Welcome to 2011! With the beginning of a new year, you’re probably focused on making those resolutions work. So, here’s an easy strategy that can help you succeed this year. Often what prevents you from following through on your new goals are all those unresolved issues from your past that weigh you down, slow you down, and trip you up.
What you need is closure, an emotional conclusion to a difficult life event. Believe it or not, the term closure isn’t just a metaphor. When you literally seal away your trouble, you experience relief. A new study, recently published in Psychology Science, found that when volunteers physically enclosed a written recollection related to a disappointment, unpleasant experience, or unresolved sorrow into a box or envelope and sealed it up, they experienced diminished negative feelings towards the event, creating psychological closure. In short, if you want to feel better, write out what’s troubling you, put it in an envelope, seal it up and move on.
Here’s a really fun video clip that explains the effects of physical enclosure on psychological closure.
How does this work? Sealing up the emotional content appears to diminish the actual memory of the upsetting event. This contributes to the psychological closure needed to put the pain in the past.
As you move into a new year, it’s time to clean up the emotional clutter of years past. Why not give this a try? Write about that disappointment or unpleasant experience. Seal it up in an envelope or box. Decide how you want to dispose of the container. You could recycle it, bury it, give it to a friend, put it in the attic. Now you’ve made space for new and better memories. Happy new year!