As the seasons change, counsellor Sarah Barr shares tips on changing our thoughts to enjoy new beginnings.

“October is about trees revealing colours they’ve hidden all year.

People have an October as well” – Jm Storm.

Autumn is the season of letting go. I absolutely love this time of year. Like trees it about letting go, becoming lighter and embracing change.

Autumn is a time of reflection, when we become more aware of the stresses and worries we have been carrying.

Like the trees letting go of their leaves, we can let go of unwanted, negative thoughts or unhelpful patterns of behaviour.

Letting go is a topic that comes up quite a bit in counselling sessions.

 But what exactly does letting go mean? 

Well we all have mental/emotional attachments to:

  • Our feelings / emotions
  • Situations / environment
  • Beliefs about ourselves and others
  • Past decisions / mistakes
  • Opinions and judgments.

“Remember, when you forgive, you heal. And when you let go, you grow”.

By nature these attachments can be quite rigid and not very flexible. Sometimes the more we hold on to things or people the more we can suffer.

When you realise you have the choice to hold on or to let go, it can be so liberating. You have a choice to how you perceive things, situations or people. How you see things will have a direct effect on how much you suffer.

Letting go is an important step in freeing yourself from sadness, worry and negative feelings.

Letting go can also lift that weight off, free you from punishing yourself further and open up to self-forgiveness.

Letting go is hard. It can take time and practice.

It takes work to break ourselves out of old habits of thinking and behaving.

Letting go is personal, there is no one size fits all, everyone and every situation is unique.

Below is a list of suggestions that can help you to let go:

  • Practice meditation/yoga:

Check out what classes/groups are available in your area. Or alternatively follow a step by step guide on youtube.

  • Exercise:

Usually solitude exercises such as walking or running, will give you the headspace to think things through.

  • CBT:

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is a technique involving worksheets, practiced by counsellors to help you re-frame your thoughts and to create new thinking patterns. There is CBT workshops delivered throughout Donegal and Derry. I would suggest checking out Well Woman in Derry for a list of upcoming courses/workshops.

  • Practice Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is about being consciously aware of what you are doing and living ‘in the moment.’ When your mind is wandering, bring it back to what you are doing in the present moment. This could include mentally returning to washing the dishes or even refocusing your attention on a tv show. This topic will be covered in more detail in next weeks article.

  • Talk to a Friend:

Sometimes it can feel very much like it is only you that has problems and who finds it hard to move on. It is not just you. We all have a story, we all have faced hard times, we all have our own mountain to climb. We just don’t all talk openly about it. Sometimes we can hide behind our ‘masks’. Sometimes we just need an invitation into a conversation, permitting us to talk about how we really feel.

It only takes one person to start that conversation. Could that person be you?

  • Saying Goodbye:

Possibly one of the hardest things to do. Sometimes we do not get our chance to say goodbye. Sometimes we become stuck, finding it difficult to move on. Sometimes in counselling we talk about writing a ‘Goodbye Letter’ to a loved one. This is not easy nor is it quick. It is a process, a process of letting go and healing. When the letter is written, it is sometimes suggested to visit a place that reminds you of that person, and reading the letter aloud. Freeing the words. Afterwards, it is up to you what to do with your letter. Some place the letter in the sea, some bury it and some may choose to burn the letter. This process helps to let go and move

Afterwards, it is up to you what to do with your letter. Some place the letter in the sea, some bury it and some may choose to burn the letter. This process helps to let go and move on, if it something you wish to do.

  • Ask for help:

No matter what, you are not alone. If you feel you are, I would ask you to reach out. I can be contacted through my Facebook page or by calling 086 4477867. We can meet (free) and talk. You don’t have to this alone. Support, guidance and counselling are available in Donegal to help you.

Change and growth are possible!

Take Care ~ Sarah.