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How to break free from your past

February 1, 2011

What Experts Say …

“An interpretation, a memory, or a thought intervenes and governs what emotion ensues…it is the key to escaping the dogmas that have made so many people prisoners of their past.” (Psychologist Martin E.P. Seligman in his book Authentic Happiness)

In Other Words …

It is not our emotions themselves that put us on a downward spiral; it is our thoughts and our memories. The way we remember things is not set in stone. We can reshape how we remember and think about things by finding the positive things that came out of it. Maybe something that we have looked at as negative taught us something important or opened up new opportunities for us that we wouldn’t have otherwise have experienced. When we learn to retrain our thinking, we are set free from the things that held us in the past, and the road to a brighter future stretches out before us.

How this Applies to You …

Find ways to transform your negative emotions by stopping and taking a look at the thoughts that are causing those emotions. If your thoughts are negative, then your emotions will be as well. When you discover positive ways of looking at things and savor those positive thoughts when you find them, then your emotions will become more positive as well.

To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free!) program on improving your personal well-being, check out The Personal Journey or Managing Stress at www.arfamilies.org.

For more in-depth reading we recommend Authentic Happiness by Martin E.P. Seligman or Positivity by Barbara L. Fredrickson.

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