‘Leaving the Past Behind’ Asked:
Last year was emotionally draining, and I’m afraid I will carry all the stress, anxiety and tension into this year. Is there anything I can do to leave the past behind me and start fresh?
Dr. Zoe Answered:
Whenever someone says to me that they are worried, fearful or unsure about what they will choose to do in the future, I always stop them mid-sentence. I don’t even want to hear the rest—so stop!
You are the only person in this world who controls you. You can hope and worry and wonder about everyone else’s behavior in this world except your own. You get to choose your own thoughts, behaviors, actions and ultimately your life.
When you say that you are afraid you may do something or that you hope you won’t, you are saying that you have no control over yourself. This is simply not true. You can start fresh by stopping the lies.
Starting today, begin a ritual of leaving last year exactly where it belongs—in the past. Last year is just another day—another year—so unless you actively choose to do something different, you will for sure carry everything you have been carrying up to this point, and some more. You don’t have to do that. You can choose differently.
Make an active decision that this year will be different.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Are the stressors from last year still a part of my life? If so, then you have two choices: figure out how to get rid of the stress, or create a different story about it and change the way you react to it.
2. What can I do to alleviate the stress? Develop healthy lifestyle choices that allow you to better tolerate stress that you cannot get rid of (meditation, exercise, healthier support system, therapy, enough sleep, a good diet).
3. What do I need to let go of? Sometimes we believe that we have to keep experiencing something we always have. This isn’t always true. Ask yourself if you can let it go (a relationship, a job, a friendship, or a business).
4. Who do I need to forgive? (Hint: Sometimes it’s yourself.)
These questions can help you get started on leaving the tension of last year behind and walking into this year with a healthier mind frame.
You’ve got this. It just takes a little grit and grace!
You’ll also enjoy this podcast episode: New Year, Strong You! How to Reflect on Your Year in a Helpful Way – 114