Rumination, (thinking deeply about the same thing over and over again) is helpful in the sense that it reminds you of some unresolved issue. However, rumination can be detrimental to your wellbeing because it inhibits you from letting go and healing. Picking at the same old wound will never allow it to heal. Replaying the same old story in your head will keep you stuck like a CD with a scratch on it. You can’t move forward and grow if your mind is stuck on what happened two years ago. Letting go of the story in your head will allow you to begin to unburden yourself and become free of limiting thoughts that keep causing you pain in the present moment.
It can be hard to let go of the story in our head when we have become so identified with it. It is like a little piece of us. We think something like, “I will never forget the mean comment Jane made about me.” And then you keep thinking about Jane and her comment over and over again because you have chosen to commit to the thought that “I will never forget the mean comment Jane made about me.”
Holding on to the mean comment Jane made about you is not in any way serving you in a positive manner. What good is it doing to your mind, body, heart and overall wellbeing? None.
So how do we let go of our limiting thoughts?
Practice non-attachment. When a repetitive thought comes to your mind, don’t feed the thought. Don’t become identified with it. Allow it to just pass through you. The thought will die if you do not feed it further energy. If you let the thought pass through you like a cloud or the wind, it’ll just pass without affecting you. Recognize that you are not your thoughts – you have thoughts, but you are not the thoughts. You are the awareness of your thoughts. Use your awareness to shine light on repetitive thoughts and realize “Oh, hey, there goes that bad thought again. I will just let it pass because this thought is not who I am.”
You can also practice meditation, which is getting the mind to become totally still. It quiets the analytical voice that is always playing in your head. You don’t have to meditate for long periods at a time. Even 10 seconds can help you become still. Start small. Focus on your breath. Breathing deeply calms your heart rate and brings your body to a state of relaxation. You can do this anywhere at any time. We all have at least 10 seconds to dedicate to our wellbeing.
Practice affirming rituals that remind you of who you are. When repetitive thoughts arise, interrupt them with affirming thoughts like:
I am consciousness.
I am in control of my thoughts.
I let go of old limiting thoughts.
I let go of painful memories.
I release all that does not serve me.
I am free.
You can repeat that to yourself like a mantra as many times as necessary until your mind becomes refocused on the truth of who you really are! You are life itself. You are not a scratched CD. You are not a song on replay. You are not your memories. You have memories, but underneath those memories you are pure consciousness first.
May you find peace in letting go.