6 Steps To Learn How To Let Go Of The Past And Be Happy

Are you tired of holding onto past hurts and regrets? being able to let go of the past and move on is essential for finding happiness in the present. In this article, we will explore six simple steps that can help you release the grip of the past and embrace a happier, more fulfilling future. So below I have included my recommended steps to show you how to let go of the past and be happy again, right now.

How to let go of the past and be happy

The key here is to remember you are not responsible for anything other than your own behaviour and emotions. You are not responsible for how other people behave or what they say and do. Letting go of this is essential because as you work through your own journey towards happiness you may find a few people around you won’t like what you are doing. They will feel uncomfortable with the changes you are making as it will make them focus on their own lack of self-worth and unhappiness. It’s difficult to fathom that some of those around you, may not be completely supportive of your efforts to find happiness but it is worth keeping this in mind as you move forwards but more about that in point 4 below. So, if you want to let go of the past and be happy with yourself and your life, this is what you need to do:

1. Acknowledge and accept your emotions

The first step to letting go of the past and finding happiness is to acknowledge and accept your emotions. It’s natural to feel anger, sadness, or resentment when reflecting on past experiences. Instead of suppressing these emotions, allow yourself to fully feel and process them. This can be done through journaling, talking to a trusted friend or therapist, or engaging in activities that help you express your emotions, such as art, music or exercise. By acknowledging and accepting your emotions, you can begin to release their hold on you and make space for healing and happiness.
Some call this ‘exercising the chimp’, which is the prehistoric mind we still have that works to protect us from danger and encourages the fight-or-flight response to keep us safe. The trouble is that this can also get us stuck in a loop of thinking negative thoughts about something that happened to us and we get caught up in the negativity. By exercising the chimp, in other words by talking about and accepting your emotions, you will be able to break this loop, let go of the negativity and move on to find happiness.

2. Practice forgiveness, both for yourself and others

Forgiveness is a powerful tool for letting go of the past and finding happiness. Holding onto grudges and resentments only weighs you down and prevents you from moving forward. But there’s actually more to it than that.

Many believe that a body and mind in dis-ease, created by negative emotions, can lead to disease. This is a big claim but it’s important to realise there’s a lot of evidence to back it up. Dis-ease, caused by negative emotions you are holding onto, can lead to stress and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of research papers that tell us that a stressed body always becomes ill.

So start by forgiving yourself for any mistakes or regrets you may have. Remember that everyone makes mistakes and it’s important to be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Especially when it comes to that little voice in your head!

Next, work on forgiving others who may have hurt or wronged you. This doesn’t mean you have to forget or condone their actions, but rather, it’s about releasing the negative emotions associated with the past and freeing yourself from the burden of holding onto anger or resentment. Forgiveness is a process that takes time and effort, but it can lead to a sense of peace and liberation that allows you to truly find happiness in the present moment.

“This proves that it’s not the adversity that counts… it’s how you deal with it that really matters. That’s the key to understanding how to let go of the past and be happy right now.”

3. Focus on the present moment and let go of regrets

One of the key steps to letting go of the past and finding happiness again is to focus on the present moment. Dwelling on past regrets or mistakes only keeps you stuck in a cycle of negativity and anxiety. Try not to think about the future either as that only brings fear. Instead, practice mindfulness and bring your attention to the here and now. Engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfilment, whether it’s spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or simply taking a moment to appreciate the beauty around you. By shifting your focus to the present moment, you can let go of regrets and embrace the opportunities for happiness that exist right now. Remember, the past is behind you, and the future is yet to come. The only moment that truly exists is the present one that you are in right now while you are reading this.

4. Surround yourself with positive influences and support

Surrounding yourself with positive influences and a strong support system is crucial when letting go of the past and finding happiness. Negative people and toxic relationships can hold you back and prevent you from moving forward. Remember that you are not responsible for those toxic people, their behaviour or how they respond to you. They alone are responsible for that.

Instead, seek out friends, family members, or support groups who uplift and encourage you. Surround yourself with people who believe in your potential and inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Additionally, engage in activities and consume media that promote positivity and personal growth. Fill your life with positive influences that align with your values and aspirations. By surrounding yourself with positivity, you create an environment that fosters happiness and helps you let go of the past and move on.

5. Cultivate gratitude and embrace new opportunities for growth and happiness

One of the key steps to letting go of the past and finding happiness is to cultivate gratitude and embrace new opportunities for growth. Gratitude allows you to shift your focus from what went wrong in the past to what is going right in the present. Take time each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for, whether it’s a supportive friend, a beautiful sunset, or a small accomplishment. This practice helps to rewire your brain to focus on the positive aspects of life and brings new and positive energy into your everyday.

In addition to gratitude, embracing new opportunities for growth and happiness is essential. This can involve trying new hobbies, taking on new challenges, or pursuing personal development. By stepping outside of your comfort zone and embracing new experiences, you open yourself up to a world of possibilities and potential. Remember, growth and happiness often go hand in hand. Embrace the journey of self-discovery and allow yourself to evolve and grow into the person you want to be. Letting go of the past becomes easier when you are involved in an activity you enjoy and are focused on creating a brighter future.

6. Post-Traumatic Growth

Since the pandemic, Brexit, the collapse of banks, the cost of living crisis, and rising inflation and mortgage rates, (as well as what life normally throws at us), it’s fair to say we have all struggled a bit. We could even go so far as to say that we have collectively been experiencing traumatic events over a long period of time. This often leads to post-traumatic growth and is something I believe many of us are facing, but this is a good thing… hear me out.

Post-traumatic growth refers to positive psychological change resulting from a struggle with traumatic or highly challenging life circumstances. Experiencing a traumatic event can have a transformational role in personality among certain individuals and facilitate growth. There’s heaps of research about this and from my own experience as a stroke survivor, it can have a profound impact on your life as it can move you onto a different path that’s full of new opportunities.

This proves that it’s not the adversity that counts… it’s how you deal with it that really matters. That’s the key to understanding how to let go of the past and be happy right now.

What has connected with you the most in this article and how will you let go of the past and find happiness in your life? Get in touch and let me know if you have any other recommendations on how to let go of the past and be happy.

Inspired Zest For Life

About the Author

Some call me an idealist but I prefer optimist and I'm on a mission to bring something of value to this rollercoaster ride we're on. I want to give you a practical guide to help you find more happiness and zest for life. All achieved by revitalising the way you think, eat, move and live... so you feel inspired and excited about your future and can attract the life and business of your dreams.

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