Queen Elsa from Disney’s FROZEN (2013) is not the first to harp on the importance of letting go. Gurus around the world say that the key to a peaceful life is the ability to let go of worry, expectations and resentments. While that mantra is a sound one, it's much easier said than done.
So how does one actually “let it go"? Here are some tips and guidelines to help you on your path to feeling less worry about things you can’t control:
1. Identify the Deeper Reason You Can't Let Go
When we're holding onto something, it often means there's a deeper issue. Perhaps your trigger is any time you don't feel in control. Maybe it's trust issues. It could even be that you've attached a moral value to something. Whatever it's grown into, it's important to dig deep and find its root. Once you determine the why, you can choose whether or not you want to release it.
2. Journal, Journal, and More Journaling
The practice of writing down your thoughts and feelings (without editing them!) can be very revealing. It's also often a crucial element to the first tip. When you free associate and simply write down everything that comes to mind, it invites your subconscious – which may be the part of you that won't let go! Take fifteen minutes to simply write. Then, go back to it later on to see if you can glean something meaningful. You often will!
3. Visualize the Release
Close your eyes and picture a release. Something like:
• Balloons floating away.
• Birds flying.
• Clouds passing through the sky.
• Wind blowing through the trees.
Then, take the thought or feeling that you want to let go of and visualize it as part of that image. Watch as your resentment or fear floats away in one of the balloons or on the wing of a bird that soars off into the distance. When you use visualization, it can give a new (and more positive) sensation to focus on.
4. Use Reverse Psychology – On Yourself!
What if I told you that you HAD to hold onto everything that ever made you upset? How does that feel? When it feels like you have no choice, it put things into perspective. Specifically, that you do have a choice!
Letting something go is actually something to choose, the same as holding on to something. Break it down into those two options, and that choice becomes vividly apparent. Then, decide which is the more freeing and appealing option?
5. Change Your Expectations
This is a tip to use in the future as well as the present. To change your expectations means to set goals without any emotional attachment. It's not that you can't want anything, but it's helpful to think more logistically than emotionally when you're setting goals. When you limit the emotional attachment, it's easier to keep moving forward. Then, when something doesn’t work out, you're less inclined to hold on to it.
If none of these tips help, you can always resort to singing along to the soundtrack of “Frozen” and see how that makes you feel! (I only make that joke because I know you these tips will work wonders.)