Spring Cleaning for your Emotional Life

spring cleaningSpring is a time of new beginnings, growth, hope. It’s also the time of year to clean out the garage and closets, discard what’s broken or obsolete. Perhaps you’ll find some treasures among the junk as well.

But when’s the last time you cleaned out your emotional life? Things can pile up in our emotional life as well. Sometimes you’re just too busy to deal with our feelings; We stuff them in the “closet” like an old blouse. Or perhaps fear or lack of coping skills has led to the pile up of emotional baggage.

Spring is the perfect time to tackle some of these projects. The weather is nice. There are more hours of daylight. We often feel more energized and motivated this time of year. I encourage you to make a list of worries, concerns, unresolved issues or feelings. Pay attention to what keeps you up at night or negative behaviors (over eating, smoking, road rage, etc). Seeking the help of a friend or professional can help keep you on track with your goals to wade through some of these emotional issues. Having help can also give support through the difficult emotions and memories you may encounter.

I also encourage you to bring in some positives (people, hobbies, gratitude, rest). Having things to look forward to and enjoy helps balance the hard work of tackling your worries and hardships.

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Sharon Martin, a licensed counselor and psychotherapist in the San Jose area, specializes in helping adult children of alcoholics and others who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, and self-criticism. She has a private psychotherapy practice in Campbell, CA where she is available for in-person counseling. Sharon is also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism.