One way of preparing yourself for the New Year is to let go of those emotional triggers that weigh you down. Emotional triggers spark intense emotional reactions, such as memories, experiences, or events. They can be associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and can affect your mindset and behavior. A key to emotional health is identifying these triggers. They could result from a host of common situations such as rejection, betrayal, unjust treatment, challenged beliefs, helplessness or loss of control, being excluded or ignored, disapproval or criticism, feeling unwanted or unneeded, feeling smothered or too needed, insecurity, and loss of independence. (Emotional Triggers: Definition and How to Manage Them (healthline.com) )
Per Sabrina Romanoff, a clinical psychologist, in an article published in Very Well Mind, emotional baggage “...refers to unfinished emotional issues, stressors, pain, and difficulties we’ve experienced that continue to take up space in our minds and affect our present relationships”
In other words, the psychological wounds we carry prevent us from living peacefully. Worse, emotional baggage can lead to ongoing stress and depression and even begin to create physical issues. It’s not uncommon for people with lots of emotional baggage to experience panic attacks, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and insomnia.
Though we all carry some sort of emotional baggage throughout our lives, the happiest people are those who learn to control their emotional baggage instead of allowing it to control them. Of course, this is easier said than done.
However, we have some helpful tips on how to let go of the emotional weight so you can start living freely.
Identify What Caused It
Think of addressing your emotional baggage like mold remediation. Though your goal is to treat the mold, you first have to identify what caused it because it doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. The same concept applies to this.
If you carry guilt or commitment issues - two very common types of emotional weight - then it’s not enough to just accept what happened or just jump into a relationship to prove you’re okay. Doing so may lead to temporary satisfaction but nothing sustainable. Instead, you need to figure out why these feelings exist. Like the mold, you have to get down to the real cause and treat that before you can address anything else.
For example, the root cause of commitment issues could be anything from fear of rejection or abandonment that stems from childhood or having experienced abuse in a previous relationship. By identifying the root cause, you can then address its symptoms.
If you’re dealing with an emotional weight that’s beginning to get too heavy to carry, then one way you can start to let go is by letting someone else help you with the load. One way to do this is by seeking the guidance and support of a licensed therapist.
In therapy, you can address your past and how it’s currently infringing on your life. Furthermore, you’ll get a chance to address what you don’t like about the baggage, which can help motivate you to unpack it.
Though therapy has become a little more expensive in recent years, there are affordable options through apps like BetterHelp. Many therapists also work on a sliding scale or even on a pro bono basis, so don’t be afraid to ask about those options.
Learn to Sit With Uncomfortable Emotions
One of the main reasons why we tend to hold onto emotional baggage is because we don’t take the time to process it.
Though everyone has their coping mechanisms, it’s never healthy to avoid your emotions or try pushing them under the rug. Even if you do that - and think things are okay for a little while - they will eventually pop up again the next time you encounter a similar emotion or situation.
A good example would be grief. If you don’t take the time to feel sad and angry, you may not be equipped to take care of yourself or be a strong support system for others when they, too, eventually encounter loss.
It’s going to be uncomfortable but sit with your sadness when you start feeling sad. Cry when you feel like crying. Scream when you feel angry. Starting out, and to make this easier, you can even set a timer so you’re only dealing with these negative emotions within a window you feel comfortable with.
When you do this, you take the power back from these emotions so they no longer control you. With enough practice and time, you’ll be able to encounter a sad moment instead of allowing the emotional weight of a trigger to ruin your entire day.
These are just a few of the best ways you can begin to let go of emotional baggage. While we all have emotional weight, you don’t have to let it rule over you. There’s a grace in allowing yourself to be human and remember that what words or actions hurt you in the past don’t have to be your identifiers forever.
Thank you for reading folks. Continue becoming the best version of yourself. Take Care, Be Well. Stay Safe.