Living “What is” instead of “What if”

Image of yin and yang with words representing each in the background

How often do you find yourself looking back and asking things like:

  • What if I had stuck with playing the guitar?
  • What if I hadn’t dropped out of baseball?
  • What if I had shown up to that marketing event?

There are a million ways to drive yourself absolutely bonkers with “what-if’s;” and each one is a perfect recipe for regret, stressing yourself out, and missing out on what is happening right now.

Even if what is happening right now is painful or regrettable, staying in the moment of “what is” helps you respond to your situation and relieve the distress. When you are mindful of the here-and-now you can assess what skills and tools you have to respond to any stress you are experiencing. Once you know what you have, you can leverage it! But if you are looking into the past you are splitting your awareness away from what you have that can help in the now.

This is what folks mean when they say, “It’s tough to move forward when you are looking behind you.”  When you try, you bump into things and fall down more, not less. So look at the here and now, and plan for the future!

Learn more about Stress Management Counseling in Austin.

Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s has worked in the helping profession since he started college in 1990. After completing his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas, Austin in 1994, he attended the highly-regarded University of Minnesota to earn his Master’s degree in 1997. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is recognized as a Board Approved Supervisor by the State of Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Jonathan has completed Level-2 of the Gottman Method of Couples Counseling, and in 1998 received training by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Advanced Critical Incident Stress Management & Debriefing. To learn more about Jonathan’s practice, click here: Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s.


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