When You Start To Let Go Of The Past, These 10 Things Will Happen

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Living in the past is a dangerous habit. Whether it’s wallowing in regret and resentment over unfortunate events or reminiscing over fond memories while ignoring what’s happening right in front of you, living in the past can have a number of negative effects on your emotional health. With a little coaxing, however, you can break this habit and start experiencing these 10 changes.

1. You’ll Feel Less Anxiety

Clinging to the past makes you worry about every decision you’ve ever made, and that leads to a lot of anxiety. Whether you’re questioning something you did or wondering whether you made a mistake or holding a grudge over something someone else did, you’re stressing yourself out. Letting go of all that emotional baggage will make you feel lighter.

2. You’ll Make Decisions More Easily

When you make the decision to let things go, you open yourself up to making decisions about the future without worrying about whether you’ll regret them or not.

3. You’ll Live In The Present

Living in the past makes you ignore what’s going on right in front of you, which can all too often lead to regret over missed opportunities. Even if you’re reveling in wonderful old memories, you could be putting up a roadblock on the way to your present happiness.

4. You Can Focus On The Future

Thinking about the past doesn’t always have to be a negative thing; there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy nostalgia. But if you’re obsessing over how much fun you used to have or constantly wishing you were with old friends instead of the ones you have now, you’re denying yourself the opportunity to make new memories and to look forward to all the great possibilities that the future holds.

5. You’ll Be More Forgiving

Letting go of things is a habit; once it’s been cultivated, it becomes more and more automatic. When you learn how to forgive and forget other people and yourself when it comes to the past, you’ll start doing it more often in the present, too.

6. You’ll Be Less Judgmental

It’s easy to judge other people when you’re constantly judging yourself, but once you stop criticizing yourself for past mistakes, it becomes easier to lighten up on others, too.

7. You’ll Accept Things More Easily

Once you get used to letting go of the past, it becomes second nature to let things slide off you instead of letting them take root in your brain and spend the next five years there. After you’ve trained yourself to stop worrying about the past, you’ll be much better at rolling with the punches.

8. You’ll Have More Power

When you focus on the things you can do now rather than the things you did or didn’t do in the past, you feel more in control and in charge of your own life. Instead of letting regrets and “what-ifs” weigh you down, you can more easily accept things as they are without dwelling on the past.

9. You’ll Stop Blaming Others

It’s easy to blame others for past hurts and failures, but that doesn’t really accomplish anything. “The world largely doesn’t care, so you need to get over yourself. Yes, you’re special. Yes, your feelings matter. But don’t confuse with ‘your feelings matter’ [with] ‘your feelings should override all else, and nothing else matters.’ Your feelings are just one part of this large thing we call life, which is all interwoven and complex,” writes Dr. John M. Grohol on PsychCentral. When you stop focusing only on how other people have screwed you over and start thinking about how you can take charge and make yourself happy, you’re far more likely to actually feel happier instead of continuing to wallow in bitterness.

10. Your Health Will Improve

“When… anxiety dissipates, the physical benefits happen within seconds,” Dr. Pam Peeke tells Woman’s Day. “Your heart rate drops, as does your blood pressure, and every system of your body that was reacting to the overproduction of stress hormones relaxes.” Do your body a favor and stop agonizing over every little thing; you’ll feel physically, mentally and emotionally better.