If you’ve dabbled in mindfulness, you know about the power of presence. This practice of paying attention to the present moment, rather than ruminating about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow, can bring peace of mind. But looking back on the past doesn’t have to bog you down. In fact, doing so strategically may boost your well-being. It’s all about what you choose to remember. In a recent study, researchers divided young people into four groups and had each recall a particular type of memory, along with the thoughts and feelings that surround it. Those who recalled a “problem-solving memory” — an experience of coping well with a challenge — or an event that shaped their identity showed improved well-being after the experiment, along with increased feelings of competence and meaning in life. Those who recalled events that involved conflict or regret, or just any memory that came to mind, had no such improvement. Rather than dwelling on disappointments, make a practice of occasionally recalling positive memories, either in your journal or by sharing with a trusted friend or family member. Memory lane can be a powerful path to greater happiness, if you walk it with intention.
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.” Willie Nelson