The Rumination of Focusing Too Much on the Past

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It is not healthy to think so much about the past. It can stir up unpleasant memories and can enhance negative feelings knowing that there is nothing you can do to change the past. Letting go of the past can help you have a happy future.

An Addiction Onto Itself

There are people who cannot let go of the past no matter how hard they try. This can affect the people they meet, the jobs they decide to apply for, or their whole attitude in general. Just like how drugs are used as a tool for escape, not letting go of the past can do the same thing. It is possible that you had a very happy childhood in an area you no longer live in and keep wishing you could relive those moments. Thinking about these fond memories can give you temporary pleasure, but you will remain stuck in the past instead of the present.


Ruminating on the past can lead us to develop depression. We are powerless over the choices we made or the events that happened to us in the past. We have no way of changing it. We have no choice but to accept what happened and move on. Not everyone is ready to do that. We need to realize that the past is already written in stone. What we do have control over right now is the future.

Developing Alcoholism or Substance Abuse Disorder

If we are constantly thinking about a distressing moment in our past, we will want to do whatever we can to block that memory out. People tend to do drugs or drink alcohol to feel numb and destroy the sad memories. This can lead to serious health problems in the long run. Drugs and alcohol will actually make your feelings worsen which will cause you to drink or do drugs even more. Confronting your feelings with a mental health specialist is a much healthier tool and a huge weight will be lifted off your shoulders.

Negative Thinking

Thinking about the negative past we had may cause us to bring those feelings into the present. We feel like we cannot do anything to change the past. This leads us to being angry people and taking out our feelings on people who had nothing to do with it. If we want to have a happy future, that is the one thing we do have control in. The actions we take now affect what our future will be like. You should instead think about positive improvements that have occurred in your life now compared to what you did not have before.

Increased Stress

Thinking about these memories of your past is not healthy for you. Being in a prolonged state of stress can cause your immune system not to work properly. This can lead to cardiovascular and heart disease in the future. It is important that you do something now about ruminating on the past to avoid health complications later in life.

How to Forgive

You can choose to be a bigger person by choosing to forgive. You may always remember these memories, but you can choose to let them go and put them to rest. You can make a list of all of the people who wronged you in the past and let them go. They no longer have power of your mind. If you feel like you owe an apology to any of these people as well, speak to them and apologize. Understand that everyone is human and that we all make mistakes. If these memories were during your childhood, do not hold what kids have done against you. Your experiences have helped you build character. You will feel much better once you let go.

Choose to Feel Good

Spending all of your time thinking of the people who wronged you or the circumstances that dramatically changed your life will not make you feel better. It will just turn you into an angry person. You need to ask yourself why you are spending all of your energy on hating someone who is most likely no longer in your life. You can choose instead to be happy with the people in your life who make you happy. Leave these people in the past where they belong and have a future with people who touch your heart.

Focus on the Present

These memories may always follow you. It is just important that you do not dwell on them. When you focus on the present, you have less time to think about the past. When these memories creep into your consciousness, acknowledge them just for a few seconds. Then leave them in a better place. You can write your thoughts down and then tear them up, send them, burn them, or keep them in a safe place. Use positive affirmations when these thoughts come to you like saying to yourself that the past is the past and you have an interesting present and future waiting for you. By allowing our minds to be filled with such negativity, there is no room for any positive to come to you. You may not have chosen to get hurt in the first place, but you are choosing now to continue letting that hurt influence you. Choose instead to welcome back joy and happiness. Letting go of the past is a brave step towards a bright future and better mental health. 

Located in Huntington Beach, California next to a beautiful pond, Silver Lining Recovery is a serene outpatient care center that believes in staying relaxed while receiving treatment. Silver Lining’s philosophy is the most effective way to treat addiction is to find the underlying cause of it and offer professional help. Their customized treatment program offers a number of different individualized therapies with knowledgeable and experienced counselors to be there for you and uncover unresolved issues like EMDR, CBT, DBT, meditation treatment, faith-based treatment, and academic and career counseling.  For more information, please call us at (833) 847-6984.