It is often advised to bereaved people that “time will heal all of their wounds.” With this belief or common assumption, many people expect time will help them overcome the anguish, anger, sadness, guilt, and fear that they may be feeling at certain difficult situations in life. However, time in itself—unlucky for us—does not heal all wounds and quite a lot of people still find it torturing many years after experiencing some sad things. With the passage of time the pain may ease a bit, but it is still difficult for many people to let go and move on at certain painful or hard situations in life.
Although time is not a healer, time can be used well for the purpose of healing. In the words of Dr. Phil, “Time doesn’t change us. It’s what we do with that time that changes us.” This means that we can actually do something to help ourselves heal more quickly. This means that when life knocks us down, instead of remaining there, we have to make efforts to bounce back. It is our attitude that determines whether we let that situation make us or break us! Steve Maraboli in Life, the Truth, and Being Free states that “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” When it is difficult for you to let go and you feel lost, here are 21 things you can do to move towards a happier and fulfilling life.
1. Council yourself to let go and move on
To let go, it is essential that you counsel yourself that it is time to move on. It requires from you to make yourself understand that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny. It also requires deciding that if you want to move forward then you have to let go.
2. Go out with friends or family
Your friends and family can be a great source of comfort and solace in situations where you find it difficult to let go and move on. You can go out, talk, and share your feelings with people who love you and truly listen to you, and they can give you a totally fresh and different perspective on things.
3. Learn a new skill
Another thing that you can do is to expand your skill base. While being involved in the process of learning, you will have less time to dwell on your troubling experience and will be able to forget it. Also, you will understand that there are always new things to learn, new ways to grow, different viewpoints to explore and new opportunities just around the corner. This will help in keeping you motivated towards life.
4. Engage in a physical activity
Exercise or physical activity in any form has been found out to help in relieving stress. From aerobics to yoga, any form of exercise can be engaged in when you find it hard to let go. This is because it helps in boosting brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins, increase your self-confidence, improves your mood, and lower the symptoms associated with anxiety and mild depression.
5. Plan a Trip
When you find it hard to let go, a change of atmosphere or environment can do wonders. Confining yourself will not help in making things right. Instead, for a week or a month, escape from your surrounding and treat yourself with a scenic difference.
6. Explore new avenues and see new people
One of the best things to do to move on and let go is to meet new people and go out. The world has to offer a lot of new things and there are always new people to be invited into your life. Join a networking group or get involved in community activities or join a special interest group and make an effort to meet new people. Addition of new and positive people in your life will help in healing from the toxicity of the past experience.
7. Cry it out
A study by Dr. William Frey II, PH.D., biochemist at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis, suggested that crying can be helpful in flushing out negative chemicals out of the body that gather in your body as a result of stress. Hence, crying out helps immensely in times when it is difficult for you to let go. But once you have cried, wipe your tears, stand up and dust off and remind yourself that life does not end here. Steve Maraboli says for such a situation: “Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.”
Forgiveness is one of the most essential things to do when you have to let go and move on. Forgiving others, forgiving yourself, and forgiving the Universe is significant for allowing yourself the space and freedom of moving on. According to Steve Maraboli, “unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”
9. Accept the situation
Accepting things as they are can be the key for unlocking the door to happiness. If you are trapped in a damaging past, instead of fighting to change things, accept what had happened and what you can’t change, and trust me, you will find more peace. The sooner you accept it, the sooner it will stop hurting you and the faster you are able take control of your life and bring improvement to it.
10. Express your feelings through a creative outlet
Express or release your feelings by means of a creative outlet, such as blogging or painting or any form of art. Use your creativity to combat the negative emotions that are dwelling inside you. The book Your Creative Brain by Shelley Carson can present a number of ways you can transform negative emotion through creative work.
11. Do some volunteer work
Volunteering has been found out to be helpful in warding off depression and boosting happiness and self-confidence. Hence, when it is difficult for you to take your mind off past experiences, volunteer work can help in bringing a positive change to your mental state. Volunteer work can get you moving and make you more socially connected. Also, by spending time in service of others, you will enjoy a sense of purpose and fulfillment in life.
12. Look for company of those who have been through similar experiences
Seeking company of those who may be able to understand what you are going through is also advantageous in such situations. This could be in the form of talking to friends or people around you who may have undergone something similar or it could be reading other people’s stories and cherishing their wisdom. This could help in bringing yourself to the understanding that you are not alone. Also, you can adopt the ways those people used for coping in a similar situation, thereby making it easier to move on in life.
13. Wear a rubber band on your wrist and flick it when you begin thinking about the unhappy experience
This may sound a bit odd, but doing this really helps to remind you that persistent negativity may be hurtful for your mind and body, and therefore, you are required to let go and move forward.
14. Metaphorically throw it away or release it
Write down on a paper about the stresses that you are feeling and throw it away in the dustbin or toss the paper into the fireplace. This will help you let go of the stress associated with the event or unhappy experience that you have gone through.
15. Make time each day to nurture yourself
Help yourself heal by including in your daily schedule the activities that you find soothing and calming. For example, you can listen to music, read a favorite book, go out for a walk in nature, photograph life around you, get a massage, or take a yoga class. Avoid using drugs or alcohol or food for coping or relieving your feeling of pain. Instead, find healthier and positive ways of healing from the situation.
16. Journal your troubling experiences
Journal-keeping is a great way for gaining insights into your feelings and thoughts that prevent you from moving on. According to psychologists, it allows becoming aware of and understanding the reasons that made things happen the way they did. Keeping journal or writing about your experiences, is, therefore, regarded as a good way towards moving on as it helps in seeing your feelings in black and white so that they can be analyzed, changed, or even destroyed.
17. Pray or Meditate
Both meditation and prayer are considered as wonderful for reduction of stress and also in times when you find it hard to let go and move on in life. Prayer helps in accepting the things you cannot change and the hardships you are facing as God’s will. It helps in the achievement of peace of mind and has powerful effects on your mental and physical health.
18. Make a list of your accomplishments
In times when it is hard to let go and your self-esteem level is low, making a list of your accomplishments can help in elevating your self-esteem level. When you take out time to see yourself in a positive light, and make a list of your accomplishments, and add to it regularly even the small things that you do, you make some space for self-satisfaction.
19. Visualize an empowered you
Visualization is another powerful psych tool at your disposal for improving self-confidence and self-healing. Visualizing yourself as an empowered person is helpful in situations where it is difficult for you to let go, and will help in bringing improvement in your sense of self-worth and in relieving stress.
20. See the bigger world
In a situation when it is difficult for you to let go of your past experiences, seeing the world around you and paying attention to the details in your surrounding can help you see that the world has a lot more to offer than that unhappy experience. For this, you can add to your daily routine some things that can help you see a bigger world, such as exploring the streets you have never been to before, closing your eyes and listening to your surroundings, taking different paths to or from work, etc.
21. Focus on the present
It is a famous quote: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” So instead of mourning for the past or worrying about the future, live in the present moment and enjoy them. Kalidasa says “Yesterday is but a dream, Tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.” Choosing to live in the past robs you of the enjoyment today. Therefore, consider each day to be full of endless possibilities and appreciate fully the moments that come your way.
Featured photo credit: Loren Kerns via flickr.com