How To Stop Overthinking Or Dwelling On Past Mistakes

how to stop overthinking past mistakes

I am going to be a little bit self-indulgent when I talk about how to stop overthinking past mistakes.

I went for a walk while I was in a really bad mood last week.

There were a lot of things going on in my life. And a lot of things didn’t feel like they were going well.

And for some reason, when I’m in a bad mood, my brain likes to compound my misery and remind me of past mistakes I’ve made, or regrets I have about those mistakes and the missed opportunities I may have had as a result.

Walking Outside Can Help Clear Your Head

Fortunately for me, being on a long walk outside is usually the best place for me to be when I’m having this mood, I guess you would call it.

I’m away from other people.

I’m away from distractions.

I’m not away from my phone, but my phone is in flight mode, so I can’t really be contacted and I’m not looking at a screen.

It’s literally just me and my thoughts. So here’s what happened on this walk.

Walking Epiphany

So here is what happened on this walk.

I was in a bad mood anyway.

And then I went on my walk and I started for some reason, thinking about a business I was involved in a few years ago.

It wasn’t my business, but I did a lot of the work behind the scenes. And under the right leadership, that business would have taken off and probably been worth six or seven figures.

Unfortunately, it was under the leadership of someone who’s probably a very toxic individual who at the time was a very close friend.

I’m quite stoic about that. I don’t hold any ill will towards this person, which did take a lot of time and thought and work on my part to get to that point.

But at the same time, I’ll still keep my boundaries up so I’m not in contact with this person and I don’t want to be in contact with this person.

Anyways, I thought about all the time and energy that I had invested into this business – putting systems in place, helping it stabilise and become profitable.

And then I also thought about what I could have been doing instead that I neglected at the time for the sake of this business and where those things might’ve gotten to or where that might’ve taken me.

And I started to get a bit angry, which of course doesn’t help the mood that I was already in.

But then I started to compare where I could have been with where I am now.

Looking For Positives From Mistakes

The skills I learned and developed from that role helped me get both my previous job and the one I’m in now.

And I loved my previous job and I love my current job even more.

I was into my fitness before, but becoming involved in this business made me become really passionate about it, which lit the fire for me to qualify as a personal trainer, which eventually led me down the road to start this blog.

So this is where I am now.

When I think about it that way, yes, my life would have been very different had things panned out differently with this business. But that doesn’t mean it would have necessarily been better.

And that’s the point I really want to emphasise here.

Rose-Tinted View

When we dwell on mistakes or regrets or missed opportunities, we often focus on things that could have been. And hindsight heavily influences our view here. So we tend to focus a lot more on what could have been but only in a positive way.

And when you do that, you’re making big assumptions that everything would have gone to plan or everything would have gone how you wanted it to.

And it becomes very easy to forget about the good things that have happened since that mistake or since that so-called mistake.

A really good example is that hypothetically I could have built up that business and we made it very profitable. Then it could’ve gone under with COVID anyway, and I could be unemployed or on the street right now.

Enjoy The Path You Ended Up On

I’ve met some great people and had some great adventures as a result of the path my life took since that so-called mistake.

And if I’m honest, the good that has happened since then has massively outweighed the bad

And then suddenly I stopped getting angry about that mistake. And then I also wasn’t in a bad mood anymore, either.

All of this happened in the course of one walk on one grey rainy day last week.

I’ve talked before about how walking outside helps me a lot with my mental health. And now you can kind of see why.

So I’ll stop being self-indulgent. I’m going to try asking you this.

Ask Yourself This To Stop Overthinking Past Mistakes

I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist or therapist or any of those. I’m just a guy who’s made, come to terms with, and learned from a lot of his own mistakes.

But I want you to think about some mistakes that you may have made before and any feelings of resentment or regret as a result of them.

And I want you to try and trace the journey your life has taken since the point of that mistake.

And then maybe about the good things that have happened in your life since the path you ended up on. And then about the good things that have happened in your life since you ended up on that path.

And then maybe that mistake will stop feeling like something to regret. And you might start to see it as what was the starting point for something even better.

how to stop overthinking past mistakes

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