How can I quiet my brain?

I dwell on past hurts & situations. I lay awake at night rehashing decades old issues. Some people are dead and fixing is not an option. I need peace.
Asked by FJW
Answered
12/06/2021

First off...thank you for reaching out for answers. Grief and closure of past hurts are not always easy, especially if we are deprived of the opportunities to seek resolution or final words to/from certain people. Suggestions I often offer to clients to help them gain unresolved closure to their loss, past pains, or feelings of guilt, include the following...

1. If you enjoy journaling, I recommend this method for processing your thoughts and emotions surrounding past circumstances and pain. Whether this is done through a written format or through a verbal format on a recording device or app, it makes no difference. It is based on your preferred comfort level.

2. Similar to #1, I recommend drafting a letter to the person(s) you feel there are unresolved feelings or issues. As we never send our 'first draft' of assignments anyway, I recommend never sending these letters. Through writing your thoughts and feelings down with the intent to gain resolve from these nonverbal interactions with the identified parties, this act serves as a form of journaling and can lead to emotional peace (sometimes extremely raw).

Typically when individuals struggle with letting go of past circumstances or pains, there is a lack of overall forgiveness, for whomever it might be intended, even if directed inward. Forgiveness is not easy and is in fact one of the hardest acts of mercy one can perform. It is not the same as 'forgetting' though. We need to learn from our past and grow into our future, and this is not possible if we remain hyper-aware of events from our past; although we do not want the same events occurring again, so we much learn from our experiences. Holding on to these pains only hurts the person bearing the pain; it does not hurt the one who owes the debt of forgiveness. So the sooner we embrace peace for these wrongs, the better off our mental wellness will be and our continued personal growth. If this forgiveness is directed inward, then we are likely battling 'shame,' which is deeper-rooted and changes us to the core. This may require outside assistance in combatting.

(MA, MBA, LPC)