As we start a new year, it’s beneficial to heal the baggage from the past. You don’t want things to build up and then drag them along throughout life. However, it doesn’t need to be this way.
With a little time and effort, you can heal harmful subconscious memories on your own.
Luckily, there are things you can do to reprogram how you relate to those past situations. So, let’s get into it.
Here are some proven techniques to heal from the past:
1. Understand that you are not alone
I’ve been through some unbelievably horrendous times in my life. Plus, everyone I knew couldn’t relate. When I would tell therapists, they’d break down in tears and that’s not much help. I felt completely alone.
But, my readers tell me their stories and some are much more traumatic than mine. The thing is, people, hide these stories from others.
Often those who seem to have the most perfect lives are hiding darkness you’ll never know. Trust me, no matter what painful experience you’ve had, you aren’t alone.
2. Stop imagining how everything in life “should” be
If you want endless misery, then keep believing your life should have turned out differently. When we were all growing up we created these ideas of how things should be. For instance, you may have thought that friends shouldn’t move away, people shouldn’t die, accidents never happen, marriages last forever, or evil doesn’t exist. But that’s not reality.
Life doesn’t conform to how we think it should be, so it’s better to not waste our time building false hope.
Instead, start seeing your life as being exactly as it is. It’s just a stepping stone to the next phase and you’re going to make it amazing.
3. Heal in nature
There’s something deeply therapeutic about being in nature. Humans have detached from their connection with nature and it’s causing anxiety and stress. So, take a walk at a nearby park or lake and just be with yourself and your thoughts. Savor the scenic views and be thankful you’re alive to experience such beauty.
4. Heal by helping others
You know that feeling you get right after you help someone? It’s invigorating! Furthermore, that energy stays with you because you start seeing yourself in a new light. Now you’re becoming a more honorable and dignified person than ever before.
Contributing your abilities, knowledge, or time helps society run more smoothly. So, don’t keep taking from everyone, start giving back what they deserve. Think about what you could do for someone who’s suffering.
5. Work it out
One of the best ways to release negative emotions is to exercise. Avoid keeping all your energy pent up or dwelling on the worst times in your life because you’ll feel miserable! So, put that energy to good use and move your body till you’re too worn out to worry.
6. Absorb positivity and cut out the doomscrolling
Focus more on positivity instead of reading fear-mongering and hate-breeding posts on social media or the news. Take a break from it. It sounds strange but those anger-inducing headlines are addictive and nothing good comes from them. You are better off without them.
So, make it a point to wean off of it day by day. Each day consume less and less until you’re free. Let people know you won’t be on that platform anymore because you’re focused elsewhere.
Replace it with an exciting project, hobby, or goal. Then put all your energy into it.
7. Take a nap
When your thoughts take a nose dive into the abyss, it can mean you need a break. So, get into some comfortable sleeping clothes and take a nap. An overworked, tired brain is an unhappy brain. You might find that you feel so much better after a nice nap.
8. Desensitize yourself to heal the pain
Typically, people try to heal the effects of difficult times by self-medicating. They feel better for a short while but it soon fades. Unfortunately, they continue doing it for a brief escape from their torment. But, this eventually causes even more problems and the cycle continues to worsen.
It’s normal to try and pretend the pain isn’t there but, doing that causes you to internalize all those emotions. Then it becomes massive and more difficult to heal.
So, you need to be brave, and look it in the face. Don’t hide, stare at it, remember what happened. But, detach emotionally and don’t judge the situation. That person isn’t you anymore, you are safe now.
Repeatedly, talking about and journaling about things in my past, made them not hurt anymore. I’ve separated myself from the past and I’ve healed from it. But if I hid from it the whole time, I’d probably be a mess!
So, don’t hide or cover it up anymore, talk to yourself about it, write about it, and talk to therapists about it. It doesn’t even matter if they know what to say back, the fact that you relived it again and explained it lessens its hold on you.
9. Heal through laughter
Don’t take life too seriously, especially the past. When you can laugh at life, it no longer has power over you.
Besides, laughing is reenergizing, mood-enhancing, and therapeutic. Plus, it’s free.
So, stop leaning into negativity on the news or social media and watch a sitcom or a funny movie instead. Or call up a hilarious friend.
10. Fix up your space
Rearranging furniture and organizing your things will do wonders for your mental health. So, do yourself a favor and make your environment more pleasing to you.
Instead, do something for yourself. You could clean up your environment or get some artwork to instantly rejuvenate your home or office. Having a clean, organized place to be is soothing to the mind. Whereas a cluttered mess creates chaotic thinking.
In short, you can heal from your past no matter how disturbing it was. However, if you’re dealing with a mountain of painful thoughts, gather the courage to chat with a therapist. It doesn’t mean you’re crazy, it means you’re human and you have feelings. Don’t wait till it’s too much to handle and chat with one of these free online therapists.
Each experience is unique, so embrace yours so you can heal.