Along my journey to figure out the problems with my heart, I have received a ton of advice (both good and not-so-good). Recently, an “alternative” medicine specialist I met with told me that holding on to negative feelings and not “letting go” of negativity can have serious health ramifications, and may be a reason my heart is acting up.
The more I think about it, the more I know this must be true. While it may not be the answer to all that ails me, it is worth embarking on a journey toward “letting go”.
Holding on to resentment, painful experiences, or even a bad episode at work leads to pain . If we are not careful, we relive the pain over and over, and have a hard time letting go. These events add up, and bad things happen.
This causes many problems. For me, this includes loss of sleep, repetitive negative thoughts, and anxiety at times (even though I’m a pretty laid back guy, in general). Holding on to negativity not only causes us to be unhappy, but can strain or ruin relationships, distract us from work and family and other important things, and hyper-focus on people and things that don’t deserve our attention anymore. It’s a cycle that keeps our minds in the past, even if great things are happening in the present.
We need to learn to let go. We need to be able to forgive, so we can move on and be happy. So here I go…
After years of holding onto anger for little things here and there, I finally have begun to let go of each bit one by one. I feel better already.
Forgiveness and letting go can change your life and your health.
It’s not like you are erasing the past, or even forgetting what has happened. It certainly doesn’t mean that other people will change their behavior — you can’t control that. All it means is that you are letting go of your anger, pain, or guilt, and moving on to a better place.
It’s not easy, but we can all learn to do it.
If you’re like me and holding onto pain or anxiety, reliving it, and can’t let go and forgive, here are some things I am learning:
1. Make the Decision to Let Go. It’s going to take time to get over something. Commit to changing, since life will be better without negativity in your headspace.
2. Relinquish Control over Some, but Not All. You can’t control the actions of others, so don’t even try. Ditch the idea of controlling people in that manner. However, you alone control your actions and thoughts. You can stop reliving negative moments and situations in your mind if you choose.
3. Focus on the Present. The past exists only in your mind. And that causes problems — unhappiness and stress. Bring yourself into the present and ask yourself: What are you doing now? What makes you happy right now? Focus on that, as it happens, and stop reliving the past. Acknowledge the past has happened, and gently bring yourself back to the present moment.
4. Meditate on Peace happening in Your Life. As you focus on the present, try meditating on it. Imagine each breath going out is the pain and the anxiety of the past being released from your body and mind. Imagine each breath coming in is peace, entering you and filling you up. Release the pain and the past. Let peace enter your life. And go forward, thinking no longer of the past, but of peace and the present. Doing this for 2 minutes a day really adds up fast.
5. Forgive. Finally, forgive yourself for mistakes you made and forgive others for theirs. Most of the time, it works both ways!
I think we often hold onto our pain far beyond the need for it to be present in our lives. I replay past mistakes over and over again in my head, sometimes allowing feelings of shame and regret to affect my actions in the present. Sometimes I focus on frustration and worry about the future, as if I can control things that I know I can’t. I hold stress in my mind and body, potentially creating serious health issues, and accept that state of tension as the norm.
If we let go a little of this each day, we will gain quite a bit over time. Life is too short to get sick by holding things in that are in the past. There is too much to be thrilled about in the here and now.
Let me know in the comments how you “let go”.