When you experience loss it’s easy to fall into the trap of reminiscing on what has been and what you have lost. It’s a part of the human experience – we develop memories for a reason and when all that we have left is memories – our disposition changes dramatically.
It takes a deliberate shift in your perception to accept what has been is in the past and to focus on your new reality. Because, the life we live is merely our consciousness and what we perceive to be true. Nothing is set in stone. Nothing is anything unless we consciously perceive it. But that’s a topic for another day.
Research has demonstrated that people who ruminate or catastrophize after an adverse event are more likely to develop depression, anxiety, report higher pain, and have higher blood presser than those who do not.
- think deeply about something.
“we sat ruminating on the nature of existence”
- view or present a situation as considerably worse than it actually is.
“traumatic experiences can predispose people to catastrophize”
So how do you ensure that you don’t get caught up on what has been, what might have been, or what should have been? Sure, it’s a decision but it’s also so much more than that.
Catastrophizing can affect your entire outlook on life, work, relationships, and yourself. This in turn can cause depression from the irrational and negative beliefs and anxiety by worrying about the future.
The first hurdle to overcome is to recognise when you’re doing this and once you have identified the thoughts, actively try and change them. Following guidelines of Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) can have profound effects on your thoughts and how you view them.
Accepting that your thoughts are merely that and don’t hold any value or truth in them can be exponentially positive.
I like to view them like clouds. Some days there are a lot of white, fluffy clouds and others there are gloomy, dark clouds – most days there are a mixture of the two. But they all pass through the sky, like thoughts pass through your mind.
The same goes with rumination. The more we think about something the more power we are giving it to have an effect on us.
Accepting that what has been is in the past and bringing your mind to the now can be the most liberating experience when you’ve lost something important to you. You are only given this moment. No moment in the future is guaranteed so why worry about what might happen?
I’ve lost something special to me. Something I thought I would have a lot more time with but that just isn’t the case.
All I have is me and now. So focusing on that is the way forward.