Day 5: Why letting go is hard….

We hold onto our stuff for all kinds of reasons. It has sentimental value.We think it will come in useful later. We spent our hard-earned money on it so even if we aren’t using it we feel we need to hold onto it because it’s “valuable”.The reality is we aren’t using the stuff and we are afraid that we’ve wasted a lot of our hard-earned money. We don’t want to face that fact so we hold onto it and kid ourselves that we’ll get some use out of it in the future.

Marie Kondo’s method of focusing on one category is particularly effective in bringing you face to face with that reality. She recommends you take all the items out from where they have been stored and pile them in one room.

Now you can’t help but see:

a. how many items of a particularly category you have accumulated
b. how much money you have spent on them
c. how little or how much use you’ve gotten out of the items

Researchers at Yale University recently identified two areas in your brain associated with pain, the anterior cingulate cortex and insula, that light up in response to letting go of items you own and feel a connection towards. This is the same area of the brain that lights up when you feel physical pain from drinking coffee that’s too hot.

Your brain views the loss of your valued possessions in the same way as something that causes you physical pain. The more you commit emotionally or financially to an item, the more you want to keep it around.

When we bring new stuff into our lives, we immediately associate value to them. This makes it harder for us to give them up in the future. It is this psychological connection to things that leads us to accumulate them.

Tonight, we will be looking at how we can cut some of those chords.

To your uncluttered soulspace!