knowing yourself counseling

5 Ways to Let Go for Better Mental Health

What are a few things that we typically need to “let go” and the feelings that help you identify them? 

  • Unresolved Situations/ Hurt and Anger
  • Failures/Guilt and Embarrassment
  • Former Relationships / Grief
  • Perfectionism/Not Being Good Enough

Holding On Creates Obstacles

Why is it important to your mental health to let go? Well, let’s start with the implications of holding on to something. One of the lessons in holding on to negative or unproductive things and people is that we create obstacles to all good things that might come into our lives. Our obsession and fear of being hurt keeps us on a narrow path. That path is predictable sure, but narrow.

The Benefits of Letting Go

Finding the new things that give us energy, build us up and pave the path to new blessings in life. For everything that I’ve let go of, I’ve had multiple things enter the path and change my life. The key is to identify the negative or unproductive things and “let go”… This growth of “letting go”, will be a challenge with many rewards. 

Letting Go Can Be Stressful – At First

Why is letting go difficult? Most of us do not know how to let go. We spend our lives collecting, hoarding, saving and building up our beloved things like people, loves, material goods, etc. What happens when we let go?

In my experience holding on, on so many levels keeps us in a “box”. We become limited without realizing we are. It becomes a mode of operation. We stop growing on many levels and we fail to experience new things or grow as a person. Most of all, we stop dreaming!

Strategies and Recommendations for Letting Go

Recommendation #1 – Let go of hurtful situations

How to do this: Most likely you have thought about it all you can. Working through hurtful situations means there is a point you have to let go of them whether or not you get validation or closure. There is empowerment that comes from acknowledging that the hurt will be there and thinking about it over and over (ruminating) will not bring healing. Simply understanding this will lessen the feelings attached to the situation until eventually they dissipate completely.

What this looks like: You will hurt but feel free in understanding that grieving is a part of the process and having an awareness that the process is natural, will help you move on. You will stay busy doing things you enjoy and have fewer times where you feel hurt.

Possible results: You will embrace a more resilient and empowering existence.

Recommendation #2 – Let go of failure

How to do this: (Refer to #5…let go of perfectionism). It really helps to understand and see failure as a great moment to learn, grow and thrive. Everyone successful has experienced failures. Do some research on this subject and you will find some very famous names in this group of failures!

What this looks like: When you feel like you have failed, you will say to yourself, “I only fail, when I quit.” Quitting isn’t an option so I will keep trying.” Also review what lessons you learned from this situation. Growth is a huge part of failing or making mistakes. So repeat this mantra: “I can’t truly succeed, unless I make mistakes.”

Possible results: You will begin to automatically look at mistakes and failures as a vehicle for success and embrace the opportunity to learn.

Recommendation #3 – Let go of Former or Past Relationships

How to do this: Former relationships are over for a reason. Know the reason. Respect it and place it in a bubble.

What this looks like: Make note that you need to stop obsessing because it only makes the problem worse. This will allow you to enjoy your day. Later, take time out to grieve, if needed. 

Possible Results: Most people will still hurt but begin seeing changes after a couple of weeks will cause a paradigm shift in your mental attitude.

Recommendation #4 – Let go of Anger

How to do this: Begin to list reasons why the anger is hurting you. Is it making you physically stressed or ill? Choose to love yourself more than the issue. Choosing to love yourself and being kind to yourself, will allow you to drop behaviors that hurt you.

What it looks like: When you are tempted to be angry, you may say to your self, “I don’t have time or energy to waste on this and what is the chance that I can change this anyway?”

Possible results: You will become kinder to yourself and everyone around you as a result. You may feel better and have much more energy to do something good for your self.

Recommendation #5 – Let go of Perfectionism

How to do this: Invite yourself to be compassionate to yourself. That means allowing growth, mistakes and forgiveness. 

What does this look like? Begin to treat yourself as you would your best friend or your child or someone you love. You treat them with kindness, grace and forgiveness so why not yourself? Practice this if it is not a normal behavior.

Possible results: You will begin to feel more relief and it will become easier each day. It is a huge burden to have to be perfect. And truthfully, no one expects if from you unless you are the one expecting from yourself. You won’t become lazy or sloppy, just a work in process.

 

Most of you can identify with at least some of these. They are very common. In my clinical experience in identifying things that need “letting go,” there are typically emotional areas where you are either numb or in pain. The strength that comes letting go is undeniable.