We all have worries and regrets that we carry around, sometimes our entire lives. The time we spend ruminating over the past and the future wears us down and can bring with it a lot of pain and unease. The only way to get past the constant worry is to learn to let go and give yourself permission to live a full life. Let us quickly go over five simple ways of letting go that work.
Let go of things you can’t control
We can try to control every detail, overthink things, and hold on to the illusion that we actually have control in our lives. That takes up a lot of energy. If you are to effectively let go and enjoy life though it’s important to accept that there are many things beyond your control. Learning to focus your attention on what you can deal with and leaving the rest to God, if you are a spitirual person, can not only bring you peace, but allow you to use your time and energy more wisely.
Learn to be in the present moment
So much of our attention can be spent ruminating over the past or worrying about an unknown future. This means that the present moment escapes us entirely. But the fact is the present moment is all that we have. The past is already gone. The future is something you do not have yet. This very instant is all that you have. By staying in the moment, you get to let go of the burdens of the past and the anxieties of the future. This does not mean you don’t spend time learning from the past or visualizing and taking time to plan for the future. Those are important tasks that can inform how you currently live your life. It does mean though noticing when you are shortchanging your life in the here and now by constantly visiting what was or living in what you imagine may be ahead.
Mindfulness is intentional awareness or consciousness of the present moment with non-judgment. A central tenet of mindfulness is letting go. It is a beautiful practice to help you remain present and let go of the ruminations or daydreams about the past and the future. We learn we have a choice about how we respond to our stream of consciousness and our thoughts and we learn to make a conscious choice rather than our usual automatic response. That means we both acknoweldge and let go of unnecessary pains and worries over things in the past and things we cannot control. We don’t always make the choice we would have liked. Mindfulness doesn’t make anyone superhuman or perfect. Perfection is not possible. Mindfulness does help us recover more quickly though and more compassionately. And, it cultivates the mental fortitude required to dwell in the present moment and let go. The past and future no longer dominate our energy.
Learn to forgive
Many people hold on to grudges and are held down by anger. Anger, like any other emotion, has its rightful place and serves a purpose. Bottling up and chronically holding on to these strong emotions though keeps us tied to the past. Forgiveness brings a certain level of peace and frees us from staying stuck in what holds us back. Forgiving oneself is just as important as forgiving others. When one is in the midst of changing their relationship with food, for instance, setbacks happen. Letting the shame and guilt go and engaging in more of a non-judgmental curious reflection is an important part of the process to moving forward in the mindful eating journey.
Embrace new experiences
We can hold on to the familiar, even when the familiar is uncomfortable, out of fear. The fear may be for a number of reasons: fear of the unknown, fear of the impact on existing relationships or income, fear of a change in social status, fear of what others might think, fear of failure… Fear, just like anger, also serves a purpose. It is an important survival instinct. Fear can go into overdrive though and cause us to unnecessarily hold on to painful memories, cling to toxic relationships or jobs, and resort to habits that are harmful to our health for comfort. What would it be like to let that go? Facing change with a sense of courage, curiousity, and adventure can lead to a more centered and vibrant life. Bit by bit, step by step, moving out of your comfort zone and letting go of those things that aren’t really in alignment with your values and goals can present a range of new, wonderful, and exciting opportunities. Where might fear be holding you back and preventing you from embracing new possibilities?
In conclusion, with some courage, acceptance, mindfulness, and a forgiving heart among other things, you can successfully let go of what’s keeping you stuck, whether it is a small shift in your life or a larger one. Both can yield significant results. You can always ask for help from others if you need it along the way or if you need accountability for lasting change.
Interested in learning how mindfulness can help you create a healthy lifestyle that sticks? Download The Keys to Mindfulness Guide for tips on how to start your mindfulness practice.