5 STEPS TO STOP LETTING PAINFUL MEMORIES CONTROL YOU

I decided to write about this topic because past pain and suffering has been a common factor to me, my clients and my friends lately. I’m one of those deep-thinking people and when I find myself on a painful path I ask myself questions like: “Why am I holding on to something that isn’t relevant to my life anymore?” or “Why can’t I let go of experiences that caused me pain and suffering?” or “Will this pain ever subside?”.

I feel like we get stuck in the past because it’s bloody frightening to step into new territory and experience the uncomfortable feeling of ‘where to from here?’. It’s also hard for some people to be vulnerable. So we hang on to the past – because even if it’s filled with pain, it’s what we are familiar with and it seems easier to live there.

The other reason it’s so difficult to let go of the past has to do with the way we link emotion to information.

For example, think about October 11, 2001. Can you remember that day? No? Now let me ask you this.

Think about September 11, 2001. You can, most probably, remember exactly where you were and who you were with when you heard about the terrorist attack. Right? WHY?! It’s because we can retain information that has emotion attached to it. In this case, it becomes extremely difficult to let go of the past when there is still emotion tied to a memory.

I’m here to tell you that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. You can learn tools to let go and start living a life full of more joy.

1. WRITE IT DOWN.
The first step in letting go of the past is to write down what you would like to achieve and the reason why.

Write this down:
• Why must I move beyond this pain?
• How will my life change for the better once I let go of my suffering?
• How will it change my relationship with…..(spouse/ family / friends/ work colleagues etc. name each of them) ?
• How will you feel in this new chapter of your life if you let go of the pain?

This way you have a purpose and a strong enough reason to keep you motivated and focused.

2. FIGURE IT OUT.
Have you ever thought about how you live your life, emotionally? That’s the next step. Figuring out what your tendencies are.

Your emotions are like a muscle: You can train yourself to feel angry, upset, stressed or even depressed after a tough situation arises. Or, you can train yourself to feel passionate, thankful and strong, even when something bad happens in your life.

When you start to feel a negative emotion creep in, try to cut off the thought immediately by instantly reciting what your a grateful for today. This will become easier with practise! Our emotional habits have an influence on our perspective of the world, how we present ourselves, the language we use and the way we behave.

Don’t settle for a life where you empower the negative emotions and disempower the positive.

3. SORT IT OUT
Make the conscious effort to decide what you allow into your mind and stop any negativity from spreading. Think of negativity like poisonous weeds. As soon as you see one, you must pull it out straight away! No matter who you are or how successful you might be, you must be your mind’s gardener and pull the weeds out the minute the spring up so they don’t ruin your garden. Don’t wait for them to spread.

Read empowering stories. Surround yourself with amazing people who make you better. Practise greatfulness. It’s the small rituals that you do every day that will lead you to massive change because they keep you focusing on the right things.

4. WORK IT OUT
Exercise. Get your body moving. Go to the gym, do a gym class, hire a coach, go for a walk. I can’t stress enough how many benefits of exercise there are. You cannot bottle the goodness into a pill. This is something you should do consistently for the rest of your life.

The feel-good endorphins will help your mood, the feeling of accomplishment will build your self confidence and you will help yourself achieve your goals easier. Start now, like, today.

5. HELP OUT.
Give back to the world. What you give out you will get back. That’s just how the universe works. No matter how broke you may be or how broken you feel, offer a smile a hug or a listening ear to someone in need. Start giving more. Your life will improve dramatically, because you’ll have achieved another level of purpose and meaning in your life. How cool is that?! Your life matters SO much!

Helping others out has a way of motivating you to do more than you ever thought possible. You will feel the benefits immediately. You will become happier. You will become a problem-solver. You will find inner strength when you’re exhausted. And you’ll help yourself walk on a much more gentle, compassionate and self-improving pathway into the future.