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Get Rid of the Ghosts

One common challenge to managing mind traffic is keeping ghosts of the past at bay. No matter how hard we try to stay in the moment, our attention often wanders back to the past. For clearer thinking, you've got to become a ghostbuster.

  • Jot down on the top of a card: "I wonder why ...[somebody did something]." List as many possible answers as you can in sixty seconds. Finish with a "letting go" statement, such as "Whatever the reason, it's done — time to move on." Rip up the card, and if the thought returns, try repeating your letting go statement.
  • On another card write: "I wish I'd said...[the brilliant response you thought of later]." Now, either follow up on the earlier interaction with your new response, or save the new comment for a future interaction.
  • On a third card, write: "In hindsight, I didn't make the best choice when I decided to [whatever behavior you now regret]." Write as many regrets as surface in sixty seconds. Review your list, and shift your attention to decisions you now face. If your mind wanders back, try repeating something like: "That was then; this is now. I've got bigger fish to fry." Then bring your focus back to the present.
Carrying around thoughts of the past is a problem of sheer volume. Clean out your mind clutter so you can see what's best for you next.
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A series of "quick-lifts" excerpted from Recharge in Minutes, ©2003, by Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D.

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