Being overly focused on thoughts of the past can bring up lots of painful emotions, including sorrow, regret, and anger. When you are overly focused on the future, thoughts of worry, anxiety, or uncertainty can arise.
There is a certain magic that happens when we are in the present…it’s that magic and flow that allows us to create our futures.
Being present, in this moment, is a powerful tool and important life skill and the best way to set yourself up for future success.
If there’s anything about yourself or your present reality that you don’t like or think you would be better off without…the fastest way to evolving or getting to what you do want is the accept all of those aspects now as the way things are meant to be just for this moment.
Imagine that you’re driving a car. It’s obvious that if you spend too much time looking into the rearview mirror you’ll probably get into an accident.
Looking into the rearview mirror for too long while driving is a metaphor, of course, for overly focusing on the past. There’s a function for the rearview mirror but it’s not our main focal point, especially while moving forward. Refer to this analogy when you need help to stop thinking about the past.
Self-reflection and understanding the origin of our personal traumas and micro-traumas help us assists in healing our past wounds and to identify triggers. While it’s important to have a grasp on our childhood stories and past traumas, it’s essential that they not become part of our identity. It’s possible that if you focus on them too much, you’ll miss an important part of the healing process, which is letting go.
“Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.”
Making “I am” statements is crucial. If you say “I will” do something you are putting that into the future instead of invoking it into the now. To create your life with your words
Use these tools to help train your mind to let go of the past and nurture the present moment for a fulfilling future.
The #1 way to stop thinking of the past, (and my ultimate favorite) is literally, getting rid of objects and things that remind you of the past or bring you down. It might even be something comfortable like a couch you shared with a past love or an award you received for a job, yet, for whatever reason, it has baggage to it. I say let it go!
It’s not uncommon for a person after a divorce or break up to give away or donate all the items they shared with that person. Each object has a set of memories, and whether your consciously aware of it, those connections are there.
Clearing your physical space is essential for having a clear, balanced, and healthy mental space. The Marie Kondo method from the book, “Spark Joy: The Magical Art of Tidying Up,” is the most effective method for getting those life-changing shifts that come from decluttering.
If you can’t take on that whole process at the moment, at least focus on getting rid of any objects that weigh your life down.
Remove anything and everything that brings up negative emotions or painful memories. I have a mantra “no mercy”, when advising clients to declutter.
You can start room by room. But be methodical.
Start from one corner of the room, look at or Pick up each item. Ask yourself:
Bottom line: If it makes you feel heavy when you hold it close to your heart, get rid of it. The idea of decluttering to stop thinking about the past is the most effective way.
Marie says nostalgia is not our friend and keeping a collection of items from the past chains us there. Releasing these objects that are tied to our past breaks us free so we can stop thinking about the past.
Letting go can be releasing painful past memories or grief. They can include letting go of a person who you are still energetically attached. If you need extra help releasing the past, especially if you are fresh out of a break-up, the end of or loss of a job, or any other major life event, doing a cleansing ceremony is just the ticket and often the best medicine available in these cases is time. There are a few ways to perform a letting go of pain, and stop thinking of the past and releasing that which needs to be let go to move on.
This is just one way! Another way is through water, as water is very cleansing. Next time you are in the shower, use a special soap that you buy for the occasion and use it to wash away the emotions that are no longer serving you.
There are so many different ways to release and let go and stop thinking of the past. The ones we come up with for ourselves are always the most effective.
My original idea here was to put meditation first on the list. But.. there are many ways to be in the now. Call it whatever you want, being mindful, meditation focused attention…. It could be a meditation, but this one is slightly different. Sit still and focus on the object in front of you, notice all the nuances, the details, the color… looking at a flower for five minutes can be quite mind-blowing. (no drugs needed).
You will be placed in the wonder of the moment. It’s the most precious thing to see the awe of nature. Past and future will disappear.
It’s not the absence of thinking, it’s the practice of being able to be with all of your thoughts without reacting to them. Or just simply notice what is. This will place you in a state of no past, no future. Just the now embracing
Be Authentically You
Understanding core values and how they drive your mission that is your life. If you don’t know what matters to you, you risk living your life for the wants, needs, and desires of others. Say how you feel at the moment. When we hold back what we truly feel, we often set ourselves up for regret because we perseverate on the past wishing we had said what we needed to say.
Live for yourself. Don’t do something because societal norms suggest it’s the right thing to do. Don’t live for your parents or even for your partner. This breeds resentment and toxifies relationships. If you make choices based on your core values and desires you won’t be hung up on the past. Always do what makes you feel good and what you feel intuitively guided to do.
Though there is not exactly numerical science regarding vision boards, there have been numerous studies done in academia and other scientific industries that yield undeniable results. By way of the law of attraction, what you focus on you create. Having the visual of your vision board everyday wires your brain to draw the images into your life.
The most important step is to get really clear about what you want. Gather images and words that represent exactly what you want. If you want a white Audi, put a picture of a white Audi. Put a picture of yourself in your dream job. If you want a certain lifestyle, put a picture of yourself one the vision board surrounded by images of the lifestyle. It’s easy to stop thinking about the past when all you see is your future becomes your reality faster than you imagined!
When you exercise your body creates and releases endorphins. The endorphins interact with receptors in your brain to reduce pain and change your relationship to said pain. They also create a similar effect on the brain as morphine creating a euphoric feeling and overall well being. Happiness makes it easy to stop thinking about the past!
For almost 30 years, I did something called “Morning Pages”. It’s journaling taught by the book the Artist Way. I did it every morning, rain or shine, healthy or sick. It helps clear out all of the cluttered thoughts from our minds. By putting them out on paper it’s like physically removing them from the mind. Sometimes you write about the past and then you can stop thinking about the past and as you write about your future, you can also stop thinking and futurizing.
Once the mind is clear and at peace with the present, it can more mindfully and peacefully create the future. Scripting is a manifestation technique in which you write about the future that you want to create as if it has already happened. For example, “I am so happy and grateful now that I have found my perfect life partner who loves being committed to me.”
If you blame yourself for elements of your past that are haunting you, it is so important to have compassion for yourself in these moments. If this is what you are struggling with, follow these steps:
Make a gratitude list every day of all the things you are grateful for that you already have. Include at least 10. Then make a list of 10 things you want to draw into your life by writing, “Thank you for my dream clients that are throwing their money at me to work with me,” for example. Saying thank you for them as if you already have them. This will train your mind to be in the receptive mode and focus on the present and future in a positive way instead of the past.
If you must dwell and throw yourself a pity party, it happens, set a timer for 10 minutes. Brood and reflect on your misfortunes for 10 minutes. When time is up it’s up and you can move on with your day and stop thinking about the past! Take action towards something positive as soon as the timer is off.
There are several ways to build confidence, meet new people, and discover things about yourself that you didn’t know. All of which takes the mind and the body from the past to the present and the future.
If you’ve been going to the same yoga studio, the same gym, the same restaurants, and the same social environments and you’re feeling burdened by bad memories of the past a change of environment is just what you need! The energy of the past may be lingering in those places and the refresh of scenery will alleviate that heavy energy for you making room for new feelings and new experiences.
Unfortunately, we aren’t always able to cut toxic people out of our lives. Sometimes we just have to learn how to have healthy boundaries. Having healthy boundaries prevents us from falling into our own negative patterns and stay in our best mindsets. Allowing the same negative patterns to repeat themselves keeps us stuck in the past carrying it into the future.
Attitude determines your altitude. When we expect positive outcomes it makes it easier for the universe to organize itself around the best possible outcome. It also makes it easier for us to see the creative solution or receive the gift when we are already in the mindset of expecting a positive outcome.
The secret to the success of those who found it is often found in their morning routines.
Use any of the above or whatever tools you like that keep you mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy
If you could use support on how to stop thinking about the past and create your amazing future, I’m your coach!
As a Certified Professional Relationship and Success Coach, and a Certified Neurolinguistic Programming Practitioner, I specialize in helping you stop the cycle of self-sabotage.
Schedule a free coaching session to dive into letting go of your past to create your future.