When Queen Elsa sang, “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen, she was finally learning a hard lesson in life that many of us non-cartoon people have a hard time doing in real life. Like the song title, letting go can be both a blessing and a curse. But it’s how we approach it that makes us become better people and live a healthier life. Think of the alternative to holding onto things that we really shouldn’t hold on to. We end up feeling drained both physically and mentally and our entire being is literally exhausted.
Most people commit to a new year’s resolution each year, whether it be to save more money or exercise more. But on the top of almost every list is the resolution to be healthier. Being healthy isn’t limited to eating right and exercising regularly. While that may be part of the whole process for our body, we really need to start with our mind first. Our minds connect us to everything within our bodies and it’s important to remember that a healthy thought process brings forth a healthier body and soul.
I’ve put together a list of things we can do now to have less stress and (hopefully) change our mindset on things. Letting go isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just learning how to let go of things that suck us of our energy and make us feel ill mentally, emotionally, and physically.
– Let go of small transgressions: From the man who cut you off on the freeway to the parent at your school who can’t tell their own kids to behave, there are always those little things that irk us. But in order to let it go, we can’t take things so personally all of the time. Life is too short to hold onto the small offenses of others. Sometimes other people really don’t know better and if we don’t let it bother us, then we can move past it quicker.
– Let go of past hurt: This one can be tough because being “hurt” means differently for everyone. Whether you hold on to grudges or resentment or it’s a past relationship, holding onto things that hurt your heart and your soul can significantly damage your health. This type of not letting go bears tremendous pressure on your stress level which in turn puts pressure on your organs. Sometimes our mind won’t let us go of past hurt and that’s when we have to remind ourselves that the past truly should stay in the past.
– Let go of what you can’t control: In a perfect world that would probably be pretty easy to do, right? Well, since we live in reality, we have to tell ourselves that sometimes things happen because they happen. Perhaps we could have prevented the harmful outcome and perhaps not. But the best thing to do after that is to learn from it and move on. It’s okay to be cautious and to try and prevent negative outcomes, but when there are times that something disappoints us or we have a hard time moving forward, remind yourself of that old saying, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade”.
– Meditation: I am a true believer of meditation. I’ve been meditating for over 20 years now and although I don’t have enough time to meditate every day like I used to, I still try to include it into my daily routine as much as possible. Meditation releases the body of toxins, helps to clear your mind of negative thoughts, and improve sleep and attention. To truly learn the art of meditation, make sure your mind is completely clear before and during meditation. If any thoughts sneak in, remember this mantra: I will succeed…I will succeed.
– Find something that can change our perspective: Perhaps we feel anger at always running late to work or we’re always doing tons of laundry during the week, try to find a new perspective on how to resolve these time and energy zappers. It could be as simple as laying out our clothes the night before or finding a new route to get to work. And instead of having to separate colors in the wash, invest in laundry detergent that can wash whites, dark, and colors all in one load.
– Find ways to unload our stress: Writing is one of the best ways of letting our frustrations out. As most writers will tell you, writing is a form of catharsis where we direct our anger, sadness, and hurt onto paper or a computer screen in most cases. Next time you feel like you just want to punch something, take pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and just write it out. It doesn’t matter if you’re grammatically incorrect, just write out whatever is on your mind or feeling. And then, delete the whole thing. Keeping it around just reminds us of the anger if we are prone to reading it later.
– Let go of inconsequential relationships: This may sound harsh, but sometimes there are people out there who negatively affect our well-being. We don’t want to be around those people, so do your best to stay away from them. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you meet that one person who just makes you feel completely drained after just a few minutes of being in their presence. There’s nothing wrong to untie that insignificant bond because we are after all, learning to let go of negative things and that includes non-committed relationships.
– Find the reason why you can’t let go: Sometimes we just can’t let go, no matter what. But that’s the wrong approach to actually letting go. Thinking that we can’t let it go is already negatively planting the idea in your head. Start by writing down what it is that’s truly causing you stress and mental pain. Then write down solutions on how to stop it or change it. Make changes for the better and see yourself positively. Finding out the reason why you’re stuck in that mindset can help set us free eventually.
Remember that we are our own advocate. No one can dictate how we should feel or how we should act. As adults, it’s up to us to make things better and healthier for ourselves. When we learn to take care of ourselves first, then we can help others see the positive as well.
Have a happy and healthy new year!
*photo courtesy of Delicious Living magazine