I was a born worrier. It’s in my DNA, I’m sure of it. I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn’t feel like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders.
A part of this comes from being a empathetic person. I feel how other people are feeling. I am aware of their state of mind. I pick up on the subtleties of their actions. It can be both a blessing and a curse. Sure, I am quick to understand another person’s state of being, but sometimes I do think ignorance might be bliss.
For most of my life I thought it was my responsibility to help others if I knew they were in need. This has a two-fold effect. Firstly, I was so caught up in trying to fix everybody else’s problems that there was never time for sorting my own life out. And secondly, I began to attract needy people into my life who wanted fixing, or who liked having someone around that would sort them out.
As you can imagine, it wasn’t the healthiest of situations to be in and the result was severe on my mental health.
Being able to ‘read’ people doesn’t mean I should, nor have to.
The hardest lesson I’ve had to learn is how to ‘let go’, to switch off, to focus on myself and the important things in my own life. Prioritising and checking myself has been key, but ultimately it is the art of letting go that has had direct positive effects on my overall happiness.
Here are some of the things I do as part of my ‘art of letting go’ techniques.
The Art of Letting Go
Changing perception of a given circumstance
When they so ‘yo, go check yo’self!’ it sure does work. If a circumstance or action by another person is getting you down, take a minute to change your perspective and CHOOSE how you want it to make you feel.
Whether you take up yoga, meditation, mindfulness or simply centre your thoughts, concentrate on the very here and now, and push thoughts of the past from your mind.
Focus on positive output
Take action on something that is positive and lifts your spirits. Not only is this the classic ‘take your mind of things’ but by taking action you will feel a sense of accomplishment.
If your mind is cloudy and full of negative thoughts try expressing them through the creative means such as free-writing, making music, painting, or anything using your hands.
Embrace the emotion
Instead of burying your feelings, say to yourself ‘ok, I’m going to feel this, ride it out, and then let it go’. Give yourself permission to have those emotions and then draw a line under them.
Remove, change or accept
In any given situation you can only do one of these three things – remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it.
One therapist I spoke to in the past recommended visualising the problem as a ball, package it up, fill it with the entire situation, problem or person and then, in my mind, throw the ball away. It’s surprisingly freeing. Others might find it useful to write it all down on a piece of paper then throw the paper in the bin, or burn it.
Recognise what you can learn from the experience
Take a moment to identify and acknowledge what you can learn from the situation so you no longer need to hold onto it.
Almost every single stress-relieving technique involves taking deep breaths. We all know that it works. But sometimes we need reminding. Take those deep breaths.
Find an opportunity to laugh, whether it is watching a comedy show or funny film at the cinema, or hanging out with your funniest friend. Laughter is scientifically proven to ease stress and even pain.
This means concentrating on the things that have positive and nourishing outcomes for you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Focus on this – loving myself means letting go.
The art of letting go is a super useful skill to take on board for a healthier, happier life.
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