Nurturing and holding on to negative thoughts helps them grow and invade your personal space. They warp your attitudes, skew your judgment, distort your vision, and negatively impact the people around you. They feel like they weigh a ton after you carry them around for any length of time. So stop carrying this burden!
There are simple rituals you can perform to help you release your negative thoughts. Rituals are ceremonies. They can be big or small. Either way, they’re conscious acts that mark something’s importance, whether it’s welcoming something new into our lives or letting go of something old. Rituals help us symbolize our intentions’ importance and infuse them with meaning and significance. They mark an attempt to change. In this case, rituals will have a three-fold purpose: to honor the past for what we learned from it, to release what is no longer serving us, and be welcoming of what lies ahead.
All of these rituals are rooted in mindfulness. So in each ritual, it’s important to not only think, but to clearly speak your intention. Articulate the relationship, situation, challenge, or whatever it is that’s holding you back, and mindfully, physically, and thoughtfully release it.
The Water Ritual
There’s an old Japanese proverb that means, loosely translated, “Let old things drift away on the water.” Keeping this in mind, create a cleaning ritual that intends to wash away the things you’re holding on to. And it’s as simple as washing your hands. You can do this in a river or in the ocean. You can even use your garden hose or your kitchen sink. Any of these will be able to cleanse you of your negativity.
The Earth Ritual
Place anything that reminds you or attaches you to what you want to be free of in a biodegradable box. If it’s thoughts, write them out on paper and place the paper in the box. Then dig a hole in the ground and set the box in the hole. As you cover the box with earth, mindfully say out loud what you’re letting go of. Thank it for what it has given to you. Then put it all to rest. For extra significance, perform this ritual at dusk and, if possible, at the full moon, which represents endings.
The Air Ritual
You can perform this ritual in a place or on a day with significant wind, or use an electric fan. Write down the challenges, disappointments, and negative thoughts you want to release. Tear the paper into small pieces and hold them in your hands. Then open your hands and release the little bits of paper into the air.
The Burning Ritual
As with the wind ritual, start out by writing down whatever is keeping you anchored or holding you back. Then as you exclaim your intention to release what’s written on the paper, burn it. This releases the negativity to the Universe to handle.
The Cord Cutting Ritual
This ritual can help free you from negative thoughts. It cuts the attachments that are binding you to the things and people that don’t have a place in your life anymore. Form your fingers into the shape of a scissors. State who or what you’re cutting ties with, and then use your scissors to “cut” around your body. This ritual cuts your attachment to negative thoughts, experiences, and people.
One final note: after you’ve finished your rituals, it may help you to take an actual physical step forwards. This solidifies your intentions to enter the future free of your attachments to the past and of the negativity that it contained. Now you’re absolutely making a fresh start!