Do You Rehash the Past Too Much?

In our worry feature, we identified six types of worriers and asked experts, including a Buddhist psychotherapist and a social-science researcher, to show us how each type can get a handle on their hand-wringing. Is this one you?

Worry Profile: The Rehasher
You ruminate over past conversations and actions ad infinitum. You believe that if you revisit the past enough times, you'll somehow feel better about it. By worrying, you somehow hope to turn off the "Regret" switch. But it never seems to work, so you keep at it.

What's done is done -- and she who tries to change or fix past events by worrying about them will find little relief. Part of the problem may lie in the way you talk to yourself: Negative self-talk can stir up regret, guilt, and self-doubt -- all of which only feeds those ruminations. Do you editorialize your decisions? Do you condemn or chastise, thinking things like, "I always say stupid things like that," or "I should never have gone to that party in the first place." If so, you may want to turn the spotlight on your inner dialogue, which may be the source of worry.

Coping Strategy
Close the Book
Rather than go over and over past events or conversations, Marek suggests writing down what happened, how you acted, and what you'll do differently next time. Note your use of "worry words" -- should, can't, no one, everyone, always, never -- and commit to replacing those words with more realistic terms in the future: could, prefer, can, choose not to, some people, sometimes. The most valuable thing you gain from experience -- good or bad -- is the wisdom to handle things more wisely when that situation arises again. When you're done, close the book on it, once and for all.

Other Types of Worriers: Which One Are You?

The Generalist
The Control Freak
The Fortune-Teller
The Existentialist
The Worldwide Worrier

Psychotherapist and yoga expert Stephen Cope, author of "The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker's Guide to Extraordinary Living"; Dr. Robert Leahy, cognitive psychologist and author of "The Worry Cure: Seven Steps to Stop Worry from Stopping You."

Text by Terri Trespicio; illustrations by Laura Levine

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