Rewire Your Brain to Stop Dwelling on the Past

Do you sit and dwell on your past? Your thoughts might bring guilt like, "I shouldn't have said that to my husband." or "Why did I do that to my wife?" This type of thinking is called rumination and it can lead to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, binge-drinking and binge-eating. 

Thinking about the past and feeling guilty is one of the worst feelings in the world. Sadly enough, psychology shows that women have a tendency to do this more than men, which makes it very difficult for women to get over their pasts. These feelings of guilt and shame are responsible for reactivating the same kinds of feelings and emotions in the body that make us repeat the same behaviors and actions.


If you tend to catastrophize with your thinking, you probably find yourself blowing things way out of proportion. You might experience the situation over and over in your mind and think that it is way more serious than it really is. Perhaps you said something to a friend or sent a risky text message and now the world is caving in on you. This is common for many people and it has some pretty serious consequences because it causes stress and fear of loss. 


If there were a cure for this kind of thinking, would you take it? Oftentimes, people run to the doctor or the psychiatrist and try to fix it with a pill. There is something about this generation that wants it to all be better right now and even though pills play a major part in the mental health of some people, the majority of us are just dealing with thoughts and emotions that are common to everyone. Aside from being properly diagnosed with a mental disorder, these thoughts and feelings can be taken care of with two really simple techniques that we can all do every day.

 

The first of these simple techniques is just 30 minutes of exercise. I mean, really, how hard is it to set thirty minutes of your day aside to get in some heavy breathing and sweat? (you made that way dirtier than it had to be) If you study the habits and behaviors of the most successful people, they always do the hardest things on their agenda first thing in the morning. Working out first thing in the morning is a great challenge to try for yourself! 

The reason that this works is, making decisions is like working a muscle all day long. We have a certain amount of brain energy everyday that is set aside for making decisions and once we use that all up, we start faltering on our self-control and self-discipline. That's why some people just binge eat at night, because all of their will power for the day has been used up. Pretty crazy right?


If you have a hard time finding the motivation to work out, get up an hour early and put on a work out video from YouTube or find a great song on your playlist and do some dancing. As long as you are getting your heart rate up and getting the blood flowing. You don't have to be pushing tires down the street in front of your cross fit gym to qualify it as exercise. (yeah, we all know that one person)


Exercise helps with weight loss, sure, but it also has other amazing benefits. One of those special benefits is it helps to produce more neurons in your brain! It helps to keep brain cells from dying and it also helps to keep those neurons vital and healthy so that you can maximize your memory power. Studies are still being done that may show that exercise is also beneficial in avoiding dementia and other brain related diseases. So go for it, put on your tennis shoes and break a sweat, your brain will thank you for it. 


The second simple and easy technique is 30 minutes of meditation following your 30 minutes of cardio. Together this power-duo has been proven to help the brain to forget the past and to stop rumination. Who knew!? The secret to meditation is to keep coming back to your breath-that means to pay attention to your breathing; the rise and fall of your diaphragm. 

This simple and easy practice that you can do anywhere actually has many health and brain benefits, way too many to put in this article. The research of Tracey Shows, Phd from the Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University, has shown that meditation helps with stress, mental focus, breathing, and now it can it help you get over that ex you can't quit thinking about!


These two simple and effective techniques are available to you for free and they will change your life. Like I asked before, "If you had the cure for guilt over your past, would you take it?" Now you do. Living in the past is a thing of the past, and living in the now is the new trend this season!