Is Looking Into The Past Harmful to Your Mental Health?

I have always had a tendency for nostalgia. I like to look back at moments in my life where I was experiencing something meaningful, maybe with someone who was important to me at the time and is no longer around. I tend to wonder if still having them with me would make me happy, if I could make amends for all the wrong things I did. When I think about these types of things I usually end up sad, because I beat myself up about a past that I cannot change, and about a person I cannot bring back .

Sometimes, when we suffer from a mental illness, we might do things that at one point in time we had no control over. Sometimes we could have hurt people we loved, people we cared about tremendously. Sometimes those people end up leaving, and we end up left with a preposterous sense of regret. Looking back at it now, there were so many other things that I needed to change and fix before I jumped into a marriage, but I didn’t know that back then, and my wife ended up paying the consequences, consequences that she didn’t deserve.

But no matter how much we’ve lost and who in our lives has had enough and left, looking back in the past just to dwell on it will do absolutely nothing positive for our mental health. We cannot change what has already happened, but we do have control of the future. That is where our vision needs to be; on not repeating things out there, in front of us, and in treating the ones we love –those that have stuck around– the way they deserve to be treated.

With that said, only look at the past to learn, and not to dwell. Keep your vision focused and forward, and you will see great improvement on your mental health.

1 Comment

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    Laurie Couch February 8, 2018 (2:52 pm)

    I have to constantly ask myself, is this morbid reflection or a bad memory of experiences I do not want to repeat. How could I have used pause and positive talk in my head before responding or taking action that will cause myself and others harm?