Try live in the present not the past to help your mental health

Keeping a healthy mind

As time ticks by experts warn us to live in the present

As lockdown restrictions continue, the state of people’s mental health has been brought into sharp focus and how to combat negativity in day to day life.

New research has found that two-thirds of Brits frequently worry about the past – but there are expert tips to help you live in the present.

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What does new research show us?

The new findings by reveals the nation’s attitudes towards the past, present, and future.

Two-thirds (64 per cent) worry about the past once a week or more, and 16 per cent fret about this at least once a day.

Findings also revealed money (56 per cent), health (47 per cent), and family (45 per cent) are the biggest worries for the future.

In a year filled with worry and uncertainty, new research reveals that not only do more than two-thirds of Brits worry about the past frequently, but nearly three in ten (27 per cent) struggle to live in the present.

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What are people worried about?

The research also uncovers Brits’ biggest concerns for the future.

Around 16 per cent say they worry about the past once a day and 14 per cent think about it several times a day.

And while 27 per cent say they always or often worry about the past and struggle to live in the present, just 13 per cent say they never worry about the past and always live in the present. found that the top five concerns when looking towards the future are money (56 per cent); Health (47 per cent); Family (45 per cent); Ageing (33 per cent); Relationships (27 per cent).

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More than half (56 per cent) of respondents say that money is the biggest worry when thinking about their futures, no doubt worsened by the economic effects of COVID-19 and redundancy worries arising from the end of the furlough scheme in October.

Health (47 per cent) and family (45 per cent) are the second and third largest concerns for Brits, suggesting once more that recent events have only intensified worries about our health and that of our families.

Ageing (33 per cent) and relationships (27 per cent) closely follow, while just four per cent say they do not worry about their futures at all.

Signposts towards the future

The research also looked into the views of parents on these topics, revealing that those with children are more likely to say they worry about the past and struggle to live in the present.

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Experts view

Speaking about the research, head of life insurance at, Kamran Altaf, said: “Our research shows a lot about us as a nation, and how much we think about our pasts and the future.

With all that has happened this year, it’s understandable that some people might worry about the future, but it’s important to try and find a balance between living in the present and planning for your future.”

What can we do to aid mental well-being?

For anyone struggling to let go of the past and live in the present, Thomas Webb, Psychology Professor at The University of Sheffield urges us to practice mindfulness, which involves focusing on what’s happening in the present moment.

He also urges people to have self compassion, which involves being kind and understanding towards yourself when confronted with personal failings.

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And finally he says don’t dwell on the past. Know that it’s okay to think about the past and the future. You don’t always have to live in the present, but try not to dwell on the past.

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