Seven Tenses of Thought

A simple guide for thoughts that steal us from the now.

The Seven Tenses of Thought is a theory (not really) that provides a framework for understanding the different ways our minds process and engage with our experiences, memories, and emotions. By classifying our thoughts into seven distinct categories (tenses), we can better understand ourselves and learn to manage our thinking patterns for a more balanced and fulfilling life. This guide will explore each state of thought and provide practical tips on how to utilize them for personal growth.

Tenses of Thought
FUTURE BAD FEAR Paralysis via negativity
FUTURE FUTILE HOPING Wishes without planning
FUTURE GOOD PLANNING Making use of info
NOW IN THE MOMENT Present and alert
PAST FUTILE NOSTALGIA Hoping for the past
PAST BAD REGRET Lost in past loss

IN The MOment (Now)

Description: Being in the moment, also known as mindfulness or present-moment awareness, is the state of focusing on the here and now, without judgment or distraction.

Benefits: This state of thought promotes relaxation, mental clarity, and a greater appreciation for life’s experiences. It can also reduce stress and anxiety, and increase overall well-being.

Tips for practice: Cultivate mindfulness through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in activities that require your full attention, such as painting or playing a musical instrument.

PLanning (FUture good)

Description: Future good is the state of thought that involves constructive and purposeful planning for the future.

Benefits: Planning can help you achieve your goals, improve time management, and reduce stress by providing a clear path forward.

Tips for practice: Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals, break them down into smaller tasks, and regularly review your progress. Utilize tools such as calendars, to-do lists, and productivity apps to stay organized.

Experience (past good)

Description: Past good is the state of thought that involves learning from previous positive experiences and using them to inform future decisions.

Benefits: Reflecting on past experiences can lead to personal growth, increased self-awareness, and the development of valuable skills.

Tips for practice: Regularly review your past accomplishments and consider how they have contributed to your personal growth. Apply lessons learned to future endeavors.

HOPing (Future Useless)

Description: Future useless is the state of thought characterized by passive and unrealistic expectations for the future without taking action.

Drawbacks: Excessive hoping can lead to disappointment, inaction, and an inability to cope with life’s challenges.

Tips for balance: Transform hope into action by setting clear goals and taking concrete steps to achieve them. Focus on what you can control and let go of unrealistic expectations.

Nostalgia (Past Useless)

Description: Past useless is the state of thought characterized by excessive longing for the past, often idealizing it over the present.

Drawbacks: Nostalgia can lead to dissatisfaction with the present and hinder personal growth.

Tips for balance: Acknowledge and appreciate the positive aspects of your past, but stay focused on the present and future. Set new goals and strive for growth in all areas of your life.

Fearing (future bad)

Description: Future bad is the state of thought dominated by anxiety and worry about potential negative outcomes.

Drawbacks: Fear can lead to stress, inaction, and poor decision-making.

Tips for balance: Practice cognitive restructuring techniques to challenge irrational fears, seek professional help if necessary, and engage in relaxation practices such as meditation or yoga.

Regret (past bad)

Description: Past bad is the state of thought that involves dwelling on past mistakes, missed opportunities, and negative experiences.

Drawbacks: Regret can lead to self-blame, depression, and a diminished sense of self-worth.

Tips for balance: Accept and learn from your past mistakes, practice self-forgiveness, and focus on making positive changes in the present.


Understanding the Seven Tenses of Thought can empower you to take control of your thinking patterns and cultivate a more balanced and fulfilling life. By recognizing and managing these different states, you can harness the power of present-moment awareness, effectively plan for the future, learn from your past experiences, and maintain a balanced perspective on life. Remember, it’s normal to fluctuate between these states of thought, but the goal is to avoid getting stuck in any one state for too long, especially those that may have negative implications.

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