Who doesn’t yearn for more? The feeling of something just out of reach that you’ll get once you get over this one hurdle and the next and the next, and so on. Ever felt that? I won’t lie and say that I haven’t. There’s always a niggling voice in my head that tells me that my happiness is just around the corner. All I have to do is cross this one street. This never stops!
The problem with this belief that happiness is one step away is that it often causes us to be dissatisfied with our present moment. When we’re not living in the present moment, we are thinking about a future that may or may not exist, increasing our stress and anxiety. All this can also stop you from enjoying your here and now.
Often, when I try to explain this feeling to others, I get stuck with what to call this feeling. You may empathize with me here. Recently, during my research, I finally came across a term that can define this constant yearning for more – Destination Anxiety.
In this blog, we’re exploring what destination anxiety is, its signs and causes, how not living in the present affects us, and how to be present with yourself more, overcoming destination anxiety.
What Is Destination Anxiety?
Destination Anxiety is a belief that your happiness is waiting for you in the future, and it’ll come when you attain something or reach a goal. This goal could be a new job, a relationship, an object, etc. that you believe will make you feel happy and content in life. This kind of thinking often makes us forget to live in the present and worry about the future.
This concept of not living in the present is not new and has been a topic of discussion for many philosophers and thinkers including Alan Watts and Eckhart Tolle. We often live in the future and not in the present moment. This concept was first discussed in the book, “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote that our minds are always constantly worrying about the future or the past, and we forget to live in the present. This can often cause us anxiety and stress, and prevent us from living a happy life.
Do you have destination anxiety? Let’s check out the signs and causes of destination anxiety.
Signs of Destination Anxiety
If you have destination anxiety, then you may:
Find yourself obsessively thinking about the future and what you need to do to feel happy and content. It’s a warning sign that you may not be thinking about the present moment.
Find yourself constantly striving to achieve more because you feel dissatisfied with your present situation.
Find yourself feeling anxious and stressed about the future and feel that you are not enough or have what you need to achieve your goals to be happy.
Causes Of Destination Anxiety
If we talk about the causes of destination anxiety, they could include;
1. The belief that you need to achieve happiness. It’s more often than not one of the biggest causes of destination anxiety. You may think this way because of social pressure or messages others have conveyed. For instance, your family may have told you that you need to be married to be happy and feel content.
2. The fear of missing out can also be another reason why you experience destination anxiety. Constant use of social media has made it easy to compare yourself with others and what you see may make you feel like you’re not good enough or your life lacks what you need to be happy. This can eventually lead to feelings of jealousy and yearning for more.
3. Lack of self-acceptance and confidence are other causes of destination anxiety. When you are reluctant to accept yourself and your present as it is, it makes you lose confidence in yourself and makes you think that you’re not worthy enough to be happy. This can cause you anxiety and stress.
How Destination Anxiety Impacts Our Present?
Not living in the present can leave a negative impact on your life and well-being. Some ways this thinking can affect your future can include;
It can stop you from enjoying your present and living the best life possible
It can cause feelings of stress and anxiety, and can even hinder your ability to achieve your dreams
It can make you lose sight of opportunities and life experiences that could be important to you and your future
It can create a negative self-image and can make you think negatively about your current situation and the future
How To Be Present With Yourself?
How to live in the present and not worry about the future needs to be your goal. There are many ways you can learn to be present with yourself and overcome destination anxiety.
1. Focus on the present: The first thing you need to do to cope with destination anxiety and be present with yourself is to focus on your here and now. Try to enjoy the little moments in life and appreciate the complexity of it while you’re at it. Take it as a reality check!
2. Practice self-acceptance: Next, you need to learn to accept yourself as you are. You don’t need to compare yourself with others or compete with others to win. There isn’t a race, and you need to let go of this thinking if you truly want to be happy. It all begins with you, after all.
3. Focus on being happy: That’s it! Find what makes you happy and stick with it. You create your own happiness, so you need to find ways to enjoy your life as it is. You can participate in activities you love, engage in hobbies that make you happy or even hang out with people who make you feel content with who you are. Little things can make you happy so focus on them.
4. Accept life experiences as they come: You need to remember that life is a journey and not a destination. Every step you take is an experience and an opportunity that may look different to everyone. What makes me happy might not make you happy. Everyone’s experiences differ, and it’s important to accept your life and experiences as they come. Stop comparing!
5. Lastly, lean on professional support, if you want: If you find yourself floundering to live in the present or overcome destination anxiety on your own, you can always lean on professional support. A life coach or therapist can help you sort through your thoughts and negative beliefs that are contributing to your anxiety while giving you ways to cope with it.
Living in the present moment can be challenging when life is all chaotic around you. This chaos and confusion in life can also cause destination anxiety, a belief that happiness and contentment are right around the corner and all you need to do is attain something. This is a negative belief and can increase your anxiety and stress.
I hope the above-listed ways to be present with yourself will help you overcome destination anxiety and learn how to appreciate life as it is.
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