When I get caught up in worry, fear, and overwhelm the most important thing to do is bring myself into the present moment. Instead of planning the big future project that will solve my problem or rewriting the past to prevent it, I need to come directly into my experience.
I think most of us are like this, avoiding current challenges by fleeing into the past and future. It can be so hard to get our feet on the ground and look at the situation as it is right now.
I've tried to get into the habit of asking myself, "What can I do right now?"
Sometimes there's a simple first step.
Sometimes there's really nothing that I can do about what I'm experiencing as a problem.
I usually can't do the thing I wish I could do--magically change the past or jump ahead 50 steps to the better future.
But somehow, there's something that I can do in the present moment. Something that may feel humble and small. And when I do that, there's another something I can do. And another.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.