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How can I stop repeating scenarios in my mind to figure out what I could have done better?

14 Answers
Last Updated: 05/29/2018 at 8:17am
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Jui Shankar, Ph.D


My worldview offers a systems perspective that values diverse clients and their struggles. I believe supportive and nonjudgmental therapeutic relationships empower clients.

Top Rated Answers
March 9th, 2015 1:18am
Probably recognizing the fact that we cannot go back into that moment and change things but just remember what we would have done differently and apply it to a future situation.
April 13th, 2015 6:29am
The problem with this is simply understanding the situation that happened. If you keep replaying it in your mind it simply means you don't confidence in what you said. But the point to understand with this is everything happened for a reason. You chose to say what you said for a very specific reason and your mind, at the time, thought it was the best route at the time. It wasn't until after the situation happened that you thought of the other possible routes.
December 12th, 2017 10:09am
'Could-have-done-better' is PAST. But the past is already gone. Have a post-it, or a note written on a paper, and keep it handy to read it as often as possible. The note being - "No matter how many times I repeat scenarios, I cannot change the past. So let me, for once and all, take a learning from what all I could have done to make things better, and start/try to do all such possible things in the present, or even use the learning from them, to put as an input to my future endeavours" Keep Smiling :)
May 18th, 2015 7:56am
Accepting the fact that they've already happened and moving on. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference."
June 8th, 2015 2:49am
its a habit, and habits take around 3 weeks to break, so make a new habit, when you can feel yourelf doing it, do something else, go for a run, walk the dog, sing a song, take a shower. eventually you'll break the habit
September 25th, 2015 1:31pm
You can stop repeating scenarios in your mind to figure out what you could have done better by telling a close friend how you truly feel. They will understand. I promise.
October 26th, 2015 10:53am
Keeping bogged up thoughts in your mind and trying to process them chronologically can be very challenging. A good solution to make sense of what you could have done better is to write out your thoughts :) like a diary. This will definitely help you have a clearer train of thought.
October 27th, 2015 12:15pm
I don't think you can. The best thing to do is give that scenario closure. Just wait, try to forget it happened, and go on to a different chapter of your life. Things sort themselves out after a while, and more important things will happen in your life.
November 2nd, 2015 7:00pm
When this happens to me, I try to distract myself. Personally, I either work out, listen to music, cook, etc. It is important to acknowledge what we could have done "better" in situations, however, when we start obsessing about how we have messed up in the past, it prevents us from moving forward.
December 7th, 2015 3:11am
Have compassion for who you were back then. You did what you thought was best with the knowledge you had. If those scenarios didn't happen you would not be able to look back and see how much you have grown.
February 1st, 2016 2:51am
Write down exactly what happened on a physical piece of paper (you can type if you want) write down every little part and then write down all the things you could have done better. It's important to write down every thing you can think of. Just write until you hate words. When you're done fold the paper up very small and tuck it in a cup or a place where you can easily remember it. If you find yourself rehashing the scenario remind yourself that you have already been here and done that and you can leave it behind now. You can even add to the list later. You may be rethinking something over and over because you were unsatisfied with the result. Remember: there is nothing you can do to change the past. Taking time to recognize mistakes is healthy but obsessing over something just wastes your time.
July 26th, 2016 10:20am
Think of the good bits! Focus on what could have gone worse instead of what could have gone better. Try to keep those in mind instead. Maybe some parts of it didn't go very well, but others did and those are the ones you should keep in mind :)
May 15th, 2017 6:21am
One thing that would help is just to go someplace different or hang out with different people and try and do some activity which is totally unrelated to the current thoughts from which you wish to get away. Or you can go watch a movie or read a book on topics those interest you.
May 29th, 2018 8:17am
I think to a small extent, everybody does this a little, but if you find yourself staying up for hours being upset about something, it may be best to talk to a professional about your options.