I have always been focussed on my endeavours and have enjoyed the fruit they bear. However, at present I find myself sulking over my past mistakes and worrying about the future. How can a person my age be stress-free and passionate about the things at hand, without being bogged down by the horrors of the past?Abhishek Bansal, 24 years, Delhi¦ Dear Abhishek, Without knowing the past actions you regret, I will have to be general about your situation. The fact that you choose a drastic word like ‘horrors’ sounds very dramatic, and it implies that you have a dramatic view of your life. Unless you are guilty of some serious wrongdoing, you are probably caught up in leaving your post-adolescent self and coming to terms with adulthood.That’s a good sign, and you will be going through the process for a while. As for past mistakes, of course, you know that everyone has them. You might seek out an older person you trust and confide your worries. A sound adult perspective will help. When you speak of constant worry, however, this implies a present situation that needs handling, and again, you need sympathetic adult advice if this is the case. Otherwise, the residue of guilt, shame, or anxiety from the past is known psychologically as emotional debt. In other words, the past is coming back to haunt the present. When such thoughts occur, don’t push them away or, at the other extreme, allow them to fester. Sit quietly with eyes closed and take a few deep breaths. When you feel calmer, breathe normally and let the thought be in your mind. Vividly see what the thought is, then quietly say to yourself, “I am not that person I once was. I do not need this thought.” If the thought persists, sit and let it fade of its own accord. Repeat the process two or three times if necessary.If you develop the habit of dealing with your past in this way, you will bring yourself back into the present, which is the only real-time, the time where life takes place. Try this for a few weeks. If you don’t see improvement, find a good counsellor or therapist to talk to.Deepak Chopra
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