I’m Nostalgic; But How Can I Stop Looking Back?

Last updated by Katie M.

Whenever I have trouble sleeping, whenever I’m bored or whenever my thoughts wander, it’s not uncommon for me to find myself reliving my childhood vacations, or a delightful weekend in bed or even my wedding day. Sometimes I even shed a tear thinking about these moments in my past… Yes, I’m nostalgic, and I love revisiting memories, but that has to stop! Discover the steps to put in place if you want to live in the present!

I’m Nostalgic; But How Can I Stop Looking Back?

Why should you stop being nostalgic?

One day I went to see a psychologist, who told me that I never live in the present. Either I was anxious about an imagined future, or I was living in an idealized version of the past. The fact that she spoke about an “idealized version of the past” made me realize that I was living off often magnified memories, that I was nostalgic and that these nostalgic experiences were preventing me from seeing the reality and living in the present. It’s certainly very hard to be happy and make the most of what we have now when we live in the past. So I decided to stop looking back at fond memories and to seize the present moment.

>>> Find out how to start afresh with our tips

Nostalgia or memories?

First, it’s important to understand why feeling nostalgic can be harmful. Nostalgia is not just a memory that warms your heart or makes you nauseous, it’s regret, a lack of something and also a feeling of emptiness next to an often glorified memory.

When you feel nostalgic, how can you stop living in the past?

Nostalgia makes us stand still and prevents us from evolving. It can even lead to depression if we start dwelling on painful, shameful or sad events from our past.

1. Be honest with yourself

If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably taken that first step to being objective and honest with yourself, realizing that you have a problem and that you live in the past. If you spend your evenings talking about your school days, watching films from the 80s or if you still cry over the class photos you lost, you’re probably prone to revisiting nostalgic memories.

2. Remain in the present

The idea isn’t to completely forget your past, but to not let it affect you. Your past must shape you and not act as a protective cocoon. Accept the person you are today and the life you have. This is also how you will manage to construct projects for your future. Stop admiring the image you have of yourself, who you were before. Get to know yourself now.

3. Do something you’re proud of

Nostalgia often goes hand-in-hand with a lack of self-confidenceTo counter this, you must try to regain confidence by bringing your talents to the fore. Don’t look for other people’s approval or worry about what they think, just do something you really know how to do, something you have a talent for. It doesn’t matter if it’s something you think is unimportant. If you know how to wash windows like no one else or if you always win music quizzes, do it! It will give you strength.

Editor’s note – I don’t know who I am anymore

Once you gradually let go of these idyllic images of the past, you may find yourself feeling rather empty and no longer really able to define yourself. A small coaching exercise involves asking your close ones to list 10 of your qualities. You will then be able to see yourself through their eyes and draw the outline of your personality free from nostalgia.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


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Thank you, the third point is actually inspiring! I agree that being nostalgic, especially on past regrets for too long can lead to depression, we have to live in the present, which is hard to do than say but by being confident I think it can make an impact! Thanks for sharing!

Wow!!! Thanks I was stuck for 10yrs now rethinking my past I felt I wasted 10yrs of my life...thanks for the info

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