As the daffodils bloom and the trees sprout new buds, we know the season of spring represents hope and new beginnings but can also mean the dreaded chores of spring cleaning. As we busy ourselves organizing closets, washing windows and de-cluttering the garage, we should also consider clearing out the emotional baggage we carry around.
Here are some tips on spring cleaning your emotions:
- Take inventory of your thoughts. What do you spend most of your time thinking about? Are your thoughts cluttered with memories of past regrets or worrying about what else can go wrong in your life? Negative thinking patterns have a direct effect on our emotions and behaviors, so throw out those garbage thoughts that bring you down and replace them with a healthier perspective. Instead of worrying about a situation, imagine what you would like to have happen instead of worrying about what you don’t want to happen.
- Organize your feelings. It’s important for us to acknowledge our feelings and to recognize what triggers them. Digging deep within ourselves helps us to really understand who we are and why we feel like we do. Take time and ask yourself probing questions to gain more insight into yourself. What makes you react the way you do in certain situations? What makes you feel insecure? When do you feel most proud of yourself?
- Cleanse your soul of guilt and regret. We carry a heavy burden when we hold on to feelings of guilt and regret either for our hurtful behavior toward others or directed at those who wounded us. Making amends and apologizing is crucial in repairing relationships with others we’ve hurt, and forgiveness is key in mending relationships with those who’ve hurt us. It’s important to accept that you can’t change the past but don’t allow yourself to become prisoner to your own guilt or resentment. Learn to let go and forgive yourself too.
- Polish your sense of responsibility for your own happiness. Once you realize that you are solely responsible for your own life and happiness, you will be released from being a victim and blaming others. You may not be able to control everything that happens to you but you are still responsible for how you think, act and feel in response to the things that happen. Taking responsibility for yourself also allows you to let go of the need to feel responsible for other people. Most importantly, don’t rely on others to make you feel good, do it yourself. Taking responsibility for your life is tough but it’s necessary if you truly want to be happy.
Happy spring cleaning!