Reduce stress by letting negative things go

Stress and worry do not have to come along for the ride in 2016.

It’s the start of another new year and many of us will make lists of things, behaviors or changes we want to incorporate into our lives. Some examples include eating healthier foods, adopting regular exercise habits, places to travel and see and so on. Essentially, many people are looking for things to add to their lives. Few contemplate their lives and goals for the new year from the opposing view – what are things that we should or need to let go of at the start of a new year? In essence, how can we give our minds a fresh start for 2016?

One thing that many of us need to let go of is stress and worry over things we cannot control – one of the biggest sources of stress for many. Stress effects everyone differently but the effects can be emotional and psychological, as well as physical. Stress manifests itself differently - with some people showing more physical signs, such as high blood pressure while it shows up in more psychological ways in others – like depression or anxiety. Our perceptions and reactions to situations and events in our lives play a huge role in how we manage stress and the extent to which it harms our bodies and our minds.

Michigan State University Extension recommends that as the New Year begins, take time and reflect on letting go of your sources of stress and worry and start on a path to improved emotional well-being. Many times, only in letting go, can we move forward. Below is a list of things that we carry around in our minds, things that left to hang out indefinitely, can lead to depression, anxiety or physical health issues. This list was compiled by Shannon Kaiser, author of “Find Your Happy” (2013) and “Adventures for Your Soul” (2015):

  1. Let go of all thoughts that don’t make you feel empowered and strong.
  2. Let go of feeling guilty for doing what you truly want to do.
  3. Let go of the fear of the unknown; take one small step and watch the path reveal itself.
  4. Let go of regrets; at one point in your life, that “whatever” was exactly what you wanted.
  5. Let go of worrying; worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.
  6. Let go of blaming anyone for anything; be accountable for your own life. If you don’t like something, you have two choices, accept it or change it.
  7. Let go of thinking you are damaged; you matter, and the world needs you just as you are.
  8. Let go of thinking your dreams are not important; always follow your heart.
  9. Let go of being the “go-to person” for everyone, all the time. Stop blowing yourself off and take care of yourself first … because you matter.
  10. Let go of thinking everyone else is happier, more successful or better off than you. You are right where you need to be. Your journey is unfolding perfectly for you.
  11. Let go of thinking there’s a right and wrong way to do things or to see the world. Enjoy the contrast and celebrate the diversity and richness of life.
  12. Let go of cheating on your future with your past. It’s time to move on and tell a new story.
  13. Let go of thinking you are not where you should be. You are right where you need to be to get to where you want to go, so start asking yourself where you want to go.
  14. Let go of anger toward ex-lovers and family. We all deserve happiness and love; just because it is over doesn’t mean the love was wrong.
  15. Let go of the need to do more and be more; for today, you’ve done the best you can, and that’s enough.
  16. Let go of thinking you have to know how to make it happen; we learn the way on the way.
  17. Let go of your money woes — make a plan to pay off debt and focus on your abundance.
  18. Let go of trying to save or change people. Everyone has their own path, and the best thing you can do is work on yourself and stop focusing on others.
  19. Let go of trying to fit in and be accepted by everyone. Your uniqueness is what makes you outstanding.
  20. Let go of self-hate. You are not the shape of your body or the number on the scale. Who you are matters, and the world needs you as you are.

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