Something To Look Forward To

Self help experts (like myself) all offer a plethora of tools that people can use to help themselves.  Each one claims that their tool is “the end all be all”.  But the truth is, that is the same as claiming that a hammer is “the end all be all”.  Sometimes a hammer isn’t the tool you need.  Sometimes a screwdriver is the tool you need.  The key to living a successful life is to personalize your toolbox.  We are meant to fill our toolbox with the individual tools that we have collected, which work for us personally.  We are afraid to personalize our toolbox because we are afraid of using the wrong tool for the situation that we find ourselves in.  We’re afraid of trying new tools because we trust other people more than we trust ourselves.  We trust them, instead of ourselves when they say that one tool will work for something and another wont.  There are so many spiritual teachers and self help guides that teach that tool you need when you are suffering, is the tool of “present moment awareness”.  But the truth is, that is not the only tool that works for suffering.  And there are some tools that can be better for certain kinds of suffering, such as anxiety and worry.

Toolbox, Hardhat, construction, safety, equipment, worker, tools

If we suffer from anxiety or worry, we most likely suffer from the lack of a basic human need; the human need called certainty.  Certainty means the inner knowing that we have the power to avoid pain and gain pleasure.  Most people, who suffer from anxiety, feel as if they have no control over whether they suffer or whether they feel pleasure.  Their bodies register a feeling of dread relative to the future because of it.  They anticipate suffering in the future.

Bringing the attention of someone who is anxious or worried into the present moment can work wonders for some.   But it can be useless for others.  For some, it works much better to change the way they are focusing towards the future.  It is a very unconventional spiritual tool to intentionally spend time focusing on the future.  But for some people, it can make all the difference in the world.  This is especially true if you suffer from morning anxiety (which so many people do).

550_334_206725Because of my PTSD, I have struggled with anxiety for many years.  So, I have put a lot of time and effort into developing tools specifically for anxiety.  If you dread the future because you lack a sense of certainty (and thus suffer from anxiety or worry), one of the best tools to use is a tool called “Things To Look Forward To”.  I want to offer this tool to you today because I was using it myself and thought “Hey… maybe other people who suffer from anxiety don’t know about this yet”.  This tool is also good for reducing suicidal feelings.  Using this tool is very simple, every day, simply set aside time to write a list of things to look forward to about the next day.  If you like, you can include things on this list of things to look forward to about the near future as well.  This will change the sense of dread into a sense of anticipation.  It gets your energy moving forward in life.  Do you remember how it used to feel on Christmas Eve as a child?  If you use this tool regularly enough, it is common for every day to start feeling like this.  This is not escapism.  This is intentionally creating your life.

63cok012

The “Things To Look Forward To” tool is especially beneficial when you do it before you go to sleep at night.  Before you fall asleep, write a list of things to look forward to (things you will enjoy experiencing) about the next day.  If you cannot find something to look forward to about the next day, it is time to change your life.  Create things to look forward to.  This is the reason humans invented holidays!  Even though people use holidays to give themselves just enough relief to keep the rest of their lives miserable and unfulfilled, holidays are not in and of themselves bad.  Holidays can provide just enough anticipatory excitement needed to raise your vibration.  In a perfect world though, people would treat every day like a holiday.  People would design their lives so that they had things to look forward to about each on coming day.

Here is an example of a list of “Things To Look Forward To”

  1. Drinking hot tea when I first wake up before the sun comes up
  2. Hearing my cat purr and touching his soft fur
  3. Writing a new blog entry
  4. Watching a romantic comedy
  5. Going to my business lunch with my marketing director and hearing great new ideas about how to expand the business
  6. Depositing money I made in the bank
  7. Shopping for a new coffee table
  8. Spending time in the hot tub
  9. Watching my son’s face as I read him books
  10. Taking the dogs on a walk and skipping rocks in the water
  11. Making a spelt crust rhubarb pie
  12.  Playing board games with my friends
  13. Listening to my new songs on Pandora
  14. Starting a new painting
  15. Laying underneath my warm blankets before I go to sleep
  16. Going to the mailbox to see what came in the mail
  17. Going to see my somatic body work therapist
  18. Putting on my makeup in a new way
  19. Feeding the fish and watching them contentedly swim after the food
  20. Watching the number of “likes” increase on my face book posts after I post something.

The things you put on this list do not have to be big things.  They can be small things to look forward to.  Just make sure that anything you put down on this list, you are genuinely looking forward to.  If you can’t find anything that you’re looking forward to already, ask yourself what experience you would most enjoy to have, and plan that experience for the next day.  You will find that your mood will increase, you will want to experience life and pretty soon, there will be nothing to dread.  Instead, you will be well along the way to creating within yourself, a sense of certainty.

future ahead concept

26 Comments

  • I have to confess that I blush when see you made a comet personal directed to me on the photo me and my pet Lizards <3 thank's yes you are in my hearth <3

    Reply
  • Teal,
    This is a great idea!!! The thought of doing it alone, is making me feel better. I am going to add it to my bedtime routine. Love you!!!!!!

    Melanie

    Reply
  • I look forward to the knowing that someone I love is looking forward to tomorrow and every tomorrow after.

    Reply
  • yes!! love it, love the expansion! thank you! and i love you too miss Teal!

    Reply
  • This is awesome! Especially since growing up, I was taught to always list the worst things on your “to do” list first, get them out of the way. However, I find that when I am most inspired is at the beginning of the day a lot of times…and sometimes if I do what I want first, it is a genuinely rewarding feeling! How cool, because my brain works the opposite. Do, do, do, then reward. I am sooo happy you shared this because this tip will help me to follow my joy easier. In other words, when it gets “stuck” in a gear, all I have to do now is think of the things I look forward to and and my brain can relax easier. Thanks Teal!

    Reply
  • This is a great tip! I’ll surely use more of it! Mine are: massage, sauna, good feeling after the gym, meeting a new person who interests me, FB posts of my friends, smoothies, a movie, walk in nature, positive, hopeful cards, a good new book, and miracles! :-)

    Reply
  • Teal, what if you put too much expectations on the next day?, I could list thousand things to do but I would rather wanted to do nothing and be everyday into nothingness. Like an old baba. It’s more like a surprise for that day, but not a surprise, it’s just our unlimited experience. I’be be worried about making all this things today, trying not to forget what to do, I’m more about un-doing. I don’t know if you understand what I mean, sure you do, even I strongly know how powerful it is to set intentions and be conscious to see them happening. We’re all powerful to “do” this, could you please give me your perceptions on the “un-doing”, imagine someone on this planet living right now and doing nothing everyday, absolutely nothing so totally surrounding everything. Not doing nothing, I can’t put it on words because words limit what I try to say, you understand this paradox of doing not doing which is still doing. (sorry my English, it is not native from me. You have my e-mail) ..

    Reply
  • Wow great idea! Thanx Teal! Much love!!!

    Reply
  • Oooooo this is just perfect. I have been wanting to get your teachings to a special person with terrible PTSD and Panic Attacks. When I read this I finally figured out how I could do it. ctrl A, ctrl c, and then went to my Google Docs and Ctrl V….. and changed the view from portrait to landscape. I can print it out and give it. Or maybe send it….. Many Thanks, Miki

    Reply
  • I look forward to reading your posts :)

    Reply
  • What a great tool. I haven’t seen this one. I like it. I think I’ll try it.
    I look forward to my halloween party we are going to tonight. It is full of like minded people making the best food that I love to eat and it’s all the right ingredients for our family. Organic, dairy free, soy free, gluten free….and delicious. I look forward to seeing my children dressed up in cuteness. I look forward to hearing the stories that people will share. I look forward to hanging out with my friends.

    I like it. Thank you.
    Shakti

    Reply
  • This idea feels good! Much needed on this trying day! Thank You! and thanks for not telling us to just stay in the now which so many people harp on! This tip is about creating our lives now! :-)

    Reply
  • You’re awesome !! You know first in the morning, I’ve found, is a good time to start that practice too. About two weeks ago I woke up to all my dogs in bed with me and I was giving Sammy (our small maltese with bladder cancer) a belly rub and I said to him “It’s just another beautiful day for you Sammy”. Now, that may sound really corny, but I found that it actually put me in a really good mood. I can’t remember that last time I actually woke up looking forward to just another “beautiful day”. So, kudos to you! Keep filling up our toolboxes. Best Wishes, Dave

    Reply
  • This was a wonderful blog. Yes, just looking forward to even one small thing changes your outlook on the coming day.
    Thank you so much, Teal. I know it has been a rough week for you but you are heading out of hte deep weeds……… I can tell by what you are posting. Whew! I know we all send you a great deal of love & light.

    Reply
  • :) love this, feeling good

    Reply
  • I love this Teal. Sometimes staying in the present moment just makes me feel stuck, especially if I’m not currently enjoying what I’m doing. It can exacerbate the anxiety. But having something to look forward to reminds me that everything is temporary and ever-changing, and that is especially helpful during an anxious episode when every minute can feel like a hellish eternity. This perspective can really turn those moments around.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • LOVE IT!! Thank you Teal I’m going to do that–I love thinking about taking beautiful trips, even if its just a little trip into the woods. It’s the best thing. I can’t wait to meet you one of these days and I’m so glad that your continuing to shine like the greatest star in the universe…and by the way what a POSITIVE way to demonstrate your life to the world. You are unstoppable!!!!

    Reply
  • Yay, It is amazing how many self-help tools are given to us for our expansion and you are right when you say we are afraid to use them, but when we do realize they are so beneficial for our expansion and growth , physically and spiritually , we are truly worthy of the life we have always dreamed of.
    I’m finding Emotional Freedom Techniques brilliant ! Instant healing :)
    As well as my self-reiki :)

    Love you Teal

    Blessings.
    Love and light

    Reply
  • I’m looking forward to trying your homemade vegan bars in the morning that I made tonight! I would love to see more of your vegan recipes!

    Reply
  • This is so much inspiring. Thank you Teal. I love you and I look forward to your other blogs.

    Reply
  • From as early as I can remember I had a very strong sex drive. I wasn’t often without a boyfriend for the first 40 odd years of my life. And a tumultuous 40 odd years it was. When I found myself at 42 years old with a 21 year old deeply psychotic boyfriend who I was willing to share with my daughter, I decided I was probably better off being celibate.

    Before that I had spent many years working in the sex industry, so most of my romantic fairytale illusions were pretty much already shattered, and I had had more sex by then than most people experienced in a few lifetimes so it was not all that hard a transition to make.

    So I moved up to my brother’s ‘spare house’ in the mountains and began a sort of healing process. I spent hours every day in the wilderness, meditating on top of mountains, by flowing streams, with my back up against an ancient tree, making the acquaintance of faeries and such, including an abandoned houseful of feral cats who looked forward to my daily visits… they would race up to greet me, eager for the treats they knew I brought with me. I discovered the sheer joy of drinking pure, clean, crisp, cold water as it gushed out of the stony mountain. And while I didn’t have an ‘official’ sort of process about it, this process you describe is what naturally came out of the depths of my despair, it got me interested in life again at a time when suicide was pretty much seeming like a reasonable alternative.

    Anyway, after a few years in the mountains I got hit with another whammy, which I so smugly thought I was immune to since I was such an advanced being (ha ha ha). It totally knocked me on my ass. I thought for sure I was down for the count. It was a ‘scary diagnosis’ that was/is in my face in a very aggressive fashion, and once again having something to look forward to has been my saving grace. One day I was slumped out on the patio, like an apathetic invalid in a nursing home on death’s door and I could have sworn it was a drab, grey day and that not one bird was chirping… until my son came out and said “Hey, do you want a root beer float?” OMG… all of a sudden sunlight was dancing all around me, birds were chirping, brilliant living color was pulsing everywhere… it was like I had been instantaneously beamed into a Disney cartoon… life was GOOD! All in the space of the few seconds it took between having nothing to look forward to but pain and more pain and then death, and having a root beer float to look forward too! Hahahaha!

    Yeah, very effective process and you have presented it so well! I love your list!

    Reply
  • Hi Teal, your photos are very interesting. Do you take them?
    I notice Santa Clause (also known as Saint Nicholas) has his book of ‘Good Boys and Girls’ I guess this card was derived from the song “He’s making a list and checking it twice. He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice”

    Reply
  • an amazing idea! ^^ i always try to look forward to something but when there is nothing i feel really dissapointed T_T but i’m gonna work on it! :) thanks :-*

    Reply
  • I dread everyday and seriously fear the future. I think I am a lost cause…. but thank you for sharing Teal… xo

    Reply
    • Hi David, Your comment stands out like an honest cry from the wilderness. The truth is that many people live a life of quiet desperation while going through the motions of having a successful life. Suggestion: Right from this moment on, be present to the feelings, sensations and thoughts as they are. Instead of trying to escape your dread, embrace it fully. You must know this already or you wouldn’t be following Teal’s Blogs.

      Reply
  • You nailed it for me! I’m always less anxious when I have something to look forward to! Holidays, especially! Staying in the present moment, I have tried. Not so good! I’m sooooo very glad you posted this! I’ll be making my list immediately!!!!

    Reply

Submit a Comment