Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Put the past behind you and create a new you

Life is filled with ups and downs. Sometimes we have wonderful experiences that bring us joy and other times we will go through bad situations that cause us heartache, but it’s how we use the latter experiences to learn and move on that’s important.

If you’ve gone through something traumatic, such as a failed relationship, the death of someone close to you or losing your job, these kinds of experiences can have a negative impact and seriously harm your wellbeing. If we allow our past to take a grip, it can affect our future decisions so it’s vital that we learn from the past rather than live there.

Remember that every situation we face in life will have a different outcome so try not to let one bad experience define your future or who you are. If we don’t learn to put the past behind us, we will continue to endure sleepless nights, anger, resentment, anxiety, stress and depression.

Rather than pushing our thoughts to the back of our mind, we should try and confront negative issues, deal with them and move on.

Ways to put the past behind you

If there is a particular situation or experience that is still having a negative effect on your mental health, face it head on and explore what you’ve learnt from it. When we spend time reflecting on our past, it makes it easier to accept and move forwards.

  • Make a list of things you have learnt from the experience and the emotions it stirred up in you. This is a good way to release any pent-up frustrations and let them go.
  • Write down the things that you've gained from the experience. Perhaps you lost your job and you are now in a better paid job that makes you much happier. By seeing the positives that have arisen from past negative experiences, we become more appreciative and accept that we need them in order to grow as a person.
  • If there is another person involved, speak with them and express your thoughts and feelings to get clarity. This can be extremely therapeutic and more often than not, you’ll be surprised that the other person also wants to resolve the situation and put it behind them.
  • Learn to forgive. By understanding and being empathetic, we can gain a clearer insight into why a situation might have occurred. Forgiveness is a wonderful way to find inner peace, which is necessary for personal growth.

Focus on the present

Learn to practise mindfulness

By dwelling on the past, we continue to suffer negative emotions and feelings that cause constant distress, but by focusing on the present, we can start to feel happier. Practise mindfulness and meditation to keep your thoughts focused on the positives. Live in the moment and be grateful for all the things that bring you happiness.

Learn a new skill

Learning a new skill or enjoying new experiences will keep your mind occupied and make you appreciate the present day rather than looking back to the past. You could also take a short beak and give yourself some time to do the things you love so that you can completely switch off. 

Spend more time with those who empower you

Spend more time with people who empower you and bring out positive emotions in you. The happier your present reality becomes, the less likely you are to look back on your past with regret or anger.

In this Ted Talk, psychologist Daniel Kahneman talks about how our experiences and memories affect how we view our happiness and how we behave in the future. This gives us a great insight into how we can change our way of thinking to lay the foundations for a better future.

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