Are you thinking about past events?
Struggling to let things go?
Finding it hard to move on?…
…5 KEY TIPS to help you move forward
I was very lucky to help a very lovely older client who, for all her long life, had found it impossible to live in the moment. She came to me as she really struggled with just simple, on the face of it, small events. Any little issue, or passing conversation would just ‘stay with her’ keeping her transfixed to her internal dialogue, she was attached to her constantly looping thoughts.
This lady would rehash the situation and event repeatedly. She would think about how she had reacted at the event, and she wished she could have done better. She also thought that the worst possible outcome would happen. It was so hard for her to feel that she could ‘let go’ and ‘move on’. This is a very common way of thinking, and many people can find themselves in this situation.
“Are you worried? Do you have many what if thoughts?
Are you identified with your mind, are you projecting yourself into an
imaginary future situation and creating fear?”
As quoted by the well known author Eckhart Tolle,
For all of her life, my lovely client felt whatever happened it would always lead to something bad, it would be something that would make her worse off. No matter what the situation was she felt that the most awful possibility would happen. This left her feeling that it was impossible to enjoy anything, any positives would never last, they would always end in disaster, her mind stopped her from finding happiness and enjoyment. In the end her health and body suffered as she took on the pain of her thinking.
I’m sure that we all know someone with the following symptoms?
- those living with their thoughts stuck in past events and past situations
- those remembering past conversations which can never been forgotten
- those so hurt or broken by past events and bring them up whenever possible
For some people, expressing feelings out loud can be natural. It can feel as if they are helping themselves by letting go. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, people cannot move forward in this state, they are stuck, reminding themselves repeatedly how bad the situation was, how much they bought into and paid for their pain.
- if we can accept that things can sometimes go wrong, accept that sometimes we are treated unfairly
- if we can accept that the past has already happened, it’s done, it is the way it is, despite our best intentions, we can then start to become more relaxed
- as we make a decision to let go and realise we cant change the past, we can then start to live in the moment and stop ourselves from creating more of the same
For those who can’t let things go, can’t move on, for people like my client who constantly think about the past, there is an expectation that the worst will happen. Often, they conjure up the most dramatic outcome to play repeatedly in the mind. Taking and stealing precious time. It is so easy for them to fly from feeling simply ‘uneasy’ to that feeling of ‘upmost fear’ in only a few seconds, leaving the person to feel not only anxious and fearful but also exhausted.
As soon as we can see and recognise ourselves in mid-flow of this behaviour we can make that decision to stop. As soon as we realise that we have gone off into our inner mind, playing out the injustices of the event, we must realise we have set off on the inner spiral which could last for the rest of the day. We can just lose so much time in our own world.
“Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with 60 diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.”
– Horace Mann
So, what can we do? How do we break this habit?
Instead of going into those ongoing looping thoughts, take a step back
5 top tips to help you move forward
1. The absolute worst fears rarely come true.
Look at all the other ways that things can turn out for your situation, why would these other possibilities not play out?
Look back at past events, did the worst scenario always play out? Did the worst scenario ever happen? Did your mind add to your fear? Although it felt real and true, did this scenario happen as you thought?
2.What is the worst possible outcome?
How bad could it get? If the worst should come true, what actually would happen? Could it result in the loss of your job and home or health? This would be a truly dreadful outcome however, just think about all the steps needed to make the worst possible outcome, how likely is it that each and every step would take place?
How likely is that?
3. Imagine the absolute worst has happened.
Write up your exact plan for what you would do, who would you speak to and call, what would you ask them?
What would you do first and second. Work on your plan, really give time to it, look at all options available.
Working is the best antidote to break this fear state.
Give back some control to your mind, resolve to take this action should the very worst outcome actually happen.
4. Visualise what you want.
Can you imagine getting the result exactly as if you had planned it? Give this some deep thinking, imagine all the emotions and happiness of the outcome that you desire. Practice this out loud, or in your head, when brushing your teeth, combing your hair. This is not just a case of positive thinking, it’s a case of reprogramming the mind. Change the words and pictures that you see, hear and think in your internal dialogue with feeling and emotion.
5. Begin to feel that you can handle it, whatever the outcome may be.
Begin to feel that any more thoughts of a fearful nature can be thought about and addressed another day – tomorrow maybe… Focus on the present moment, focus on what’s happening Now. If we spend our time thinking about and worrying about the future, we will increase our state of fear, we simply don’t know what’s really going to happen next. All we can do is plan for our best future, our best outcomes.
Remember that you may not be able to control what is going on in the world, but you can decide how you choose to feel about whatever is going on. It’s up to you to form your own response.
Look at the words and pictures you use when talking to yourself.
Know that whatever you say to yourself and to others, your subconscious mind accepts and believes as fact.
Change that language to something more neutral and calmer. Instead of thinking you are in a nightmare say “this is a challenge”.
Now the mind thinks, we can work with this,
we can find a solution. We then feel less stressed and more in control.
Are you in control of your thoughts?
I know a person who goes swimming every day, each time she goes up and down the lane she is thinking about all the things she has to do when she gets back at work, back home, after she picks up the kids. The idea was to go for a relaxing keep fit exercise session at the gym to get healthy. However, when she returned to the office, she realised she hadn’t enjoyed the swim at all.
In fact, she couldn’t remember the swimming or how many lengths she had achieved.
This continued every day, she couldn’t stop thinking about what she had to do, the mountain of tasks and work in her mind was completely overwhelming.
When she was back at her desk she didn’t know where to start, she didn’t do any of the things she had planned on whilst swimming.
Are you in control of your thoughts?