Much like wounds, continuously touching and poking something won’t make it heal or go away quicker. Sometimes when you do keep poking at it, it becomes ‘infected’ so what may have been small becomes bigger and the thoughts around it become irrational.
It’s easy to keep thinking about the things that have happened that make us angry or upset us. The real challenge and growth is developing the discipline to manage your own thoughts appropriately. Much like similar posts to these, I’ll be offering some techniques I use, and the psychology behind not forgetting.
Why do we keep ruminating on things?
Self sabotage, insecurities, fears, anxieties, immaturity, lack of coping skills: there’s a lot of reasons as to why we ruminate.
My downfall (like so many) is remembering anything in strong detail that has invoked a strong emotional response. From there, I hit a spiral where I just cannot stop thinking about it, and then because I’m already vulnerable I begin to bring up even older events that I haven’t truly healed from. It’s an awful spiral that many of us suffer with.
When ruminating, a lot of the time we focus on why did it happen, what our involvement is, if we could have avoided it and development in fears. What we should be thinking about is solutions, but it’s far too easy to focus on the problem.
Why we can’t just get over the past
Maybe there’s unfinished business, maybe we didn’t get to say what we wanted to, maybe we have residual anger or guilt. There’s a lot of reasons just like above. It is hard to get over something that has caused you grief, there is no denying that.
Especially with deceased loved ones, there’s that element of guilt that if you get over what happened then you might forget them or maybe even hurt their feelings that you’re able to move on. (This might sound weird to people who haven’t lost someone near and dear to them).
The real killer is residual feelings and words left unsaid, I think. If you have something more to say you’re going to keep on thinking about that and all the changes it would have made. If you have residual feelings you’re constantly going to be thinking about how certain parts made you feel. That then keeps the situation going in your head making it harder to deal with and ‘get over’.
How I push through the past and some ideas to try!
From my previous post, journaling. Writing a letter to someone to just completely writing out from start to finish something that’s happened can really get the ball rolling. Once it’s out of your head and on paper it’s sort of a relief and validation. You accept what happened and look at solutions. For every situation I write about I include solutions, I highly recommend this.
It’s also highly important that you do let yourself feel and assess the situation, you won’t heal very well otherwise.
Here’s some ideas!
- Writing a letter and burning it.
- Make a timeline, you’ll notice how it’s ‘in the past’ and sometimes that can help you to see it in perspective.
- Look at other times you’ve struggled to get over something and how it may not affect you anymore.
- Validate your feelings, without feeling validated you can’t move past it.
- Begin doing gratitude exercises and focus on the positive.
- Get into the habit of as soon as you spiral to quickly become busy.
- Allow yourself to actually feel the situation before you begin moving on to healing.
- While journaling, for any negatives you write about a person or situation, write the positives. This helps in so many ways, especially if you hold grudges like me :P.
- Mind map your own strategies or ideas on how to deal with situations.
- Begin a blog! Good place to get frustration out.
- Research or mind map exactly why you can’t get over or deal with something.
- Look into seeing a psychologist, they are amazing if you find the one you click with.
- Get really involved in your hobbies until it’s all you can think about.
- Write stories, you’ll become focused on what you’re trying to write and express that you will think of the situation less.
- Treat yourself! Bake, watch a movie, take a bath, hang out with friends etc.
I’m sure you’re getting the idea now.
This is my favourite part! Find a hobby that involves all of your attention! For me it’s photography (I even started a business), drawing scenes from my favourite movies/dreams/landscapes, scrap booking, and creating binders full of nursing hints and tips (I don’t get out much :P). I’ve also dabbled in making my own clothes.
I recommend trying out a lot of hobbies to find what works for you, and don’t get disheartened when the first few don’t click. Even taking up sport or exercise can help. Really anything to keep your mind busy and focused.
Some hobbies to try:
- Model making
- Scrap booking
And so on!
It’s important to note
Don’t beat yourself up because you can’t get over something quick enough. All things take time and it’s important that you arm yourself with the right coping skills that work for you, that way you can instantly use them in the future. Learn from any mistakes you made and don’t be afraid to push forward. Once you allow yourself that, the rest becomes easier.