Dwelling on the Past Hurts Your Future

How often do you find yourself running through past scenarios in your head, and thinking what you should have said or done differently? 

As women, our minds are wired to seek perfection in everything we do. When things don’t go exactly as planned, we think about why they didn’t go as planned, what went wrong, then we dwell on the mistakes we think we made

Frustration kicks in when we realize we cannot change the outcome of an event that already happened, and that frustration soon turns into exhaustion. 

Mental exhaustion stems from overthinking, overuse, and an undernourished mind and body. 

There are three main things that contribute to mental exhaustion:

  1. Constantly thinking about the past or future.
  2. Having a loud inner critic.
  3. Rewriting past events in your head.

I am a prime example of someone who used to put themselves through mental exhaustion on the daily. 

When I first went to college, I had this expectation that I was going to be the best student, have all the friends in the world, everyone was going to like me, I was going to have a great job and make all this money, and just kill it!

Well, some of those things happened, but some didn’t. I set some extreme unrealistic expectations for myself that were truly unachievable. 

I can think of a specific time when I decided to transfer colleges after my first semester, because things were just not going as planned. I still find myself thinking about what I could have changed that would have made my time at my first college better. 

What if I wouldn’t have been in that friend group? 

What if I wouldn’t have worked at that place? 

What if I had a different major, would I have liked it better? 

…. But what if I just accepted that that specific college wasn’t the place for me, and realized how happy I am where I am now

When you dwell on past events and go through every “what if” possible, you fail to recognize where you are now and how far you’ve come. 

You can truly only control what is happening right now, and you have no control over the past. Don’t waste your life thinking about the “could haves”. Change your mindset to think about the “right now”. 

Here are 3 key ways to change your mindset:

  1. Without judgement, train your mind to focus on the present moment by guiding your thoughts back to what is right in front of you. What are you thankful for right now? 
  2. Your inner critic is the voice inside of you that tells you that you aren’t good enough or that you are stupid. Call out that crazy voice and tell them what you are – strong, worthy, and resilient. 
  3. Your mind cannot rest if you are constantly thinking about what you should have said or should have done differently. To quiet your mind, try to exercise, set aside time for a worry break, or do a mindful activity. 

Remind yourself that the present takes precedent each and every day.

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