Just let it go
Yes, I too love Demi Levato’s Let It Go from the movie Frozen. And no, I am not trying to get that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day. In fact, today’s topic is: letting go! This happens to be one of my biggest flaws (it’s right up there with my excessive apologizing – see this post for more on that) but it also happens to be an area I have made the most progress with in making myself a happier, healthier person.
Let go of what you cannot control
Do you have a hard time letting go too? I’m not talking about getting rid of those oh-so cozy slippers you’ve had for 15 years with the holes in them. Nor am I even talking about forgetting those fond memories of someone from your past. I am talking about letting go of the things you cannot control. I cannot tell you how much time, energy and sometimes even tears I have wasted on agonizing over things I cannot control.
Does this sound familiar? Story of my life. I’m not kidding! I have struggled with this my whole life and it has gotten worse the older I get. Finally, about a year ago, I decided, that’s it! This is a total good-vibe killer and I’m not doing it anymore! I have wasted so much time in my life worrying about the things I cannot control. I mean, we’re talking days and days. If we added up the amount of time I’ve wasted doing this in my life, it would probably be months and months! I do not want this for you!!
How to let go
So, I am going to share with you some tips on how I have overcome this. Please keep in mind, that I still struggle with this but what I have found is that I’m either able to get over those thoughts completely right away or a whole lot quicker than I use to.
First and foremost, breathe, girl! This probably seems pretty obvious but when you’re stressed in general, you’ll likely notice that you’re chest is not moving very much, your neck is tense and you may even be breathing quicker than normal.
Sometimes all you need is to take three deep breaths – in through the mouth, out through the mouth. Or maybe you need to do this ten times. Sometimes, we need a full on meditation session. Either way, you’re slowing down your breath, letting go of that tension and starting to allow yourself to think straight.
Take a Hike:
You’ve heard me say it before and you’ll hear me say it again. There isn’t much a walk can’t cure and there is almost always time for one, even if it’s brief.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a walk, sometimes for me it’s a hike. For you, it might be a run. Whatever it is, make sure it gets your blood pumping and gives you that time allow your mind to calm the heck down.
Most of the time when I am worrying about the things I cannot control, I find that if I can get my mind to stop racing, I can sort it all out in my head a lot quicker than if I continue to sit and simmer.
Think Happy Thoughts:
I was just talking about this one with my mom the other day. She was stressing over something she really couldn’t control at that moment and was one of those situations where I was trying to encourage her to not stress about it until there is something to stress about. But I could still see it on her face and in her eyes. She couldn’t stop thinking about it.
I mentioned to her that this is something I’m working on myself and one of the techniques I do is think happy thoughts. You can go all Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music if you want and simply think of things that make you happy…fresh cut flowers, pug puppies, wraparound porches, chubby baby cheeks, flowing creeks…just to name a few (and yes, these are a few of my favorite things <insert musical note emojis here>).
Or, you can think of five things you are grateful for…my super chill boyfriend, my four amazingly fun nephews, living in the mountains, working from home, that I had the most incredible dad who gave me something to live up to in his short time on this earth…yup, you got it, these are some that often come to my mind when I do this exercise.
These techniques literally take seconds and can be so effective. For me, it gets me smiling and thinking about the positive things in life and leaves less space for the (pardon my French here) bullshit.
Catch some z’s:
Alright Sleeping Beauty, moment of truth, how many hours of sleep are you getting a night? The research indicates so many ranges for how many hours of sleep we need each night based on our age and other factors but I can tell you, I need at least eight hours per night, consistently. If I start to get less than that, watch out for the cranky pants!
This may not apply to you but do pay attention to those times you’re feeling worn out and tired. Do you notice that you’re a bit more emotional? Maybe a tad bit irritable? Maybe you’re overthinking more than usual? This is me to a T! When I am not rested, I have found that I tend to overthink way more than normal and this does not help me with my new quest to let go! If you can relate, I don’t care if you have housework to do, dishes in the sink, are planning to meet up with friends, or are binging on the latest season of Fixer Upper. Nine times out of ten, it can wait! Just say, no, and go get some much needed rest. You can thank me later for this one!