Feeling stressed, worried or upset about a situation? In this article, Elizabeth Harmon looks at why you should learn to let it go, in order to find true happiness.
As humans, we can find it easy to feel negative about situations. The problem is, negativity can often build up and get on top of us. It can leave us feeling unhappy, worried or stressed, which can impact our lives much more than you realize, both personally and professionally. But is there something you can do about it?
Unfortunately, you don't have the power to change the past, unless you're Doc Brown and Marty from Back to the Future of course. What you do have though is the power to change how you react to these situations, both from the past and in the future.
"The only part of the whole universe that we actually have control over is the space between our shoulders... our feelings. When we are able to gain some mastery and control over how we feel and how we react to triggers our relationships and our world magically improve" - Denise Sullivan, Specialist in Couples Counselling.
To explain... If you were late to a work meeting because your bus was cancelled, you can't go back in time and make the bus arrive on schedule. Unfortunately, many of us may deal with the situation by worrying and letting it eat us up inside. Instead, you can calmly explain the situation to your boss, do everything you can to catch up with what was missed and make sure it doesn't happen again. As for worrying, will it really achieve anything more, other than taking up a lot of your time and effort, as well as making you unhappy?
If you've had a fight with your friend, you may not be able to erase the words that were said between you, but you can ensure that what you do next makes you happy. Worrying over what was said may feel like all you can think about right now, but is this really the best thing to do? If you don't want to lose your friendship over one silly fight, don't hold a grudge for the next week. Be the bigger person, make the first move, resolve your differences and move forward right now. You'll be much happier for it.
Of course, this sounds simple enough, but in reality, it can be difficult to actually implement. What's perhaps right for our happiness may not be our first natural instinct. It's therefore important to try and change our perspectives, learn to forgive and forget, put things behind you and move on. Of course, we're not saying that you should always ignore your instincts and emotions. But it's important to be realistic and deal with things in a healthy way.
There's also something else that may be getting in the way though, our personalities. Do you feel that you always want to be right? Do you need to be in control of situations? Do you pass the blame onto others? Or do you find yourself criticizing everything? These traits can get in the way of making a change, but acknowledging them is the first step in the right direction.
Once you manage to let go of just one negative thought or toxic situation in your life, you can feel a huge weight lifted off of your shoulders. You never know, you may even be able to gradually let go of something else, or inspire others to think differently about the way they react to situations, in order to find true happiness. Letting go really can be a completely life-changing experience.
If you're still feeling stressed, worried and upset, there are a number of simple things you can try. Consider talking to a close friend or family member about your feelings, clear your head with a brisk walk in the fresh air, do some exercise to get the endorphins pumping around your body, or just relax and enjoy some time to yourself. Most importantly, if you're struggling, don't be afraid to ask for support from someone you trust, or by seeking professional help.
"Many people simply don't realize that they are suffering with anxiety or depression. If you feel like you overthink things, worry a lot, or you don't enjoy the things that other people do, speak to a professional counsellor about how treatment can help you get more out of life." - Dan Auerbach, Specialist in Relationship, Anxiety and Depression Counselling.
Elizabeth Harmon is a writer for Open Colleges, one of Australia's leading online education providers.