How to get back to yourself

Obsessive thoughts and regrets prevent us from leaving the past. And the worries that we project into the future make us look ahead, not allowing us to live in the present. These exercises will help you recognize these mechanisms and then neutralize them. Let’s try?


The endless running of unpleasant thoughts in your head maintains anxiety and deprives you of the ability to rejoice. The conscious ability to live in the moment, on the contrary, allows you to use all your inner resources in the event of a difficult situation. An exercise recommended by cognitive psychologist Denis Moskovchenko will help you get rid of a negative attitude. Do it whenever you feel a strong emotion building up in your soul.

Choose an “anchor” that will tie you to the present moment. The best anchor is your own breath, because it is always with you. But it can be any other physical sensation, such as touching the floor with the feet. Focusing on the “anchor” for a few seconds will keep you in the present and allow a non-judgmental glance at your reactions.

Take an inventory of thoughts, physical sensations, and actions on three points:

  1. What do you think now?
  2. What do you feel in your body?
  3. What are you doing now? What do you want to do?

Ask yourself:

  • Is my reaction consistent with what is happening here and now?
  • Am I reacting based on past experiences or forecasts for the future?

Adjust your reaction to match the present moment.

Here’s an example of how anchoring in the present works. Imagine you are having lunch with a friend. She talks about something important, and you notice that you are more and more irritated. The thoughts are spinning in my head that the boss has set completely impossible deadlines for the delivery of the project. Thoughts jump, but you manage to completely switch to breathing for a few seconds.

Then you do a three-point check. Thoughts: “I will not complete this task in time.” Physical sensations: I start to sweat, muscles are tense. Actions: imagine how I express to the boss everything that I think of him. After that, you come to your senses and understand that now, not in front of the boss, but in a cafe, you cannot solve the problem in any way. Turn your attention to your friend, telling yourself that you will take up your work issues in the afternoon.


This exercise is addressed to those who do not cease to torment themselves with reproaches and regret what has been done, happened and / or ended. In order to part with the past, one must understand what binds to it and what is difficult to give up. That which gives the obsessive thoughts a taste of bitterness and nostalgia can be called loss. Clinical psychologist Yulia Zakharova suggests conducting a small investigation.

Obsessive nostalgic thoughts: we are convinced that it will never be as good as in the past, – pictures of a happy time are constantly scrolling in my head.

Determine exactly what period of life, what events and people cause regret that all this is already in the past. The result obtained will be your loss.

Ask yourself how you would feel if you had the opportunity to go back in time. Write down on paper all the advantages (physical, psychological, material) that you get from the return of what was lost. Then ask yourself what you are missing now. Now put a list of pros and cons in front of you. Ask yourself the question several times: how in real life could you make up for this lack. Write down the different ways you can find what is missing.

Change your perspective. For example, someone, after a serious injury, nostalgically recalls how a couple of weeks ago he easily ran ten kilometers. But if he takes as a starting point not his life before the traumatic incident, but the state immediately after it, the perception will change. “I couldn’t get out of bed then, but now I can not quickly, but I can walk to the store myself.” In this way, we can shift our attention from loss to the opportunities that are available to us in the present.

It’s hard to live on when the past won’t let go

Bitter thoughts: constant regrets and remorse, failures and unresolved conflicts. It’s hard to live on when the past doesn’t let go. Determine which events or people regularly cause negative experiences in you. What emotions awaken in you with such thoughts? (Anger, shame, pain …) What conclusions come to mind at this moment? (“I am a worthless person”, “I have no luck”, “I always make the wrong choice”)

Try to imagine that you don’t have to think about all this anymore. Now you woke up and you don’t care anymore. How would you live then? What would interest you? What would you think about? Feel the joy of being rid of this burden.

Ask yourself now what you could afford. What are the really important things you miss when you are distracted by heavy thoughts about the past? Think about what you can start to change now, without waiting for parting with the past. Write down all the ideas that come to mind, this will speed up the separation from bitter thoughts.


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