THE BLOG
11/17/2014 02:21 pm ET Updated Jan 17, 2015

The Benefits of Forgetting

How many things are you trying to keep track of at this moment?

Did you respond to all of the latest communications you received on Facebook, Twitter, your texts, your emails or even all your phone messages?

The project you're supposed to have finished for work in one hour, and the new one that your boss just handed you that's needed ASAP?

The meetings you have scheduled all your children's appointments with the coaches, play dates, tutors and lessons?

Your password for your new email account, or was that the one for your bank account?

The list for many of you may seem endless, and you likely feel anxious just thinking about all that you have to remember. And it's no coincidence that the more you have on your plate, the more you likely find yourself misplacing your car keys, leaving your purse in a restaurant or completely forgetting about an appointment. Your mind is simply overloaded.

Our minds are very much like computers. When you have too much stored in your memory, or too many programs open at the same time, the system will slow down and eventually crash.

Plus, everything you are trying not to remember is pulling at your awareness as well. All our unpleasant experiences from the past are also like programs open in the background pulling at our consciousness and draining our energy reserves.

In fact, according to a study in Nature, our awareness is limited to only three or four objects at any given time. To be able to think at your highest level, you therefore must be very efficient at filtering out all of the background noise: Your racing thoughts, the ringing phone, your neighbor's barking dog, and the list goes on.

The Nature study found that when participants were asked to "hold in mind" certain objects while ignoring others, there are significant variations in how well each of us can keep irrelevant objects out of our awareness.

The researchers concluded that your memory capacity is therefore not simply about storage space, but rather "how efficiently irrelevant information is excluded from using up vital storage capacity."

In other words, the more you are able to filter your mind and the information it contains -- and hold on to only the most important information - the better you will be able to focus.

You probably also have already noticed that when you are upset it is even harder to filter out the irrelevant. In fact, we can be so obsessed with what we are upset about that we do even know we are forgetting what is important.

Your ability to make decisions effectively is also swayed by information you may not even know is there, according to a study in The Journal of Neuroscience.

In this study, the researchers found that when you make decisions, even seemingly simple, rational ones, you may be influenced by subconscious factors, some that you may not even know exist.

How to Clear Your Mind and Stop Overloading Your System

So how can you allow your mind to focus on what's important, and let go of all the miscellaneous information and subconscious cues in between? How can you create a state of natural mindfulness?

In addition to the obvious things like using your smartphone to remind you of your appointments and using password organizing software, there is a much more powerful way to clear you mind that will produce lasting effects on all parts of your life including your memory. Letting go!

It's important to let go of ALL irrelevant information in your life, especially emotionally charged events. When you think about it, you don't really need to be holding on to the anger you felt from your breakup with your high school sweetheart, or the embarrassment you felt when you sent that compromising "selfie" to your whole list.

When you let go of your emotional charges from your past, you retain the wisdom but stop overloading your system. This results in greater inner clarity and well-being. It also makes it much easier to learn and remember new information.

Technique for Clearing Your Heart and Mind

Here is a simple process you can do right now to start clearing your memory and your mind from all the excess baggage.

Do your best to answer these questions with your heart instead of your head while avoiding over analyzing and debating about the right answer. Also, be as honest as you can with your responses. Often, you will let go even if you say "no."

Think of something that you are either trying to remember, like a password, or something that you are trying to forget, like a past disappointment.

Now, in this moment simply ask yourself this series of questions:

  1. Could I welcome or allow whatever this issue is bringing up in my mind and heart?
  2. Could I let the feeling this brings up go as best I can?
  3. Would I?
  4. When?
  5. Could I allow myself to open to the vast open storehouse of intelligence and energy that is right within me?

Each time you take yourself through the above questions you will get some relief. Be patient with yourself and be persistent with this exploration and you will see results. If you apply yourself you can get to the point where you are relaxed and at ease even when you appear to be under pressure and you will have more than enough energy to pursue your worthy goals.

And letting go will free you to learn new information while retaining an inner feeling of calm that you will excel in areas of your life you never thought possible. This is because when you stop wasting energy on bad memories and life's many irrelevant details, you become free to use this new found energy on the things that really do matter.

And when you do this, the possibilities of achievement and happiness are endless.

Please comment below and share this post with people that you care about.

Love,

Hale

This post is based on the principles explored in his New York Times bestselling book The Sedona Method; Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success and Emotional Wellbeing, in his retreats and on Letting Go: The Sedona Method Movie. It is based on over three decades of experience with a simple, powerful, elegant and easy-to-learn technique that shows you how to tap your natural ability to let go instantaneously of any uncomfortable or unwanted feeling, thought or belief. For more information, visit www.Sedona.com.