October 12, 2023

Letting Go of the Past

By Natasha Beals
Identity Development
Mental Health & Wellbeing

Letting go of the past can be challenging. The difficulty of letting go of the past can vary from person to person. It can be difficult for a person to detach themselves from whatever they went through in the past.

People hold onto the past for various reasons, such as emotional attachment, fear of change, regret, guilt and shame, identity and self-image, or lack of coping skills. Letting go can be emotional, but moving forward is good for your mental and physical health.

Benefits of Letting Go

  1. Improved Mental Health: Letting go of the past can help reduce the stress, anxiety, and depression associated with dwelling on past regrets, trauma, or negative experiences. This will allow a person to focus more on the present and promote a healthier state of mind.
  2. Enhanced Self-Esteem: Letting go will also allow a person to rebuild their self-esteem by focusing on their present abilities and potential for growth.
  3. Reduced Stress: When a person constantly replays past events in their mind, it can create stress and tension. Letting go of the past frees a person from this mental burden, reducing stress levels and improving overall health.
  4. Increased Energy and Focus: Letting go of the past allows a person to redirect their energy toward productive and meaningful pursuits in the present.
  5. Improved Physical Health: When a person lets go of the past, they also reduce the stress and emotional baggage associated with the past, leading to better physical health. This can help lower blood pressure, improve sleep quality, and boost overall vitality.
  6. Freedom and Liberation: Letting go means freedom and liberation. A person is no longer tied to those old narratives. They can create a new and more positive story for their life.
  7. Better Life Satisfaction: By embracing the present and focusing more on the future, a person will likely experience greater life satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment.
  8. Positive Outlook: Last but not least, letting go of the past can shift a person’s perspective from a negative or victim mindset to a more optimistic mindset.

The Process

Letting go of the past is a personal journey that will take time and effort. It is a journey that will require your commitment to personal growth. Let’s discuss some ways that you can begin your journey to letting go of the past:

  1. Learn to acknowledge and accept your feelings: You need to recognize the emotions and memories from the past that bother you. It is okay to allow yourself to feel those emotions without judgment.
  2. Practice Self-Compassion: My motto is always to be kind, loving, and gentle to yourself. Understand that everyone makes mistakes. Try treating yourself with the same love and compassion you would offer a friend in a similar situation.
  3. Mindfulness and Meditation: Mindfulness practices can help you stay in the present moment and reduce the constant thoughts about the past. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can help promote relaxation.
  4. Journaling: I love journaling! It is such a powerful tool for processing your thoughts and emotions about the past. Writing about your feelings, experiences, or any insights you gain can help you gain clarity and closure.
  5. Limiting the Negative Thoughts: Learn to challenge negative thoughts that keep you stuck in the past. When you catch yourself thinking about past events, consciously try to redirect your thoughts to the present or the future.
  6. Set Realistic Expectations: Please understand that letting go of the past doesn’t happen overnight. This process will take time.
  7. Forgiveness: Consider forgiving yourself and others for past mistakes and wrongdoings. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you condone or forget what happened, but it can free you from the emotional burden of holding onto grudges.
  8. Surround yourself with supportive people: Share your feelings with trusted friends and family members who can provide emotional support and encouragement.
  9. Engage in Positive Activities: Participate in activities that bring you joy and satisfaction.
  10. Practice self-care: Prioritize self-care by getting enough sleep, maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and taking time for relaxation and leisure activities.

It may seem a bit hard to do on your own, but you don’t have to. A professional therapist can provide guidance, support, and therapeutic techniques to help you work through your traumas.

One of our many experienced therapists can help you with this process. Please reach out to a therapist at Optimum Joy to let go of the past and be free.  


Written By

Natasha Beals

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