When something ends unexpectedly-a relationship, a job-it's natural to crave an explanation, and with it, closure. I know this from experience: A few years ago, a very good friend cut me off completely. I was devastated, but worse, years later, I was still obsessing over whether I could have mended the rift. "Women want to tie up loose ends because we have an irrational fear that letting something go means losing control," says Larina Kase, Psy.D., a life coach in Philadelphia. I tried Kase's tips to free me from thoughts about my ex-pal. Use this advice whenever you need to come to terms with uncertainty.
STEAL A PEARL OF WISDOM
"Often we can't move on because we haven't yet learned what we're supposed to from a difficult situation," Kase says. After contemplating whether I'd actually gained some insight from my suffering, I realized I now have a clearer sense of what I need (support) and don't need (capriciousness) from my inner circle.
TALK YOURSELF OUT OF IT
Jot down all the reasons you should stop brooding, then circle the most convincing one, Kase suggests. The best argument on my list: "I need to invest this energy in people who are truly there for me." Repeat your statement to yourself if you start to stew.
DO A SLOW FADE
When painful feelings inevitably arise, "think of the emotions as a song on the radio and turn the volume down low," Kase says. "It's not about forcing the feelings away but acknowledging them, then shifting your focus to something more productive."
Express yourself on paper, then destroy the evidence. "You will send yourself the message that you've accepted the situation," Kase says. So I wrote a note telling my friend she'd hurt me. But before I shredded it, I realized I'd penned something shocking: "I forgive you." Knowing I had that capacity freed me, finally, to do just that.
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