It has been said that we create and keep problems because they give us a sense of identity. Perhaps this explains why we hold onto our pain and suffering far beyond its ability to serve us.
Don’t replay past mistakes over and over again in our minds, allowing feelings of shame and regret to shape our actions in the present. We should not cleave to frustration and worry about the future. This act of fixation does not give us power and it is certainly not an identity we want for ourselves. Nor should we hold stress in our minds and bodies and accept that this state of tension is a norm, potentially putting our health at risk.
Instead, listen to Ajahn Chah’s advice on the matter:
“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.”
Here are steps to help you overcome frustration with yourself or your life:
- Change your perspective; see challenges and their root cause as a learning experience or as a blessing in disguise.
- Spend time and learn a new skill/develop a new habit instead of dwelling on things you never mastered
- Make a list of your accomplishments and count your blessings.
- Focus your energy on what you can control.
- Channel your discontent into immediate positive action, call the people you love, volunteer, participate in activities you love.
- Worst case scenario cry out your sadness, According to Dr. William Frey II, PH.D., and biochemist at the Ramset Medical Center in Minneapolis crying away your negative feelings releases harmful chemicals that build up in your body due to negative emotions. You can also release your sadness through a creative medium such as music, art, blogging, whatever suits your fancy.
When You Need To Let Go Of Past or Current Relationships
- Loving another person is never a waste. We learn and grow a lot from others. Identify what this person and experience have taught you and how it will help you maintain and have a better relationship when you meet someone better for you.
- Visualize an empowered single you—a person even better than you who existed before you met your last love. Remember all of your positive traits and why anyone would be lucky to be with you.
- Create a space that reflects your present reality. Takedown or delete their pictures; delete their emails and texts.
- Replace your emotional thoughts with facts. When you think, “I’ll never feel loved again!” don’t resist that feeling. Instead, move on to another thought, like “I hung out with really good friends tonight” or “I did a brilliant painting tonight.” And also remember the facts for why you are better without them.
- Its easier to let go of a human than a hero. Remove your past lover from a pedestal and really look at your relationship and remember the good and the bad.
When You Need to Let go of Anger and Bitterness.
- Don’t hold it in and feel it fully. When you stifle your feelings, they will either blow up later when they are uncalled for or they will leak out and affect everyone around you—not just the person who inspired your anger. Before you can let go of any emotion you have to own up to it.
- Let yourself vent for a day before confronting the person who troubled you. This may diffuse the hostility and give you time to plan a rational confrontation.
- When possible confront the person who offended/angered you. Communicating how you feel in a timely manner may help the situation from happening again and it will help you move on. No matter how the offender responds express yourself clearly and kindly.
- Put yourself in the offender’s shoes. To err is human; we all make mistakes and odds are you could have easily slipped up just like your offender did. Compassion dissolves anger.
- Take responsibility. Many times when you’re angry, you focus on what someone else did that was wrong—which essentially gives away your power. When you focus on what you could have done better, you often feel empowered and less bitter.
- Lastly, remember that anger hurts you more than the person or whatever upset you. There are only three healthy options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it. These acts create happiness; holding onto bitterness never does.
When You Need to Let go of Stress
This is a hard one to answer in simple steps because different stressors require different steps or different orders, but here are some general ones:
- Understand what is causing you stress. Once you understand it you can assess the best solution.
- Get organized and/or make a to-do list. A “to-do list” will help you remember everything that needs to be done, place it in order of importance and it will give you the ability and satisfaction to cross off each item. Physical clutter reminds us of things that need to be done and that’s stressful. When you tidy up and get rid of tangible clutter you’ll remove your mental clutter as well.
- Take time for yourself every day. Even if you can only afford a few minutes. Make sure that you plan a few minutes for yourself. Each lunch without any distractions, watch a favorite TV show, etc. Also, schedule things in your weekly or monthly calendar that you love doing. Some of mine include things as simple as writing, reading, taking a bubble bath, yoga, visiting an art museum, stargazing, going to a good concert, etc.
- Eat healthier! Believe it or not this important. You are what you eat and your body and mind will reward you for eating positively.
- Be positive. Women and Men can alter her/his life simply by altering their attitude and mindset. What you say and what you tell yourself impact the present and create your future. Love yourself and use the power of positive words, pleasing thoughts and affirming beliefs to live the life you want to live.
- Set boundaries that act as a filter to keep you safe from the hurtful behavior of others. Set your boundaries by 1. determining what others cannot do to you or in your presence. 2. Sharing this information respectfully with anyone who is stepping over your boundaries.
- Surround yourself with a positive and supportive group. Always be around people who make you want to better yourself. After all, who you spend time with rubs off on you. Hang out with people who love and accept you just the way you are, are interested in you, lift you up and don’t wear you down, solve problems quickly, don’t gossip or complain, and know how to have fun. Anything is possible with the right support.
- Learn to say, “No.” People will try and tell you how you should live and what you should do. Be careful because you don’t want to end up living a life that others have decided for you versus living the life you want. Next time you find someone asking you to do something that makes you uncomfortable or trying to tell you to live in a manner that doesn’t mesh well with you take a breath and “no” or “no thank you.” When you say no to things you don’t care to do, you are saying yes to you and this will free up your time and energy for the things you choose to do. You’ll be happier.
- Keep an open mind and imagine your life 10-20-30 years from now. Realize that many of the things you’re worrying about don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.