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How to stop obsessing over the past

Updated on September 16, 2016

This is based on my experience and it is easier said than done especially if you suffer from an anxiety disorder

Do you find yourself obsessing from the past? maybe it was a mistake or something that happened and you cannot get it out of your go over and over the thought in your mind replaying it. A feeling comes over you, that you just have to figure it all out but the truth is you don't have to figure it all out. It is the anxiety taking over. The past is the past. The very essence that you are worrying or feeling bad is the key you have a conscience and are truly a good person who made mistakes just like everyone else on this planet.

Obsessing about something is very tiring if it is causing you guilt, worry or anxiety. It gives you strong emotions that are very real. You have to keep your mind busy on something else no matter how hard it is to go back and obsess . Don't keep replaying or trying to figure it out. You have been over the memory so many times you are simply stuck in a loop, it does more harm than good.

Tell yourself the past is the past and any mistakes you made back then is a part of life and you are a good person otherwise you wouldn't be worrying about it so much. Your anxiety is causing your brain to scan for 'inappropriate' memories even memories so long ago, you even ask yourself how did I think of that?!

The same applies for false memories a common disorder seen in OCD/anxiety. False memories can be made up by your anxiety or can be real memories of certain situations in your life but your anxiety has twisted it and tricked you into thinking what if I did something bad?

I hope this has helped you see some perspective, Also another tip that helps me sometimes is to think of yourself as a friend. Give yourself advice as you would a friend. You would be a lot more kinder to to a friend who had your worries wouldn't you? Always be kind to yourself and forgive.

Quick steps to vanish obsessive thoughts

  1. Realise you are thinking of the thought/event of the past
  2. Do NOT question or try and argue/go over the with the thought. As much as you want to - you are fuelling the ocd and anxiety.
  3. focus on something else (this is hard but keep at it)
  4. watch your anxiety go down
  5. If it comes back keep going with the ignoring. You do NOT need to go over the scenario/thought in your head. It is the anxiety tricking you. It can be very clever.

Do you obsess over the past?

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