People often seem to think they are unhappy because of things they can't do or don't have. Lately I have realized that probably about 99% of the time people are unhappy because of things they ARE doing; things they can change. They religiously visit their ex's facebook profile or cyberstalk people who drive them crazy. They listen to music that makes them depressed. They eat horribly and hurt their bodies (which actually has a MUCH bigger effect on your mood than you might guess). I think people would find themselves a lot happier if they would STOP doing certain things.
Recently I realized that I spent a lot of time stressing about the future. My husband and I have just signed a fifteen month lease on our one bedroom apartment. We have completed one month of that lease. We are not going anywhere for awhile, and we are definitely not looking to buy a house, at least not any that are on the market right now. Yet I have been driving myself crazy on realtor.com looking at houses, calculating mortgage payments, worrying about how we will pay the bills when we have a house, etc, etc. I have also been worrying about how we will support a child. I am not pregnant, and we are not trying to have a baby. We do not plan to have a baby for at least another year. ASIDE from the fact that I am not pregnant, not trying to get pregnant, and will not be for some time, with Jacob's income we would be perfectly capable of supporting one even if I were. And yet here I sit, stressing myself out about how we will support a family in however many years.
That is something I had to stop doing. When I realized that I was stressing myself out over things that I can not control (and are completely irrelevant) right now, I tried to isolate the behaviors that were encouraging this stress. These were behaviors like going to realtor.com and researching houses. And...online shopping in general. When I go online shopping, I am usually not looking to buy anything anyway. I just want to make a mental list of things that I want. I didn't realize that this was making me feel extremely discontent until I decided to stop doing it so much. Since I have stopped doing these things, my mood has been immensely improved. I don't think there's anything wrong with visualizing the future...in fact I still do that ALL the time. But when I visualize I don't get into specifics. I don't worry about the details. I don't think about things like paying bills and buying diapers. I imagine the happy things in my future.