One of the sad things about a gambling problem is that it can take a lot of the happiness out of life. Many people with addictions say the worst part of the problem and controlling it is that life seems so dull and drab. You can see it in their eyes and their body language, they have lost their spark. Any chronic condition, such as pain or an addiction, can wear you down and leave you listless, sad, feeling hopeless. One of the problems, of course, is that you may be spending a lot of time ruminating about the past or perhaps dreading a future of abstinence. Looking at the task of controlling an addiction can be daunting, but here are a few thoughts, first of all, how do you eat an elephant? Silly question? Maybe, but there is a lot of truth in the answer, which happens to be, one bite at a time. Many 12 step problems advocate living life one day at a time. Staying focused and in the moment helps you to do just that, but the trick is staying focused and in the moment. It is easier said than done. One way to ease your anxiety and suffering is to practice mindfulness meditation. It is a way to train your mind to stay focused on the here and now and to relieve yourself of the chatter in your head. Like learning most things in life, learning mindfulness is done slowly and steadily, a little at a time at first. You can use a good meditation guide, such as a cd or mp3 file, or simply close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing and be aware of your body. Do not be judgmental, just aware. In a way you are looking at your thoughts from outside them. It isn't as difficult as it sounds. Sit in a comfortable way and concentrate on your breath. Feel it enter your body and fill your lungs and then concentrate and follow it as it leaves your body. Continue to focus on your breath. Your mind will wander, that is okay, just gently and firmly guide it back to your breathing, noticing each exhalation and inhalation. You can start doing this for just five minutes a day and gradually increase the time. If you have odd moments in the day, why not fill them by concentrating on your breath and body, be aware. When you're standing in line at the supermarket, why not practice mindfulness with your eyes open? Having a stressful moment? Practice mindfulness. The time spent in awareness of here and now is time that will relieve you of the stress of thoughts of the future or past. So many people live their lives with their feet in the present while their minds are in the future and their hearts are in the past. It is okay to spend time fantasizing or planning, but you have to attend to the present most of the time or you will miss a lot of your life and suffer needless worry and pain.