Wouldn’t it be nice if we could peek into the future to reassure ourselves? That’s not actually possible, but there is a psychological technique for regulating emotions that employs this idea. It’s called “temporal distancing,” and you can think of it as mental time travel. If the concept sounds familiar, it’s a bit like reminding yourself of the ancient adage “this, too, shall pass.” I consulted three experts about how to do it and why it works.
Trapped in the moment
Right now, you may find many things upsetting: You might be Zoomed out, missing your friends or mourning lost loved ones. “You’re really in the moment,” says Anne Wilson, a psychology professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario. “You’re living whatever’s negative and distressing.”
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