I was talking to a friend the other day, and he mentioned that his sister was high school royalty. You know, the kind that gets voted in, rides in floats and represents your cities at fairs. Which is cool, except it was over 45 years ago and she still talks about it on the daily. So with no judgement to her or her crown, it got me thinking about the effect of living in the past and what that does to the present tense. How does the body, the mind and the emotions react when you are stuck in a certain time, especially when that time is remembered as the pinnacle of happiness to which all other things are measured.
I get it, it’s easy to hang on to the thought of a thinner, younger version of yourself, maybe where you felt more successful and loved. But the reality is, by living in the past, and hanging on to the “better times” we can subject ourselves to these potential physical and emotional hazards:
* muscle tension
* Digestive issues (think “holding on to your shit”;)
* Onset of disease ( stagnant waters breed disease, so stagnant thoughts and emotions that don’t move make a space for mystery illnesses to take hold) * Circulation issues
* Missed opportunities in relationships, money, business, etc
As of late, we may hear a lot about mental health like anxiety and depression, but what you don’t always hear about is the physical manifestations of those or what feed those. Think of it this way, if you were driving in reverse, all the time, having to use just your mirrors or rely on shoulder checking, eventually you would end up with inadequacies in muscles, tension and pain. Metaphorically your body does the same if you are constantly looking back at once was. It will long for a time that it was younger, agile, stronger, leaner and feel like it is letting you down. What happens when you feel like you are constantly disappointing someone? Thats right, you give up. Systems check out and disease starts to find foot holds.
So what’s “the fix”? The short answer is you. No one can tell you to get out of your head and stop living back in the past. But you can make incremental changes to WANT to start living present. In doing so your body will reset, and readjust to the present, allowing your systems to realign to the everyday workings. You can’t stop time and trying to do so will harm the physical functions of reality. Here are some ideas to propel your body and mind forward:
* set a goal for a physical achievement : (run a race, enter a competition, train with a coach)
* Join a local sports or beer league team
* Take a course in a subject you know nothing about (nothing gets you unstuck faster than learning a completely new pathway)
* Meet with a nutrition coach
* Take a cooking class
* Sign up for a dating site (only if single please)
* Get vulnerable (this may take time), tell a friend and find others who feel like they may be stuck. Start a group and meet once a month. I’ve seen this done and the socials have been incredible.
* Volunteer (no better way to treat loneliness than to combat it with purpose)
We all love memories and reminiscing can be a great past time. But attaching yourself to these leads to some dangerous pathways, particularly, avoidance. Staying in the past could mean that you are missing new opportunities, experiences and not dealing with current issues. Ergo, your mind will build some pretty solid cases in a short amount of time as to why this is a good idea, mostly because it wants to protect you from danger. Nice guy. What’s not so nice is that you damage relationships and miss out on the current world.
So if you find yourself introducing yourself as the guy who won the championship in 1974, and it’s 2019, it may be time to update to the 2.0 version so that your systems can do a full sweep and keep you functioning long into the future.