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Thinking about the past with the intention of learning from life experiences to forge a better path or become a better person is a good idea. But most people don’t think back on their past with that mindset.
Instead, they dwell on the past and all the mistakes that they made. Or they think about how their life used to be and they compare it to now and feel like they’ve been short-changed.
Either way, it’s a way to cause stress. Thinking about the past can cause you to age rapidly. Living in the past leads to recriminations, self-doubt and blame. That causes emotional turmoil such as anxiety.
You end up shortening your lifespan because the emotional stress affects the DNA that determines the length of your life. People who dwell on the past end up stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts.
Along with that, they’re recalling negative emotions and they’re reliving how they felt about those past situations or the people in their past. It can become a cycle that keeps you stuck and when you’re stuck, you don’t heal and you aren’t able to move on and let go to embrace peace.
You shouldn’t ignore emotional pain. But viewing things that bothered you just to think about them without taking action, such as seeking therapy or forgiving yourself or someone else, just causes a lot of stress.
It’s not beneficial at all. Studies show that dwelling on the past and ignoring the wounded emotions from the past have the same effect on your aging process. Control your thoughts about the past and when a negative emotion connected to the past arises that causes you stress, deal with it and let it go.
It’s the same thing with future thinking. You might not have a problem dwelling on the past but instead, you think about the future. You might feel anxiety about what’s going to happen to you physically.
As you grow older, you may worry about your health and whether or not you’ll get a disease. You might worry about death. This type of thinking only causes stress. You might worry about your future job, your relationships or you might fear the unknown.
While it’s normal to have thoughts about the future, allowing your thoughts to live there is unhealthy emotionally and physically because it causes mental stress and that ages you.
To stop the rapid aging, you need to learn to stay in the present. You can do this by being mindful. Don’t let thoughts of the past have dominance in your mind and don’t spend your days worrying about what hasn’t happened yet. Live for today, welcoming and being aware of each moment. Let your thoughts and emotions concentrate on what your life is now rather than what it was or what it will be.