Most of the situations that entangle our minds are not today's concerns. We hang on to yesterday's self-blame, judgement, and criticism. We borrow from tomorrow's worries and fears. We then get ensnared in a tangled mess of a painful past and a fearful future.
Our mind can be like a bully. It tells us, "You're not smart enough to contribute anything at that meeting tomorrow." Or, "Why did you say such a stupid thing to your friend yesterday?" Or, "You're so fat, you will look awful at that event on Saturday." We end up berating ourselves about the past and dreading the future.
How can we release ourselves from getting stuck in this tangled mess? Go inside--you have a powerful tool in your breath! Ground yourself by connecting your body and your breath. Try these two breathing exercises:
Pull yourself away from yesterday. Imagine you are reuniting with yourself into your present body. Deeply inhale fresh breath through the nose, then with a longer open mouth exhalation tell yourself, "I am gently letting go of yesterday. The past is in the past. I do not live in the past. I live in the now and I am doing my best." Repeat two more times, focusing on the longer exhalation.
Draw yourself back from tomorrow. Imagine you are lovingly walking away from the future back into your present body. Inhale halfway, inhale again; then while holding the breath in your full heart space tell yourself, "I am filling myself up with today. Today is enough. I am enough." Blow out the breath through lips formed into a circle. Repeat two more times, focusing on your full heart space.
Letting go of the past and not treading into the future is very hard. Accepting that sometimes we will still go there, ask yourself "Is there kinder way I can look back at yesterday? Is there a calmer way I can anticipate tomorrow?" These questions may be a good starting point:
"Can I learn from yesterday with less judgement?"
"Can I plan for tomorrow with less fear?"