But, if you pay attention, you will likely find that there are certain emotionally or mentally painful circumstances that you get caught in. Maybe it’s the angry thoughts about someone who has hurt you or pessimistic thinking about troubles you have faced.
Each of us has a tendency to get caught in certain types of thinking that prolongs painful emotions. Instead of enjoying a relaxing evening, we might find ourselves ruminating on something hurtful someone said, or rather than solving a difficult problem and moving on, you may find you are again and again drawn to thoughts about how unfair your circumstances are.
Sometimes it seems as if the mind just wants to hold on to these painful thoughts and circumstances. Even as we try to get rid of unpleasant thoughts, we may find ourselves rethinking and reliving painful situations.
Over time, as you observe your own internal response to this situation, you will find that you no longer need to ruminate about it or push it away. You will be able to recognize your self-judgments and criticisms of others and let them be. The pain and the need to attach to it or push it away will pass and you will be able to let it go.
Still having trouble letting go? In his book, “Full Catastrophe Living,” Jon Kabat-Zinn suggests that when something has a strong hold on your mind, try to direct your attention to what “holding on” feels like. Become an expert in understanding your own attachment to this worry or problem. Even when you are struggling to let go, you can become skilled at understanding yourself and the consequences of both holding on and letting go.
You can find more strategies to improve how you feel in my new book, The Stress Response and by clicking here to sign up for more of my tips and here for podcasts using DBT strategies to improve how you feel.
Man thinking photo available from Shutterstock.
This post currently has
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.
No trackbacks yet to this post.
Last reviewed: 15 Jun 2012