We’re automatically in tune with the spring equinox in the same way ancient cultures celebrated Earth’s rebirth each year. Yet, whereas they had rituals for the renewal of buds on trees and planting seeds, we wake up one March morning with a sudden urge to clean closets, declutter counters, and scrub floors.
Instead of a traditional spring celebration, our cleaning party involves Windex to wipe away winter’s grey haze. However, as nice as having a clean house and a clear view is, the area of our lives that we should be actively seeking renewal is our inner world.
Here are three simple steps to live a cleaner, clearer emotional life.
Step one – LET IT GO by releasing all worries about the past. In the same vein as you clear out the old in your closet to make room for the new, you should duplicate the practice with your emotional baggage. You know the stuff you’ve been dragging around for years. The time your ex-boyfriend cheated on you. The day your, then, best friend disappointed you. Even the past hurts that your ancestors faced, the ones that don’t effect your present life, but you’re still telling the tales as if they happened yesterday. They are ALL in the past. You can’t go back and change what happened. So, let it go!
As James Bay so eloquently states in his song Let it Go – Everything that’s broke, leave it to the breeze. Recall your past hurts one by one and then allow yourself to feel them blow away. Like the piles of clutter you cleaned off the counter, once they’re gone they can no longer get in your way.
Step two – SHAKE IT OFF by refreshing your view of daily disturbances. Instead of zooming through life on autopilot, reacting the same way you always do, pause when something sets you off and take a deep breath. In most cases our minds have a tendency to make a big deal out of daily disturbances that are really non-events. For example, say someone cut you off on your way to work. If your typical reaction would be – I can’t believe that ***hole did that – and then you’d be irritated for the remainder of your commute, ask yourself, “What about that situation bothered me, and why?”
Most of the time, it’s as simple as being aware enough to change your reaction. Whether they did it on purpose, or not, doesn’t matter, the important thing is that you pause and remember that you’re responsible for your choice. You can either choose to react emotionally or, like Taylor Swift, you can Shake it Off. Once you reprogram the way you react, you’re daily outlook will shine as bright as the sun streaming through those windows you cleaned.
Step three – AVOID HEAD GAMES by redefining your thoughts about the future. Simply put, stop fretting about what hasn’t happened yet. Those fictional dramas you create in your head – when you picture yourself getting sick when someone sneezes, or you envision how the emotional trauma will play out if your partner cheats on you – cause undo stress. Often, fretting over the issues we create in our heads leads to a change in our behavior. We go into control mode over something that hasn’t happened yet, and most likely won’t if we take a different approach.
So, be mindful when that first flash of a mini drama starts playing out on the movie screen in your mind. Pause and redefine the scene by replacing your drama-filled thoughts with joyful daydreams. If you’re still struggling to block out the negative notions, use a song like Foreigner’s title-cut, Head Games, to remind you that the fears only reside in your head.
Once you’ve spring cleaned your emotional storage – by releasing worries, refreshing your perspective, and redefining your thoughts – you’ll have created more space to relax into a blissful life.
Here’s to chilling out in a freshly cleaned house, as well as being happily ready to ride into summer. Cheers!