By MELISSA MULLER
Are you living with something that happened to you in the past, on a daily basis?
Do you have guilt or shame for something you did or didnâ€™t do in the past? Are you angry at someone who hurt you?Â Finding a way to let go of these things can be a huge relief.Â Holding on produces anxiety, panic, depression, and negativity. Worrying about the future also produces anxiety and stress.
I am asked all the time how to not focus on these problems.Â Living in the present moment is the answer.Â However, this is a difficult task.Â It takes practice.Â We donâ€™t wake up one day and have the skill of living a fulfilling life in the moment.Â With practice it can be done and is rewarding.Â Imagine being able to let go of your emotional pain from the past.Â Imagine not carrying the burden of anger at someone who hurt you.Â It takes more energy to hold onto negativity.
Forgiving and moving on is done for yourself.Â Not for the other person.Â Â So, how do we do this? Begin by telling yourself your goal is to live in the present moment.Â Look around and name all of the things you see and hear.Â If the negativity or anger enters your mind tell yourself to â€œstopâ€ and refocus on what you see, hear, and feel,Â right now.Â Practice this daily. Go for a walk or a bike ride and look around you.Â Notice the beauty of what is around you.Â Identify what you are seeing to yourself.
When you are having difficulty falling asleep and are filled with thoughts of the past or the future try this:Â Lay still.Â Pay attention to only your hands.Â Feel the energy in them.Â Feel their heaviness. Concentrate only on this feeling.Â Next transfer your concentration to your feet.Â Feel the energy in them.Â Focus on your feet for a minute.Â Next, concentrate on feeling the energy in your lower legs.Â Feel their heaviness.Â Do the same with your upper legs, stomach, chest, and arms.
Practice shifting your concentration from one body part to the next, feeling each partâ€™s energy and heaviness.Â Practicing this keeps you in the present moment.Â Freeing you from worry and anxiety that is keeping you awake.Â Â Although all of this sounds so easy it can be difficult to do on your own.Â With determination and practice you will experience the feeling of letting go.Â If you try and are unable to do this on your own you may want to seek the help of a professional who will be able to guide you in learning to live in the present moment and to help you learn to let go.
If there are issues from your past that are affecting you today you may need to process them before you are able to let them go.Â I only believe in bringing up the past if it is causing you problems today.Â If you are spending a lot of time and energy worrying about the past or the future, remember, you canâ€™t change the past.Â In worrying about the future you may be wasting time that you could be spending enjoying today!
Melissa Muller is a local Licensed Mental Health Counselor