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Don’t Dwell on the Past

by Beth on July 29th, 2012

In my last blog I talked about how focusing too much on the future can make us unhappy because it often leads to anxiety. Another source of unhappiness comes from spending too much time dwelling on the past.

Thinking about the things that didn’t work out well in our past creates negative emotions in the present. It can also cause us to feel helpless, which prevents us from taking steps to change things for the better. We think, “Why try? It won’t make a difference.” We don’t attempt to do something because a past failure makes us feel like we won’t succeed. Or we don’t try to get something we desire because we feel like we don’t deserve it due to something bad we did in the past. Regret, blame, anger, guilt, and excuses keep us stuck.

Don’t let ruminating over things from your past keep you from being happy today. And don’t let your past shape your future. The past is over and done with.

As you go through your day, try to notice when you have checked out and are diving into your past. When that happens gently bring yourself back to the present. Pay attention to what is going on here and now. Don’t focus on why something turned out the way it did. You can’t change the past. The present is all you have. Use your energy to create new positive outcomes.

A song that they have been playing on the radio lately by Calvin Harris and Ne-Yo puts it well:

“Let’s go!
 Make no excuses now
, I’m talking here and now . . . It’s not about what you’ve done, it’s about what you doing. 
It’s all about where you going, no matter where you’ve been. 
Let’s go!”

From → Mindfulness, Mindset

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