A brief meaning of ‘Future Thinking’
Future thinking is about thinking outside of our ‘box’. It’s about thinking wider than we currently are, of taking off the blinkers and looking at other options.
Future thinking asks open questions like ‘what if..’ as opposed to ‘I can’t…’
Future thinking is about the near future (changing present thoughts to change present circumstances) and also about the mid and long term future (doing things now that will impact on how our lives unfold in the long term).
Read this section again! :-) I’m sure you can put your own sentiments into what I’ve just said ;-)
I’m no doctor of psychology or an expert in mental health but I can’t help but think that if, when we are down or suffering from depression, we were to ‘future think’, then our lives would suddenly take a turn for the better :-)
I say this from personal experience. I’ve suffered from depression in the past and sometimes feel that it could strike me any time!
I think depression is a little like alcoholism because I think it is in some people a ‘potential’ thing that could happen in an individuals life.
Having said that, from my experience, when I’m future thinking, things are ‘looking good’ or when I have options in my life; suddenly there is a smile on my face and I’m feeling confident about my future and about my life in general again.
Future thinking forces us to think away from our current ‘sad’ thoughts and on to other more positive thoughts. It doesn’t guarantee that things are going to change for the better, but it does do something to lift ones spirit.
It’s difficult to do on your own though! Seek the companionship of a positive, understanding friend.
Break out of restricted thinking
When we are down or things are going badly for us (for whatever reason), our thoughts tend to be focussed on the here and now and the immediate ‘narrow’ future.
Now, before you have a go at me, there are obviously times and places in our lives when for periods of time, we cannot help but be in this sad narrow place. For instance, bereavement, sickness, separation and so on.
However, there are times when we feel down or are restricted in our thinking for no good reason. We tell ourselves that things are bad for us because ‘our car keeps breaking down’ or ‘I can’t find a partner’ or ‘nothing seems to go right for me’.
In these times, we should break out of this restricted thinking by ‘Future Thinking’. When we future think, we break out of the restricted zone we were in and start to see possibilities in our lives. When we see possibilities in our lives, then things start to look good again and we start to take action to make those good things happen!
What can you do to future think? Start by asking yourself open questions like ‘”How can I…” as opposed to closed statements like “I can’t…” or “My life is so bad…”
Puts a smile on our faces
Future thinking puts smiles on people’s faces! Can you imagine this situation for instance:
Ok, so you are feeling sorry for yourself because you don’t have the money to afford a car. You are pretty fed up with this because all your friends do and are always going on about how they are off at the weekend with their boyfriend or seeing relatives who live miles away. You can’t do this – how sad!
Well, start future thinking for a moment. Remember, future thinking is not necessarily about the future but about ‘other options’ or thinking wider and outside our little space we find our selves in.
So, you don’t have a car! Walking (or even taking public transport everywhere) does several things for you. It gives you time to think. When you are walking to work or to friends or relatives, next time use that time to think about possibilities, follow those possibilities down lines of what could happen if you made a little change in your life now.
It’s at these times when you can start to realise that maybe your situation isn’t so bad after all. It’s at these times when you perhaps think that you only wanted a car because your friends do!
I find this works really well if you take a long walk (say an hour or more).
Once again, I’ll say I’m not an expert, these are just my personal ramblings which I ‘believe’ to be true. Feel free to message me with your own thoughts and experiences on this subject.
Start future thinking now!