Photo credit: Stewart Nimmo / Development West Coast

Hanging on to stuff has to be one of the biggest drags on our brains.

And when I say “stuff,” I mean in all of the forms: holding on to the past, holding on to emotions, holding on to physical things, holding on to people.

It all clutters our minds and our time. It drags us down and holds us back. It makes forward progress hard.

Key for me in letting go of something is to acknowledge that it’s usefulness has run its course and that it is holding me back in some way, large or small.

The crap taking up space in my closet? It holds me back from easily accessing my every day clothes. Sometimes that even makes me late for work, as I deal with the frustration of not being able to find the thing I wanted to wear. Or any of the things I wanted to wear.

The ruminations about something from the past? That takes up so much of my energy and makes me sad. It impacts my thoughts and sometimes harms today’s self-esteem.

The situation earlier today that put me in a really bad mood? Well, that mood impacted decisions I made for the rest of the day. What might I have done differently or better if I had let go of that mood as soon as possible?

The person who once brought so much joy to my life, but now only heartache and stress? Might I regain a sense of self if I let them go? Or perhaps energy that they drain from me?

I have learned in every situation that I need to stop, acknowledge what the thing has done for me, and that it’s time is over, and let it go. Letting go of the past is hardest for me, so I do this process over and over. When something hard from my past surfaces, I will actually say in my head, “Yes, that was hard, but it is done.” Acknowledging the finality of it and that I no longer have to be in that moment helps me release it faster.

Clutter is probably the easiest for me to let go, although I do need a particular focus to deal with it. But my process is similar. “That did the job I needed it to do. Now it’s done.” If it’s a sentimental item, I remind myself that the memory is never lost and that the experiences I had which led to the sentimental feeling is what was truly important.

Letting go can be a bit addictive. The space that releasing frees up in your life can be transformative. When you let go of something that has run its course for you, you open up room for better things to come along.