A wise princess once sang: let it go, let it go. And she was right! What would life without Elsa from Frozen look like? We can’t even imagine it anymore. Holding on to years of emotional baggage is exhausting to say the least. There is a reason why we say emotional baggage. It prevents you from moving forward with your life. It is as if something is physically pulling you backwards. Is there even way to let go of our issues without spending half of your earnings on therapy? Luckily there is!
We collect a lot of things throughout our lives. The same is true for emotional experiences. And just like we clean our apartments (from time to time at least), our minds need regular cleaning too. Probably more often than the apartment. We're all kind of stuck in our own head, so we'd better make sure it’s a nice place to be.
What should we let go of? Firstly, it’s all negative emotions such as hate, jealousy, anger or sadness. You know the feeling of being completely tired, not being able to think or even move, yet when you try to fall asleep your body cannot rest. That’s because you’re not tired physically but emotionally. While feeling sad or angry is natural, keeping the negative emotions inside yourself for longer periods of time will lead to emotional destruction.
Secondly, you might want to let go of thinking patterns that no longer serve you or flat out hold you back. This can be fear, anxiety or shame. Constantly telling yourself you’re not good enough, not pretty enough or not smart enough are statements, which definitely do not belong inside of a happy and confident mind.
How can you let go of negative emotions and old thinking patterns?
1. Identify what you want to let go of The first and most important thing is to take some time and think about what it is you want to let go of. Find a quiet place, sit in silence or listen to some relaxing music and allow yourself to think. For some it might also work if you write your thoughts down on a piece of paper.
2. Ask yourself why you are feeling what you’re feeling We feel the things we feel for a reason. Identifying our own emotions and looking at why we are experiencing them will bring you one step closer to emotional freedom.
3. Ask yourself why you want to let go After you’ve decided about what to let go of, ask yourself why. Giving yourself reasons will help in convincing yourself that letting go is the right choice. And it will also solidify your intentions behind wanting to let go. It gives you a goal you can work towards. For example, the reason for wanting to let go of sadness could be your desire to improve your relationships and enjoy happy moments with your loved ones.
4. Acknowledge and accept your emotions Express what you’re feeling through talking, writing or even physical movement and accept your current mental state. Focus on what is and give yourself permission to be where you are now. Reliving your memories from the past and feeling sad or angry will only keep you from moving on. Acknowledge your feelings, express them and physically change the activity you’re doing. Distract yourself with something enjoyable. An important part of letting go and moving on is making new memories and experiencing life in the present moment.
5. Observe yourself if the thoughts return In the long-term the negative thoughts or emotions are likely to come back. That is why returning to step number four and checking in with yourself will be crucial in keeping a clutter-free mind. The good news is at this point you’ve done most of the work already! Follow the steps of identification, acceptance and distraction to become fully present again.
By living with negative emotions we only end up hurting ourselves. Anger, hate or fear prevent you from living your life to the fullest and simply kill your potential. Keeping your mind clean of the negative will give you mental space for more love, creativity and peace of mind. It is like taking the weeds out from a garden. After you do the work, the garden begins to bloom. So yes, Elsa was right. It is good to let go sometimes. Letting go brings us one step closer to our very own happily ever after.
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