Letting go is difficult. For many, it’s definitely easier said than done.

Life presents you with several opportunities to let go of the baggage of the past, open yourself to new opportunities and embrace the future.

Yet from time to time, you find yourself ruminating endlessly about your past, holding on to past hurts, blaming others for your pain and reliving it over and over again in your mind.

This not only causes you to be unhappy but also makes you miss out on the beauty of life as it happens.

The more you hold on to your past, the harder it will be for you to move on and be truly happy. So, learn how to clear your mind of unhappy memories.

Learn how to let go of your past and move on
Learn how to let go of your past and move on

If you have trouble leaving the past behind you, here are some ways to let go of your past and move on.

  1. Accept and be thankful for your past experiences. Embrace life’s changes and accept your circumstances. Acceptance will help you let go of your past. Be thankful for your past experiences and learn from them. Know that every experience teaches you something.
  2. Decide to let go. Make a commitment to let go of the past. For you to move on, you need to purge the past hurts and guilt. It may not happen overnight, but it starts with making a choice to look forward instead of back.

    Decide to let go of past hurts and guilt
    Decide to let go of past hurts and guilt
  3. Remind yourself of the benefits of letting go. Remind yourself that letting go will release you of all the shame, regret and guilt of your past. You will be free of the internal torture. Letting it go will open you up to new possibilities.
  4. Stop rehashing your past. People often tend to rehash a past incident in the hope of finding some new insight into what happened. But what you need to remember is that rehashing your past is not going to serve any useful purpose. On the contrary, it will make you suffer more. Accepting the fact that we don’t always know why certain things happen will help you move on.
  5. Focus on things that you can change. Don’t waste your energy worrying about things that cannot be changed. If you cannot change something, focus on changing the way you think about it or letting it go.
  6. Take control of your life. You are the only one responsible for your life. This includes what you choose to spend your time thinking about.
  7. Embrace stillness. Meditation will help you find stillness and focus on the present moment. Take long breaths and remain calm. Stillness will help keep you away from the chaotic, busy and noisy world around you. In such moments, it will help you find clarity.
  8. Believe in yourself. When you start believing in yourself and have faith in your decisions and actions, you surround yourself with a positive vibe that will help overshadow your mistakes, guilt and bad memories from the past.
  9. Start living in the present. Whenever you find yourself revisiting the past in your head, focus on your present. Know that you cannot change the past.All you can do is make your today the best day. The more you focus on your present moment, the less time you have to ruminate over your past. Focus on the best things of your present situation. Tell yourself, “That was past and it’s over. Now I’m focusing on my happiness in the present.” You need to let go of your past and move on.
  10. Let peace fill you up. When you feel you’re in the present moment, try to focus on your breathing. With each breath you take, imagine peace and serenity entering your system. Feel your body releasing the pain and past.

    Strive for inner peace to let go of the past
    Strive for inner peace to let go of the past
  11. Journal your emotions. Express your feelings and emotions in a journal. Allow yourself to express all your feelings. Once you are done writing, read it back to yourself. Now ask yourself whether these thoughts are worth holding onto and whether these thoughts will help you in your future? Be honest and identify thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back, so you know what to work on letting go. Make this your routine.
  12. Make a list of your accomplishments and keep adding a new one to the list every day. Making a list of your accomplishments will help keep you focused on the present. It will also help you see progress toward your goals for the future. When you mind is focused in this way, there’s little room left for thoughts about your past.
  13. Engage in physical activity. When you exert yourself physically, it decreases the level of stress hormones and raises the levels of endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in your system. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body.

    Physical activity reduces stress and triggers the release of endorphins that generate positive feelings in you
    Physical activity reduces stress and triggers the release of endorphins that generate positive feelings in you
  14. Release emotions through a creative outlet. Find a creative outlet to release bottled up emotions. Paint, draw, cook, plant a garden or compose lyrics. Creativity connects you to yourself. Try to do something that is constructive and helps you express yourself.
  15. Read instead of listening to music. Instead of turning on the tunes, read a captivating book. Reading is intellectually challenging and it pulls your mind into the moment. Music can drag you back into your past. Get an inspirational book on tape and listen to it whenever you notice yourself slipping back into the past.

    Read an intellectually-challenging and inspiring book to let go of your past
    Read an intellectually-challenging and inspiring book to let go of your past
  16. Make someone’s life better. When you find yourself regretting your past decisions or brooding over your past, try and find a way to make someone else’s day. Buy food for someone who cannot afford it, offer a smile to a stranger, put in some hours at an orphanage. Contributing to the well-being of others will help put your circumstances into perspective.
  17. Visualize forgiving. Imagine forgiving the person who hurt you in the past. See yourself as no longer hurt and unhappy. When you forgive, you let go of all the heaviness that’s been holding you hostage. Forgiveness helps you release the past and see the reality.
  18. Forgive yourself. Making mistakes is part of being human. Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Only when you forgive yourself will you be able to find happiness.
  19. Let go of anger and resentment. Anger and resentment holds you back. They are toxic feelings that keep you trapped in the past. If you hold on to anger and remorse, it will never let you get out of the negativity. To attain a positive attitude, you need to let go of anger and resentment.
  20. Act free of the past. Your brain believes your body. When you act free of the past, you begin to feel free as your mind tends to believe it. Stop dwelling over your past mistakes or avoid talking about your past relationship. As this becomes your routine, your brain starts believing in the new positive you.
  21. Make new memories. Keep yourself busy. Join an activity club, meet new people and make new friends. Doing something new every day makes new, happy memories and helps you let go of your past and move on.