You Can Manage Stress by Letting Go of the Past

People often carry hurts from the past along with them. Instead, let go of those things and set your mind on the promise of the future.  In fact, according to research being conducted by Call for Backup, it appears that only about 12% of first responders would say that they “always” resolve hurts or issues from the past and look forward to a promising future.

Many of the past issues that cause the most distress have to do with unresolved personal conflicts.  When we learn how to handle conflict better, we not only help our relationships, but we help ourselves stay healthier and more resilient against stress.  To help avoid conflicts that continue to hurt you, try practicing these simple principles:

  • First, make conflict resolution the priority rather than winning or "being right."  Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than “winning” the argument, should always be your first priority.   Be respectful of the other person and their viewpoint. 
  • Next, focus on the present.  If you’re holding on to grudges based on past conflicts, your ability to see the reality of the current situation will be impaired.  Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the here-and-now to solve the problem. 
  • Then, be willing to forgive.  Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive others. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can serve only to deplete and drain your life. 
  • Finally, know when to let something go.  If you can’t come to an agreement, determine whether the disagreement is significant enough to maintain the relationship. Since it takes two people to keep an argument going, if a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.

Today, you can throw away grudges from the past, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with extending forgiveness.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. What are the barriers that make it difficult for me to forgive?
  2. How does forgiveness make me happier?
  3. Is there one person I could choose to forgive today?

If you’d like to speak to one of our peer support specialists about how to manage the stress of work or life in general, feel free to reach out to us at and someone will be happy to chat with you.  If you are in crisis, please text the keyword BADGE to the National Crisis Text Line where you can be connected to a trained crisis counselor, 24/7/365.  Always free.  Always confidential.

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