Happy or Angry

Finding Peace by Letting Go

“Let go. It will be the most liberating thing you do.” – Lao Tzu

Holding onto a grudge is not the same as winning a battle. In fact, chances are that the other person has already processed the situation and moved on. What you’re doing by refusing to surrender is only hurting yourself. Alternatively, by allowing yourself to surrender, you’re actually starting the healing process and actively allowing peace into your life. Today, we’ll talk about why it’s important to let go and how to do it.

Why You Shouldn’t Hold On

Of course, grudges and negativity have obvious effects on your social life. Although it may not matter, you will damage your relationship with the other person. That said, even if you don’t care about how it affects your relationship, you will find negativity creeping into your other relationships as well. You’ll be more defensive and find it harder to build other relationships.

From a mental health standpoint, holding onto grudges and negativity can have the following effects among many others:

  • Increased stress
  • Irritable mood and hostility
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem

You may not realize it but holding on also takes a toll on your physical health. Holding on increases the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, in your body. In survival situations, this hormone plays a pivotal role. However, too much of it or long-term exposure can damage your physical health. Some physical health effects of holding on include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Poor immune functioning
  • Poor heart health
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle pain and/or weakness
  • Arthritis

How to Let Go

“Letting go doesn’t mean giving up. It means accepting that some things are out of your control and that it’s time to move on.” — Wayne Dyer

Your mindset is the key to letting go. The way you think about the situation dictates your success in this process. That said, for certain situations that created high levels of mental health concerns, trauma, etc., professional guidance may be needed. Here are some tips for letting go:

  1. Accept the situation for what it is. View it objectively and focus on the facts.
  2. Understand that surrendering is not allowing the other person to win. On the contrary, it is your own victory because it gives you a way to free yourself.
  3. Practice empathy. This is not to say that you condone the harmful actions of others. Rather, you try to understand their root cause.
  4. Avoid blaming and accept responsibility for any part you may have played.
  5. Do not hide from your emotions. Allow yourself to feel pain, anger, etc. without letting it define who you are. Use healthy coping skills to work through these emotions.
  6. Establish boundaries to avoid similar situations going forward.
  7. View this as a learning experience rather than a failure.
  8. Understand the harm of holding on and the benefits of letting go.
  9. Lean on your loved ones for support.
  10. Attend a support group meeting in the community.
  11. Make a conscious choice to forgive and repeat it to yourself.
  12. Visualize the situation in physical form and see yourself letting go of it. For example, many people choose to visualize themselves putting the situation in a box, sealing it, and throwing it away.
  13. Use meditation to forgive and cope with the emotions.
  14. Repeat positive mantras to yourself throughout the day.

How Long Does It Take?

For every person, the healing process is different. Some people can let go and be perfectly fine within a week. Others may take years to fully process the situation. Throughout the journey, you must be patient with yourself and remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it seems far away.

It’s important to work on this every day. Again, mindset is the key. Do not view this as a chore. Instead, see your daily practice as an opportunity for relaxation and growth.

“All blame is a form of self-blame. So take the focus off the other person and start looking at how you can create a better feeling place within yourself.” — Louise Hay

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