Are you a future tripper?
Updated: Apr 19, 2021
Future tripping sounds like it should be something cool – possibly involving a DeLorean and a crazy, white-haired professor – but it’s actually not that great. It’s a problem many of us have, even if we don’t realise we’re doing it a lot of the time. Simply put, it’s worrying and obsessing over the future, instead of enjoying the present moment.
Future tripping is also called anticipatory anxiety, and I’m sure a lot of you can relate. We constantly worry about the future (especially now, during a pandemic), catastrophising everything in our lives and expecting things to go badly. We start a new relationship and spend most of our time expecting something to go wrong. We worry about starting a new job or changing careers, instead of feeling excited about the new opportunity. We let our anxiety run our present, instead of focusing on how amazing our present actually is. It can majorly suck.
But we CAN turn it around. We don’t have to spend our time future tripping, and the first step – as with a lot of things in life – is simply becoming aware of when we’re doing it. Once we can start identifying our future tripping habits, we can tell ourselves to stop. Not easy, I know, but the more we do it, the easier it will become.
Worrying is just praying for things we don’t want
When put like that – worrying is just praying for things we don’t want – it can all start to seem a little ridiculous. I mean, I’m sure we could put the time we spend worrying about anything and everything to better use – like working on ourselves or moving towards our goals.
So, today, if you find yourself – at any point – worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet, or planning the worst possible outcome of something in your mind, or just generally feeling anxious about what the future holds, stop it! Every time you realise you’re doing this, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and tell yourself – firmly but lovingly – “Stop future tripping. There is nothing more than this present moment, and worrying about what the future holds doesn’t help anyone.” Write it down if it helps, and read it back to yourself every time you find yourself sliding into future tripping territory.
It’s so easy to start future tripping without even realising it, which is why it’s important to become aware of when we’re doing it and to tell ourselves to stop. The more we do this, the easier it will be to let go of the future and focus on the present.
This blog post has been adapted from one of the prompts in my book, Write Your Year: 365 Ways To Change Your Year And Your Life.