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How to Prevent Reliving Painful Memories

by Dr. Rodney Aziz

· mental health,health,painful memories,memories

At times, painful events from the past can sometimes get stuck in a person’s mind. While it is a good thing to reflect upon past events to find solutions for the future, it is also critical to avoid getting stuck in a loop that feeds the negativity. Over time, ruminating on past mistakes leads to serious mental health issues such as a loss of self-esteem. If it goes on too long, then there is also a risk for depression or anxiety to develop. Fortunately, it is possible to move forward from the past by using these strategies to prevent reliving painful memories.

Notice When It Happens

Often, painful memories pop up when they are least expected. Yet, quickly identifying when these thoughts occurs allows a person to take immediate action to stop the negative thoughts before they impact their emotional state of mind. Simply noticing that one is focusing on a past is the first step toward stopping the cycle of negativity.

Try to Find a Resolution

When a person experiences a painful memory, they should then ask themselves if it is possible to resolve the issue. For instance, reliving a recent argument with one’s spouse may be a sign that it is time to talk it out. Alternatively, a painful memory from one’s childhood may allow a person to seek the perspective that they have grown from the experience. If a resolution can be found, the painful memories often stop appearing.

Create a Designated Reflection Time

Ruminations can be a good thing if they lead to a moment of clarity. However, they can also take up the bulk of a person’s day if they are allowed to go unchecked. People who are prone to ruminating can designate a certain time each day when they can ruminate on past events. This way, they can simply set a memory aside as it pops up with the knowledge that they can think about it later.

Stay in the Present

Mindfulness is an asset for those who tend to get caught up in thinking about the past. Those who spend their time fully engaged in the activities of the present are better able to stave off negative thoughts. Therefore, it helps to plan distractions throughout the day that help one stay focused on positive events. Whether one reads a novel or engages in a work task, accomplishing new things throughout the day helps to promote happier memories.

It takes time and effort to prevent painful memories from affecting one’s life. Yet, the decision to be proactive against negative thoughts allows one to get the most out of each moment. While painful events will always exist in the past, it is possible to resolve past issues and look forward to a brighter future.

This blog was originally published on my Professional Overview website.

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