How to dump your emotional baggage
Getting the right support
As the old saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved and at different times in our lives we are going to need to talk to someone to help us through a tricky patch. For most of us this comes in the shape of family and friends but not everyone is lucky enough to have a close network. Even if you do there might be some things you really don’t want to discuss with them because they are personal, painful or embarrassing.
There are support groups for almost everything – parenting, depression, bereavement, cancer or you can opt to have some one-to-one counselling around a particular issue.
Whatever it is you are struggling with it is always better to talk it through with someone rather than try and deal with it on your own. Some helping agencies like the Samaritans also run an email support service so you don’t even need to see someone face to face to get support.
Work it out
Emotions are energy in motion in the body and the best way to release them is to get active. As tempting as it might be to duvet dive you will actually feel much better if you do something physical – running, swimming, cycling, walking are all great ways of clearing your head.
If you are angry about something it is really therapeutic to bash it out, punch a pillow, knead bread dough or go boxing. The heels of the feet are great energy release points so stamping or having a toddler tantrum (in private) work really well. When anger isn’t worked out it will come out sideways making us irritable, unreasonable and touchy and if left unresolved it can turn into depression.
If getting physical isn’t your thing you could get creative, you could draw, paint, write or sing. If you used to be creative and have stopped picking it up again can really help you get back to your old self, if you’ve never tried it before it could be the start of a new hobby.
Sometimes the past can be like a big stick we use to beat ourselves up with and we are filled with regret or shame because we think we should have known better or should have done something differently.
We cannot change the past but we can learn from it. Look at how your experience has changed you. What have you learnt as a result? How have you grown? If you had a friend who was going through something similar what advice would you give them?
Look at your past. Even if you were the victim of someone else’s actions roll the film back and see if there was a point where you could have made a different choice?
Blaming and hating someone else only leads to feelings of bitterness and powerlessness which can harden over time, these are unattractive qualities in a person no matter how justified the cause. The only way to stop blaming is to see what you could have done differently. Blame only ties us to the pain.
Hurt people go on to hurt other people, seeing someone who hurt you in this way can help you to let go of the pain. It’s not about saying that what they did was OK but about releasing the feelings from inside you.
Sometimes we carry things with us simply because they didn’t have a proper ending. Maybe someone left us or died, maybe we were the victim of a crime but there was never an arrest. When this happens we can be left with a washing machine head that plays the situation over and over again as we try to work it out, but we never can.
In situations like this we can create an ending ourselves in a number of ways. We can find all the photos and things that remind us of that time or person and either put them away in a box, if they are precious memories, or burn them or throw them into the sea if they are painful.
If we have nothing physical to do this with we can write it out beginning every sentence with ’I remember’. Keep writing until you have written out everything you remember about that person or event and then let it go as above.
No matter what has happened in your past the one thing you can change is your perception of it and through doing that you can release yourself from any amount of emotional baggage.
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