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7 Things You Can Do To Offload Baggage—Now!

Excerpted from Note to Self: A Seven Step Path to Gratitude and Growth

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Happy woman in grass

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Each of us enters the world empty-handed and unencumbered. Yet somehow, as we travel life’s path we start to acquire baggage. The small, parcel-size luggage that we tend to keep within arm’s reach might contain things like frustration, stubbornness, anger, boredom, and jealousy. The larger, cumbersome pieces contain deep, burdensome issues that have a profound, underlying impact. These might include nonforgiveness, depression, revenge, and guilt.

Offloading baggage is especially important when we realize that we don’t just pack for one; we pack for seven. Each of the seven selves has characteristics, wellness types, and shadows. Each plays a vital role in harmony, overall health, and well-being:

Self-preservation is responsible for survival and physical wellness; its purpose is to enhance our sense of groundedness. When healthy, this self functions from a place of courage.

A proactive technique to offload some of the contents in baggage associated with self-preservation is through proper breathing. The key to healthy breathing is to have longer exhalations than inhalations. In fact, they should be twice as long. This not only purges toxins but promotes vital energy, relaxation, and healing. The average adult utilizes only about one quart of their six-to-seven-quart lung capacity.

Self-gratification is responsible for pleasure and occupational wellness; its purpose is to increase our sense of delight. When healthy, this self functions from a place of personal respect.

One of the ways to offload some of the contents in baggage associated with self-gratification is to intentionally set aside our busyness and schedule time to play the piano, read a book, take a long leisurely walk, play with a puppy, lie on our back in the yard and watch the clouds dance across the sky, go out to a restaurant with a friend, skip stones on a lake, visit a museum, or sit under a tree to experience silence again.

Self-definition is responsible for personal power and social wellness; its purpose is to cultivate our inner landscape. When healthy, this self functions from a place of humble dignity.

An action step to offload some of the contents in baggage associated with self-definition is to intentionally reach out to cultivate and nurture relationships that are based on mutual commitment, trust, and respect. This fosters a willingness to share thoughts and feelings. One of the hallmarks of social wellness is being inclusive, rather than exclusive, with our friendship.

Self-acceptance is responsible for love and emotional wellness; its purpose is to develop our emotional empowerment. When healthy, this self functions from a place of compassion and forgiveness.

An effective way to offload some of the contents in baggage associated with self-acceptance is to not underestimate the influence you have on others. Our individual ripple effect is the power of one generating hope and change in others for a better world. And, like ripples in a pond when a pebble’s tossed in, compassion is powerful and has far-reaching, positive ramifications that bring about a tremendous sense of joy.

Self-expression is responsible for creativity and environmental wellness; its purpose is to unleash our creative flair. When healthy, this self functions from a place of original thought.

One of the ways to offload some of the contents in baggage associated with self-expression is the use of essential oils. Chamomile, linden blossom, cypress, petitgrain, basil, peppermint, hyssop, rosewood, or rosemary helps to eliminate fears associated with creativity and self-expression and boosts confidence in expressing ourselves fully and truthfully. These essential oils encourage awakening, creativity, fulfillment, encouragement, direction, clarity, balance, and harmony.

Self-reflection is responsible for intuition and intellectual wellness; its purpose is to boost our awareness. When healthy, this self functions from a place of endless possibilities.

A proactive technique to offload some of the contents in baggage associated with self-reflection is to take a class, read, learn a new skill, cultivate a hobby, or appreciate the arts. These types of pursuits stimulate the mind, keep us actively engaged with the world around us, and enhance creativity.

Self-knowledge is responsible for divine connection and spiritual wellness; its purpose is to strengthen the connection with our higher self. When healthy, this self functions from a place of present-moment awareness.

The path to spiritual wellness is a personal, unique journey. It may include affirmation, meditation, prayer, or specific spiritual practices that support our convictions, but it may not. It may include aligning ourself with a religious group or spiritual community of like-minded people, but it may not.

What’s important is that each of us discovers for ourself our individual sense of meaning, our exclusive purpose, and that each of us lives in a way that’s consistent with our personal values and beliefs.


Excerpted from Note to Self: A Seven Step Path to Gratitude and Growth by Laurie Buchanan, PhD. Copyright 2016. Reprinted with permission by She Writes Press.


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