Are you constantly brooding over the past? You might have ‘rearview mirror syndrome’

Rearview mirror syndrome is not an actual medical diagnosis, but a term – used by all sorts of wellness practitioners – given to someone who consistently looks to their past as a guide for their future. Moving into uncharted territory can create intense anxiety and stir up old feelings of low self-confidence and often, we end up turning down incredible opportunities because of this anxiety, and stick to our comfort zone.

So, what is actually going on here? Why, when we are so capable, can’t we seem to overcome our past experiences and look towards the future? We have free will after all, so why don’t we seem to be using it?

Louise Rumball, founder of pioneering next-generation therapy OPENHOUSE and the OPENHOUSE Podcast, explains: “We can view consciousness as three distinct levels: the conscious mind, the subconscious (or preconscious) mind, and the unconscious mind. 

“We are actually only acting from our conscious mind, approximately 5-10% of the time. 90-95% of our life is actually directed by our subconscious mind. It is thought that this subconscious mind is 30,000 times more powerful than the conscious mind.”

This goes some way to explaining exactly what you’re up against when trying to override the decisions and beliefs being created by your subconscious mind.

“Your conscious mind uses willpower to control day to day behaviours, habits and beliefs but the conscious mind is no match against the power and influence of your subconscious. The subconscious runs in the background constantly,” says Louise.

But before you start cursing your subconscious mind, it’s actually trying to do you a favour – it’s just misjudging things a bit.

“Ultimately, the subconscious mind is trying to keep you safe and in your comfort zone – but often can really hold you back. The reason for that is because sometimes, keeping you safe, is akin to keeping you close to what you know – and what you know, isn’t always positive,” Louise tells GLAMOUR.

“Every single stimulus we come into contact with is compared against what we have experienced and logged previously. If we had a bad experience – the subconscious mind logs this. In every moment of every day, the subconscious mind is assessing what is going on around us and is communicating to the conscious mind if it needs to be alerted of something.”

So the question is, how can we start to overcome this process and take back control in our lives to ensure we are the happiest, most fulfilled we can possibly be?

Louise explains, “Overriding the subconscious mind is hard because of how powerful it is. However, it is possible to release and rewire your subconscious mind once you have a conscious understanding of it. There are types of therapy that can give you a ‘subconscious rewire and reset’ – they are based on a kinaesthetic muscle testing experience, where a qualified practitioner taps into your etheric energy field and essentially talks to your subconscious mind. By doing this, you can work out what beliefs you are holding.”

However, if you’re keen to start taking action straight away, here is an exercise you can walk yourself through:

  • Whenever any feeling or emotion comes up – first ask yourself, what am I feeling? Why do I think I am feeling like this? What might be driving this?
  • Try and step back from the emotional reaction – and understand that emotion is just ‘energy in motion’ – which is coming from somewhere deeper
  • Knowing that your body is just wired to protect you – even when it feels like it’s really causing you a lot of problems – actually helps you to be more compassionate to the frustrating thoughts, feelings and experiences that you are experiencing.