positive change and personal progression. These include: –

1. Realising that you are the only Person responsible for your Life and Happiness

As you make strides to improve yourself and your lifestyle, you will quickly come to the realisation that you and you alone are responsible for your future happiness. This type of emotional autonomy is extremely daunting, while it can also create an incredible amount of pressure that weighs heavily on your shoulders. Despite this, learning to embrace this feeling as a symbol of growth is the first step towards future attainment.

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2. Feeling Lost and Directionless

Often, the sense of feeling lost or directionless is mistaken for a symbol of depression, but in fact the opposite may be true. Instead, it indicates that you are becoming more present in your life, as you begin to consider alternative narratives and opportunities outside of the premeditated restrictions that you have previously placed on yourself. So although this makes you feel as though you are directionless, you are actively reconsidering the future paths are open to you in the future.

3. Experiencing disrupted and Unpredictable sleeping patterns

As you begin to consider these brand new narratives, you will find that your mind may become overly busy and cluttered. This can trigger disrupted and largely unpredictable sleeping patterns, which will either see you experience a shortage or an excess of sleep, as your mind constantly races with thoughts and opportunities.

I found this prior to embarking on an an internship in Thailand back in 2012, as countries economy and income levels boomed. Preoccupied with the opportunities and experiences that awaited me, I struggled to sleep at all and realised that this was typical when taking risks in life and pushing the boundaries of personal development.

4. Enjoying Intense and Vivid Dreams

Similarly, the sleep that you do enjoy will be distinguished by intense and vivid dreaming, the details of which you can almost always recall in detail. Given that these dreams are often the manifestation of your subconscious thoughts, this would suggest that your mind is overwhelmed by compelling and often contrasting narratives. The intensity of your dreams often reflect the depth or the nature of your thoughts, so while this can be unsettling it is usually and indication that you on the precipice of change or evolution.

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5. Struggling to focus or concentrate

Once again, this sensation is often attributed to feelings of being lost or out of touch with those around you, but it may actually relate to the deployment of alternative brain functions. As we begin to act on intuition and engage the creative and emotional aspects of our mind, for example, we utilise the right hemisphere of our brains accordingly. This can interrupt left brain functions such as focusing and remembering small details, creating muddled thinking and significant confusion.

Rather than being a cause for concern, however, this is an indication of an opening and expanding mind.

6. Having Random and Irrational Feelings

This is commonly believed to be an indicator of angst and instability, but this is not necessarily the case. Irrational outbursts of anger or sadness simply reflects the fact that you have feelings that need to be recognised, so that you can subsequently overcome them and the emotional barriers that they relate to. In fact, the outbursts usually occur because you are grappling with these feelings rather than allowing them to enter your conscious and taking the necessary steps to resolving them. In this respect, these feelings are little more than signs that you identifying and working through issues.

7. Burdening an Intense desire to be alone

When we have the desire to isolate ourselves from others, we tend to do so in the belief that we are feeling depressed. Being disenchanted with socialising and the idea of absorbing other people’s problems is merely an indication that you are entering a period of self-reflection, however, as you re-calibrate your mind and begin to internalise your focus. This is something to be welcomed, as it means that you addressing your own problems and empowering your mind for the challenges that lie ahead.

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8. Feeling as though you are reliving your childhood issues

If you have experienced emotional struggles or issues during your childhood, the chances are that you these will continue to reoccur until they are dealt with. While this type of mental and behavioural cycle is often considered to be a negative thing, it simply means that you are becoming increasingly conscious of the triggers that impact on your thoughts, actions and emotions. As a result, such feelings will ultimately make it easy to identify issues and resolve them for the better.

9. Being fearful when you step outside of your Comfort Zone

Whenever we are about to undertake a new and exciting challenge, you are bound to be struck by an unmistakable sense of fear and uncertainty. These strike at the very core of your belief and self-confidence, forcing some to seek flight in the belief that they are not capable of meeting the challenge head-on. This is simply an instinctive reaction to stepping outside of your comfort zone and embracing the unfamiliar; however, while it is also a clear indication that you are opening your mind and on the right track.

10. Being Unsure of who you really are

We all have times where we become unsure of ourselves, particularly during times of change or hardship. Rather than being an indication that you are suffering from a decline in confidence or self-esteem, this simply an indication that you are evolving as an individual and undergoing the type of self-improvement that is integral to growth. Quite simply, the person that you know and recognise is changing, while any past illusions about who you feel as though you should be are being debunked. Although this can be an uncomfortable process, this type of uncertainty is logical as your values, belief systems and goals change over time.

11. Recognising how far you have to go in your Journey

There is an old Chinese proverb which suggests that even when you are are 90% of the way along a particular path, you are no more than halfway towards your desired destination. This captures the difficulty of taming the final 10%, and it is embodied in the sense fear that you experience as you encounter significant growth and progression.

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So when you recognise how far you still have to go to achieve your goals and become a little disheartened, this is actually a reflection of how far you have already come as an individual. Suddenly, you can see where you are headed in life, as you edge closer to realising your dreams and becoming the person you want to be.

12. Being empowered to speak up for and defend yourself

As you grow, you may also develop an intense desire to defend yourself and speak up to those who question you. This innate sense of anger evolves as you achieve more in life and become a more assured individual, as the idea of being walked over or disrespected becomes increasingly unpalatable. So rather than allowing other, more dominant voices to constantly overwhelm your will, you stand your ground and showcase far great conviction in your own beliefs and values.

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Last Updated on May 20, 2019

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

We sometimes hear people talk about the importance of living in the moment. We might hear about the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly racing?

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then we’ll look at some of the obstacles, and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

Why Live in the Moment?

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha

Living in the moment has innumerable benefits. Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

Better Health

By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being.[1]

Improve Your Relationships

Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally he’s a million miles away?

Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and makes relationships with them extremely difficult.

How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with him because we can make a much deeper connection with him.

By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

Greater Self-Control

You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind, and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier.[2]

Why Do We Worry?

Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

We sometimes worry when we don’t know how to deal with a problem. For example, have you ever received a letter from the IRS telling you that you owe more money than you thought, and don’t have the funds to pay it? This is enough to scare anyone who is not familiar with taxes.

How to Live in the Moment

Step 1: Overcome Worrying

In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

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Learn How to Live in the Moment

By living in the moment, you calm your mind, and are able to see more clearly.

The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. So we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

In addition to seeing more clearly, living in the moment will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions.

Learn to Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

People with higher educations tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, and outside influences.

Racing Mind

Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell) will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind, and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down. And an agitated mind wants to go to another place and time.

Unpleasant Situations and Troublesome Past

None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

By doing whatever we can to avoid them, and we can avoid them by taking our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

Some people resort to doing things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as eating, alcohol or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind, and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

A Wandering Mind

From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. So it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. As noted above, one thought starts an endless chain of thoughts. The reason is that one thought reminds us of something else, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function, or until we get distracted with something else.

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Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities.[3]

Outside Influences

Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The news media draw our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future.[4]

Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

Understand Mindfulness

The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful IS to live in the moment.

When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment. When you are mindful, you are fully in touch with reality because the present moment is where reality is taking place.

You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

This may be counter-intuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then much of our understanding will come from simply observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

You’d be surprised to find out just how much your emotions and past experiences influence your judgments. What many of us do, including intellectuals, is make a quick judgment about a person or situation, then add the reasoning afterwards. That is not logic, but rather rationalization.

When you are mindful, you reserve judgment until you have more information. Notice how I said “more information,” and not “complete information.” It is impossible to have complete information about something because there are infinite numbers of factors affecting it. So the best thing to do is be as objective as possible, and always be open to new information.

Viewing the world in this manner can be a challenge, and takes some practice to overcome years of habitual thinking. But it can make our lives infinitely more fulfilling, as we’ll be able to make much better decisions that will result in real happiness and inner peace.

So if you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your busy life to help you live in the moment, that is, reality.

You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you, and suit your lifestyle.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath, and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

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You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to give your mind a rest from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: How to Practice Mindful Meditation to Calm Your Thoughts

Also, there are many good books on the market that explain the concepts and techniques in greater detail. Some examples are

Mindful Breathing

While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

Mindful Walking

Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting, or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

Instead of getting on your cell phone, or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking for training yourself to live in the moment?

Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing. But instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable, and can really help your mind settle down.

Mindful Eating

Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. So what many of us do is try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss.[5]

So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

  • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
  • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself. Ask yourself, “Is this what my body and mind need to be healthy, and perform at an optimal level?” “Is it sufficient, or too much?” By asking yourself these questions, you will be more inclined to make better choices in the future.
  • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

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Mindful Activities

Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander, or get distracted. When it does, then just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

Notice some of the specific movements, or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

Bonus Suggestion

Here is one activity that is not generally considered a mindful activity. It is physical training. For those of you who already workout, it may be easy to see how physical training requires you to live in the moment.

Here’s how it works:

In order to perform an exercise to get the desired benefit, you need to use a proper technique. In order to use the proper technique, you need to pay close attention to how you are doing the exercise. In other words, you need to be fully present in the moment.

Another aspect of training that helps you live in the moment is tuning into what is happening in your body. First, during exercising, you need to pay close attention to how your body feels. Are you exercising hard enough, or not enough?

There are times to go easy, such as during warm-up exercises; and times to push yourself hard, such as when you’re warmed up and want to stimulate growth.

Second, when you’re not in the gym training, you need to pay close attention to the signals your body is sending you. What nutrients and how much do you need to consume to support your training? How much rest do you need?

By tuning in to your body, you force yourself to be in the moment. So, physical training done properly is just about as effective as meditation, or any mindful activity, for developing mindfulness. It’s also great for your health.

Final Thoughts

Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time. And this will add up to greater peace and happiness.

Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning; but I can assure you, it will get easier fairly quickly.

The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying; and when you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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