My most recent attempt to be more present and enjoy my life has been surprisingly quite effective. I’ve spent the last few weeks pointing out to myself when I start thinking about the past.
Things I’ve done wrong. Things I wished I’d done. Things that have hurt me. Replaying a negative comment (online or in person) again and again in my mind as though I’m actually trying to make myself feel bad.
It’s really surprising how often I do this. Especially when trying to fall asleep. I waste so much time thinking about the past, and almost all of it being painted in a negative light.
I’ve heard the phrases before: “don’t care about the past!”, “what’s done is done”, “no regrets!! woooo” but they felt more fitting for teenagers trying to get over the guilt of not studying for an exam, or elderly people on their deathbed.
They weren’t realistic to me. I’m a huge fan of reflection and always thought it was essential to improvement: learning from your mistakes and the such. But I definitely more often than not cross the line into emotional self-harm.
What doesn’t help this at all is my extremely vivid imagination - I can relive the past in a way that will make me feel just as bad (or worse) than I did at the time.
And so, I’ve challenged myself to stop it all. No more brooding. If there’s something making me feel bad that I can’t change, I don’t allow myself to think of it. I try to remind myself that there’s absolutely no point in thinking about the past, and focus on my surroundings. On literally anything around me at that moment.
And I feel just so much better. I’d really recommend trying it for a while.
I do enjoy challenging my most natural and extreme states of thinking with their opposite. It really is fun :)
Wishing you a great week,