By Jimmy Warden
Dwelling on our mishaps is poison for the mind and body. The more that we perpetuate on things we did wrong or things that we wish we did better, the more that our emotional and physical well-being suffers. It can get to a point where we’re in a constant state of despair because of how much we dwell on our past mistakes and misfortunes. When we take this way of thinking on, we begin to have a “woe is me” mentality.
When this mentality takes over, it is difficult to get rid of. Negative thinking overpowers positive thinking every damn day of the week. Our minds are geared to paying attention to negative thoughts because it’s a survival mechanism. Negative thoughts send messages to our brains that we need to change something in order to survive. The tricky part is that we have difficulties coming up with ways to solve those problems because of the mindset we’re in. This is a constant, negative feedback loop. How can we change that?
It starts by taking stock of our mental state. Are we constantly looking outward when we have problems? Are we blaming other people or our current circumstances for our personal challenges? If so, we need to start looking inward. When we look inward, we can start making progress toward the problem-solving mindset we want to develop.
Once we’ve looked inward, it’s time to ask some pressing questions. The first one is simple: What’s bothering me? Most likely, we have a gamut of things in our lives that are bothering us. Making a list of those items helps tremendously. Once the list is in front of us, we need to analyze the list and put stars next to what’s most bothersome. Then, follow up with more questions: Why are these things bothering me so much? How are these affecting my mental state of mind? Are these things that I can avoid? Those are three great starting questions to gain more clarity of our problems, but one question triumphs over them all.
What can I do to change this?
Asking that question can lead to a variety of self-discovery answers. It could lead to specific action steps that we hadn’t thought of before. It could lead to changing our behaviors that got us there in the first place. It could also lead to understanding that we’re not our past.
When it comes to dwelling on our past, that last idea is the most important takeaway. We are not our past; we are not our future; we are not our thoughts. We are us. Here and now. There is nothing else for us to do except take proper actions in the present. The more that we do what we should, right now, the more our future will manifest the way we’d like it to.
So let’s minimize our dwelling. Don’t let it push us into a pit of despair. Let’s use it to correct our path forward. Good will come.