I am an accountant and you know how matter of fact our ‘breed’ is. We like facts and figures and hard evidence. Just because I read something in a book or someone tells me about it, does not convince me of anything. I like to try it for myself and see how it works. In order to enjoy my life now, I have learnt to release my past memories. If you struggle with your history, then the following strategies may help you refocus your mind.
Step 1 - Realise that repeatedly thinking about the past is not going to change it.
This is such a simple statement yet how many of you think about something you should have done or not done? Do you keep thinking about the events that have occurred in your life? How about your childhood and the way your parents should have brought you up? Is remembering the past helping you now? Can you change what has happened by thinking about it? The answer is no. So why do you do it? Repeatedly thinking about a bad childhood or old relationship or the ‘wrong’ decisions you have made, is not helping you now. In fact, you are wasting your time and energy.
Step 2 – Allow yourself time to grieve.
There are certain events in life where you need to grieve in order to recover. You cannot move on until you allow yourself a period of time to process what has happened. For instance, my friend Jackie had a miscarriage and she understandably became depressed. It took her a number of months to lament and get over her loss. Jackie then realised that she had to move on and appreciate her time with her family. Occasionally she may remember the miscarriage, but she just acknowledges it and lets it go. Be kind to yourself and give yourself an opportunity to be really sad and seek counselling if necessary. Then after some time, make the decision to move forward.
Step 3 – It is natural for your mind to be active so allow your thoughts to float by without judgement.
Your mind is racing with numerous thoughts and to try and stop them is impossible. It is similar to trying to put the sun out using a hose. You cannot prevent yourself from thinking. If you are happy with yourself then that is great. However if you are a person who feels depression, regret and sadness as you recollect scenarios from long ago, then recognise that you are stuck in the past. Make the choice to release your memories without spending too much energy on it. You cannot stop the thoughts, so realise that you just had a bad memory then focus on something happening to you now.
Step 4 – Focus on the now and retrain your mind to stay in the present.
Here is a technique which you may find useful in keeping yourself in the present. Whenever you realise your mind has wandered to an unpleasant memory, look at something physical that is around you. It may be flower, a book or a person passing by. This helps you to escape from the flow of your thoughts and bring you back to the present.
Another technique may be to tell yourself that you are going to notice a specific colour for that day. It may be the colour purple and then as your day progresses, notice anything that is purple. This helps to ground you especially when you find that your mind is racing with melancholy thoughts.
These simple steps have helped me enjoy my time with my family and friends. Everyone is different and you will need to discover your own techniques to refocus your mind. The main thing to realise is that people are able to leave behind the past and that means you can too. You just have to find a method that works for you and I hope my strategies may give you some direction.
I found out this week that my book will be coming out around July 2013. This has been a childhood dream and I am really excited that it is finally coming true.
Hope you have a great week and remember to live without regrets. Cherish your family and friends.