I think a lot about ways we can make more space in our lives. You know the kind of space I mean: room to breathe, room to think big and to dwell on possibility, room to be alone with ourselves, freedom to do more of what sustains and enriches us.
I often give tips to help you change the circumstances of your life to create more space by paring down, becoming more productive, saying no, etc. This can really help. Economizing how you spend your time and energy frees up a lot of space.
Are Your Thoughts Taking Up Too Much Space?
Now I'm going to shift the focus to thoughts, which take up a whole lot of space too. If you tune into your thoughts for too long, you'll notice that your mind is probably working overtime. What's taking up so much space in there? Most likely it's chatter about the future and the past, or a voice that's telling you what you "should" be doing or feeling (I call this "shoulding" on yourself). Maybe it's a critical voice that offers cruel judgments to you.
In future posts, I'll address the others, but for today, I'd like to focus on thoughts of the past and how to clear them. Why? Because they take up a whole lot of space and they can cause anxiety, self-doubt and affect our future decisions.
Past Regrets That Linger
Think about it. Do you have something you have done that you really regret? A terrible decision you made? Think about it right now. Ouch. What happens in your body when you think of it? (I'm thinking of mine - I'm feeling all hot and my shoulders hurt. And like I just got slimed.) Now, what thoughts are coming up for you? Write them down. Odds are, they read something like this (these are mine):
1) How could I have been so stupid?
2) That really made my life difficult
3) I'd be so much further along if I hadn't done that-such a setback.
Now, here's the problem. If we're really stuck in this thinking, then every time any of these thoughts come up, we beat ourselves up again. We replay these stories. We tell ourselves how much we suck. We experience those feelings of tension and anxiety, both physically and emotionally.