Focus on the Present to Push Aside the Negatives

September 22, 2014 Jennifer Aline Graham

Focus on the present and the positive to stop harming yourself. Thinking of possible future problems can cause self-harm. The present is where to be. Read this.

Sometimes it is hard to just sit and focus on the present. We are followed by past memories and are always jumping forward before we even have time to take a breath in the present. It is important to look to the future and learn from past mistakes and triumphs. However, it is also important to absorb the world you are surrounded by now.

In this anxiety-ridden world, we are constantly thinking ahead and worrying about those plans. If we think too far into the future, we stop figuring out the journey towards that future and miss that part of life’s adventure. For those with mental illness, this idea can cause chaos inside your brain. Your mind becomes overwhelmed with plans, thoughts and worries and, sometimes, you feel the need to take those stressors out on yourself with self-harm like picking, cutting or banging your head.

With addiction, including self-harm, anything can trigger you to turn to those negative behaviors as a solution. However, when you are constantly one step ahead of where your mind is, your brain grows confused and that confusion is not always a safe thing to have.

Focus on the Present and Let the Future Uplift You

Even when we are in a good place in our lives, we are always looking ahead and hoping to stay in that state of contentment. Being human, we know that life does not stay at a constant for long because ups and downs occur naturally. For those with mental illness, little worries can build up and become a giant meltdown.

When a self-harmer has a giant meltdown, it may be very difficult for them not to think about harming their skin. That urge is always right on the tip of their fingers and when a stressor hits, he or she tends to feel the need to grab something sharp and self-injure.

Recently, I was having a discussion about the future and whether or not things would stay the same – work, money, relationships. When thinking about work and money and a relationship shifting from content to uneasy, I, too, grew uneasy. Even though the discussion was somewhat hypothetical, I continued to focus on how life would be if things changed in a negative light.

With those thoughts came worry and from worry grew paranoia.

Focusing on the Negatives Robs You of the Present

It is important to focus on the positives and the present and stop physically harming yourself over possible negatives and stressors in the future. It is hard not to focus on the negatives of the future even if you are in a safe place in your life. Perhaps you haven’t self-harmed in months and feel as if you will never self-harm by marking your skin again. However, when you are in a worrisome state, those thoughts arise, and instead of thinking about how well you have been coping, you begin to worry about how well you may not cope in the future.

The mind plays tricks on us and, without realizing it, we play along with those tricks. By looking forward with a positive attitude, even when in a negative situation, you will find ways to sneak around those mind-tricks and find a safe solution. There are more "lows" in store on the road ahead. However, by focusing on how great the "ups" will be, you may find it easier to brush aside the negatives.

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APA Reference
Aline, J. (2014, September 22). Focus on the Present to Push Aside the Negatives, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Jennifer Aline Graham

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