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How To Stop Living In The Past

Mansurat Zakari is a mental health enthusiast and creative writer. Her works cover issues we have to deal with in our daily experiences.

Why The Memory Lingers

Memories of the past are ingrained in our subconscious. Our attachment to these memories are based on the emotions we felt at that time. Studies have shown that people tend to be more attached to sad memories than good memories.

If you find yourself always thinking about a happy situation that happened in the past, it could be a lot less painful compared to reliving painful experiences.

Regardless of what the memory is about, the present is where you should be living in. Most of the time, the reason this happens is because you are not living the current moment the way you should.

Sometimes, trauma has a role to play. Other times, it is the bad habits developed over time that begin to control our lives on our behalf.

Why Do I Constantly Live In The Past?


What Does It Mean To Live In The Past?

You might have realized you are often absent minded or perhaps you have been told that you are always absent. It could be a sign. Just in case you are wondering what it means to live in the past or maybe how you can know you are living in the past? Here are a few ways to find out:

  • You are often absent minded.
  • Things from the current moment can have you locked up in your head.
  • People have told you that you live in your head or you know so.
  • Whenever you are alone, your mind drifts back to event of the past.
  • You have a hard time accepting the past no longer exist except in your head.
  • You long for events that have happened long ago.
  • You wish you can live in your past again.

There are several reasons but these are a few. If you suspect that you are stuck living in your head, try to assess yourself to see if you tick up to four things on the list. Also, a conversation with a trusted friend or a counsellor will let you be sure if this is the case.

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Take Hold Of The Time Life Offers You!


How Do You Overcome Living In The Past?

Give yourself time, treat yourself with love and patience. You will get over this. Here are a few easy ways to overcome living in the past:

  • Dine With Yourself : Give yourself the time you need. Spend time with yourself. I used to spend so much time thinking about the past but spending time with myself helped me get over it. Listen to your emotions. Understand why you are always hung on your past.
  • Caress Your Feelings : Treating yourself with love can never be over-emphatized. Everyone must have had it with your absent mindedness. But remember if you don't love you, who will? Be attentive to your feelings and emotions.
  • Write Out Your Thoughts And Burn Them : An Indian guru once said that writing out your thoughts on a piece of paper helps you store some parts of that memory on the paper. Burning it will help you get over it especially if it was a sad memory.
  • Filter The Good And Let Go Of Your Experience : Trauma makes it difficult to overcome the feeling. While it takes a while and sometimes forever to get over trauma, constant effort to let go of the experience will do you lots of good.
  • Take Control Of Your Life : Depression and chronic sadness could live us developing very bad lifestyles. If you have subconsciously become passive with your life, it's time to take the drivers seat. You have an entire life in your hand with limited time. Make magic of it!
  • Forgive : We all preach forgiveness so much yet the hardest form is forgiving our own selves. You may have let yourself down but love yourself enough to allow you to be human. The grace of being imperfect you often extend to your loved ones, extend it to yourself. You deserve to be imperfect.
  • Accepts Life's Harshness : Life is harsh, we say it every time but we rarely internalize it. The memory you are attached to may have been one where you were vulnerable and unable to help yourself. Gradually, put in the effort and try to let it go. It will be hard but with time, you will be able to write it off.
  • Connect With People : Try to make new friends. Repair your relationship with the old ones. Join circles. Develop new hobbies. Hang out with like minded people.
  • Set Goals : Goal setting works like a magicians trick. Set goals for your life. Set happiness goals, personal development goals, spiritual goals, career goals, parenting goals. Goals could just be the little spark you needed to return to the full time you!

But Live Now!



Seeking a way to stop living in the past is the first step to getting out of your head. Implementing the tips shared will help you get over this. Several people have been stuck in their head at some point in their life so you are not alone. You will be over this sooner than you think.

In what ways has living in the past affected your life? What tip resonated with you the most? How do you intend to implement the tips shared. Looking forward to your comments.

© 2021 Mansurat Zakari


Mansurat Zakari (author) from Nigeria on June 18, 2021:

Thank you for reading Umesh! Your feedback is appreciated.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on June 18, 2021:

Nice article.

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