Accepting the things you can and can’t change and having the wisdom to know the difference is one of the key reminders to happiness. Trying to control others or situations that are out of our hands is a natural response in life. To feel truly at peace, letting go of the need for control is crucial.
How To Let Go
Letting go is sometimes easier said than done. When something has happened to us that is out of our control, anxiety can occur. Ruminating about the past or worrying about the future is common when we feel helpless. Fortunately, even if life around us can’t always be controlled, we do have power over ourselves.
5 Ways To Find Peace
- Acceptance does not mean you agree. Although we may not like the situation, it will or has happened, regardless of our approval. A form of therapy called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy uses the term “radical acceptance” to describe the idea that suffering comes from not accepting the reality of pain. By fighting against the pain, engagment in suffering is prolonged and not useful. By not accepting the reality of the situation, behaviors such as problematic drinking or harmful distractions can happen due to an immediate need of stress relief.
- Focus on yourself. The only person you can truly control is yourself. Your behavior and how you respond to what has or will happen, is the only thing that is worth focusing on. Planning for how you may react in the future can help ease anxiety about a situation that is particularly troubling. By preparing yourself for the type of behavior you want to demonstrate, you have control over who you are as a person. In addition to the reaction displayed to others, planning a way to comfort yourself or self-soothe can also be beneficial during a stressful time. This can be as simple as going for a walk or taking a hot shower.
- Be mindful. When anxiety is experienced over a long period of time, it can have physical health consequences. Respiratory changes can occur as well as impaired immune functioning. To reduce long term stress without necessarily resorting to medication, meditation has often been used. Meditation does not have to be done in a specific place and does not require any specialized equipment or instruction. Many people find guided meditation to be helpful if they cannot quiet their mind on their own. Frequently those that are new to meditation enjoy using apps to help direct their mind on something calming for three or five minutes. Meditation can be done anywhere. Once it is practiced on a regular basis, it becomes easier to block out external noise which can help during periods where you feel out of control.
- Blaming others is not always helpful. Although somebody else may have hurt you or created a situation that is not fair or just, blaming others does not always help in the long run. It is possible to place responsibility on the other person without casting too much judgement. When we do this, it actually gives the other person less power. By understanding that somebody made a poor decision because of factors they may not be able to control, you can create more of an equal-footing. By putting ourselves in a role that paints us as helpless, we place ourselves beneath the person that has hurt us. Spending a disproportionate time thinking about those who have hurt us can ultimately take away from the attention we need to focus on ourselves.
- Trust in the process. By having faith that you will feel better, you can stop worrying about how to fix it. Every problem does not always have a solution and while it is uncomfortable to feel uncertain about a specific outcome, trusting in a healing process of your choice can quiet the anxiety. Rummination often stems from something that feels incomplete. Once you have accepted the reality of the situation, allowing yourself to peacefully detach is a method you can practice each day. Simply saying “I have faith this will work out” may not be enough for some people. Saying it whenever the memory comes up, can eventually program your mind to let go.
The Importance Of Letting Go
Letting a troubling situation or memory go can feel like an unexpected loss. Whether it is the death of a loved one, a dream job or events from childhood, rumminating about a situation which cannot be controlled is natural. Even if the memory is unpleasant, by engaging with it, we keep that memory alive. Unfortunately, engaging in something that cannot change will not create change. Ultimately, this is why letting go is so important. Accepting the reality of the situation is the only way we can find freedom in peace.