As human beings, we are experts at getting ourselves into a pickle and who can blame us. In our over-stimulated world, clarity and perspective are hard to come by. When overwhelmed, we look around for ways in which we can take ownership, be in charge and have agency, thus running the risk of becoming control freaks. Why? Because our brain is always trying to keep us safe and it interprets the chaos around us as a threat. By focusing on something we can control, like food, tidiness, other people or our work, we get temporary relief and our body interprets this as feeling safe and empowered. The dopamine hit we get from feeling a modicum of control creates a new template in our brain, encouraging us to do it again. Thus, unwittingly, a new habit has been formed.
The problem with controlling things and other people around us is that it is almost impossible and takes a great deal of effort. It can become a prison in itself. As a clinical hypnotherapist, one of the most powerful techniques I teach my clients is to permit themselves to let stuff go that no longer serves them. There is a profound sense of relief when we accept things and people as they are without feeling threatened. The benefits of letting go of behaviour and thinking that causes pain, sadness, regret and anger are plentiful. Below are some of the superstar gains.
☑️ You’ll feel a great sense of relief
Hanging on to specific outcomes by controlling situations, people and places at all times are EXHAUSTING. The sheer relief of letting go, of simply releasing stuff that has been a burden for years can be unbelievably freeing. Accepting that life carries on regardless and that you are not solely responsible for everything that happens can bring a wonderful sense of lightness.
☑️ You’ll be free to focus on what you want life to be
When we hold all areas of our lives in a tight grip, what we’re really doing is keeping fear at bay. If we are running the show then nothing bad can happen, right? Yet by controlling outcomes to avoid disappointment we inadvertently focus on the negative. Our control is driven by fear. When you let worry and anxiety go, you free yourself up to focus on what it is you really want, instead of focusing on what you don’t want. It’s a shortcut to happiness.
☑️ Space to be in the NOW
Keeping all balls in the air at all times is all-encompassing and leaves little space to think of anything else. When we let go of our regrets, our memories and our sadness, when we surrender to the present moment, we can access the part of our brain where new thinking emanates. By relaxing and allowing ourselves to let go we can find novel solutions to problems, be fuelled by more creativity and see things from a different perspective. This in turn leads to real transformation instead of perceived threats.
☑️ Empty your inner stress bucket
We all have an inner stress bucket, a place where we store emotions and reactions to events taking place in our lives. Over time, this can gradually fill up so that even the slightest adversity may tip us over the edge. We snap, get anxious, irritated or furious. When we are in the midst of a tantrum we have not got access to our rational mind where we can be objective and logical. So we have to calm our nervous system down by welcoming relaxation and learning how to practice letting go. This is an active way of reducing the amount of stress in our buckets which in turn enables us to handle events in our lives more calmly and gently. In short, we become nicer human beings.
☑️ Take a deep breath and let go
Begin by sitting down and taking a few deep breaths, listening to any sounds around you. Allow yourself to let go of any tension and stress that you may have encountered in your day and let go of any thought loops or conversations that may still circulate in your mind. Welcome a sense of peace and harmony to permeate your entire body for just a few minutes. Remind yourself of what you are grateful for, what you do well and what excites you. Let the relaxation sink in and sit quietly for as long as you can manage. When you get distracted, simply return to your breath. Repeat daily.
The present moment is all we have. Always. Be there.