No matter who you are or where you are in life, we’ve all experienced some kind of emotional pain.
This is normal. Everyone experiences this. But for some, it may be harder to let go of that pain. And if you don’t let go, you relive it over and over again in your mind. This can result in “getting stuck in the past” meaning you are stuck feeling the negative emotions associated with a painful experience.
Holding on to negative emotions associated with the past can be a huge contributor to your emotional eating. Have you tried to “bury” negative memories or feelings with food? Has it worked?
The problem with emotional eating is it doesn’t address the root cause of the pain – it simply tries to hide it. But by letting go of past hurts, you can heal your emotional eating and nurture your soul.
Sounds good? Absolutely! But what do people really mean when they say “let it go”? How can we actually let go of the past?
Here are 5 ways emotional eaters can let go:
1.Make a conscious decision
By making a conscious decision to let go of the past, you are giving yourself a choice of letting go. Without this choice, you’ll stay stuck in the past. So, make the conscious decision to move forward by taking steps necessary to let go of your pain and negative feelings from the past.
2.Express your pain
Whether this means writing a letter to the person who caused you pain (no, you don’t need to send it), screaming into a pillow, or talking with a friend, explore different ways to express your pain. Get it out instead of bottling it inside. Just getting it out is so beneficial and effective at releasing negative emotions!
3. Let go of being the victim
When bad things happen to you, it’s easy to play the victim. Someone else did this to me, it’s not my fault! While that is true, if you always have a victim mentality, you’ll never let go of the past. Instead, you need to accept what happened and take responsibility for NOW. How you feel and how you act NOW. The past may be out of your control, but you have control of your thoughts and feelings in this present moment. That is how you experience joy instead of ruminating in negative feelings.
When memories from the past start to creep up, just breathe. Breathing is one of the easiest ways to bring yourself back into the present moment. If you’re focusing on the present, then you won’t be stuck in the past. Breathing exercises and mindful meditation practices can be done daily or whenever those memories start to pop up. To feel joy instead of pain, learn to focus on the present moment.
Forgiveness is the final step in letting go. It will be important for you to forgive someone who wronged or hurt you in order to move on and let go of the past. But also remember that it’s just as important to forgive yourself. You may not even realize that you may have been blaming yourself for things that have happened in the past. In order to let go and move on, you need to practice self-compassion and forgive yourself.
If you get stuck at any of these steps, you can always ask a professional for help. A registered therapist or practitioner can help guide you through each of these steps and give you encouragement or a new perspective – whatever you need!