How to Think Into the Past Without Getting Depressed

It’s ok to look back at your past self, you don’t have to get stressed when you do

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

How many times a day do you think about something that happened to you in the past? Probably more than a couple of times right? The process of doing this can become very stressful and could even lead you into a slight depression.

Everyone has made mistakes in their past or has been in a situation where things didn’t go as they expected. A certain number of these memories stick with us, days, months, and even years later. Those events had such an impact on us at the moment they happened and now have become glued to our brains years later. Even good memories are still in our heads.

Sometimes we need to look into the past to remember something that can help us today. When retaking a test for school, I had to look back into my brain for my thought process during my first time taking that test. All I could remember was how stressed I was while taking the test and the sadness I felt when I found out I failed the test.

Thinking back to this time helped me to become motivated to pass the test the second time I took it and I know that I didn’t want to experience those feelings again.

The past can be depressing if you let it, sometimes we find something that triggers a bad moment from our past, and at that point, we feel out of control. Our brains instantly go back to that moment that we so much feared and we have to deal with the emotions that come with it.

It’s good to know that thinking into the past can be useful, it doesn’t just have the power to make you depressed but it also has the power to make you into a better person.

Know What to Expect When Thinking Back

You know the potential feelings that can come with thinking back to the past. When recalling a certain memory, get your mind prepared for what’s about to come. Take a deep breath and know that the memory you’re about to remember is in the past and it is now gone.

It will only make you sad if you allow it to. Even if you do end up sad for a little bit, it will only be for a few moments and eventually, you’ll start living your life again. Memories should be used for a good laugh, a good cry, or as a learning lesson. You don’t need anything more out of your memories.

If you know that the memory you’re about to bring up has struck feelings before then you know what to expect. Hold yourself together while you’re recalling the memory. The more trust that you have in yourself to stay calm, cool, and collected during that realization then the calmer you’ll be when you bring it up again in the future.

If a memory that you have immediately makes you upset or puts you in a negative mood, laugh at it. That’s right, even if it’s a fake laugh, do it. Don’t let that memory become an enemy. Stand up to it and view it as a joke rather than a stressful moment.

I like to do this when I’m having a deep conversation with someone. Usually, if I want someone to open up to me, then I’ll open up first, I do this by bringing up a time in my life that was hard for me, and instead of saying it with a broken tone in my voice, I laugh when I say it to let myself and the other person know that the memory I’m talking about doesn’t affect me how it used to.

Have good intentions when thinking back to your past, if you’re listening to a sad song that you know will make you reflect back on some tough times in your life, you better be ready to fight those feelings that are about to come.

Use these memories to make yourself a better person, not someone who is going to have a hard time getting out of bed the next morning.

It’s In the Past, It’s Out of Your Control

You can’t do anything about it, it’s gone, it’s already happened, stop stressing yourself out so much about it. We have a hard time dealing with thoughts about our past because we feel like they’re still happening to us when we do think about them.

Bad memories have a way of haunting us in the future, and they always seem to be unexpected. Eliminate this worry by telling yourself that the past is out of your control. Even if you wanted to do something about that situation, it’s not like you can go back in time and do something.

All you can do simply think about it. If memories like this are preventing you from living the life that you want to live now then you need to have an honest conversation with yourself. What is it about this memory that’s holding you back?

Often times it can be the judgment of others, do you think that these people actually care about something you’ve done in the past? Most people that you know today weren’t even there to witness the problems you were facing a few years ago.

People have their own lives to live and they too face difficulty with certain memories. If anything, people will relate to you, even more, when you two can talk about dealing with tough memories.

Whatever mistakes you’ve made in the past and learned from, use it to help others. This is an easy way to get over any regrets that you have about the past. You see this with a lot of athletic trainers, many of them suffered injuries and have regrets about not taking care of their body when they were younger. Now, they use that mistake to help others not to do the same which gives them a sense of fulfillment.

You’ll Always Have the Present Moment to Go Back to

Don’t be anxious to go back to the past, in moments like these you see the amount of growth that has come into your life and how important those moments were. If you find yourself feeling a bit down when thinking back to those moments then just remember that you always have the present moment to come back to.

The present moment will help you understand that you don’t have to suffer anymore. Your life is happening to you right now, all of that stuff that has happened in the past has nothing to do with you in the present moment.

Focus on your breath and count your blessings, the life that you’re living now is all that you can experience, and all that you have control over. Accept the past for what it is, yes, it had its ups and downs but it had its time. The time that you should be focusing on is now in the present moment.

Thinking back to the past can be a pleasant or dreadful experience, it is up to you how you want that experience to go. The memories that you do have are relevant to you for a reason, find out that reason and you will no longer fear it. I’ll leave you with a quote from Bill Keane that says

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”

A young adult who’s writing is geared towards self-improvement and self care. “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

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