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Modern day life is an onslaught of stress and drudgery. It often feels like anchors tied to our ankles every minute of every day. We spend hours worrying about the endless amount of ‘to do’ items, relationships, inconveniences, bills and societal pressures. This never-ending stream of stressors often causes us to become overly attached to every little thing that happens. We get trapped in worrying about every problem, trying to make sure everything is perfect, and if it’s not – well, that’s a huge problem. One minor slip up somewhere may throw our whole day off, whether it’s being 5-minutes late to work, or having a disagreement with a loved one, there is very little room for error in our fast-paced modern lifestyle.
Not only has life progressively become more complicated, we also have many more measuring sticks to keep us attached to our problems. Social media has created an immense amount of pressure on younger, and even older generations to always appear perfect and be on the ball. In terms of ‘letting go,’ social media and modern technology make it difficult to detach from anything.
With the complexity of modern day life, it’s essential that we develop skills for detaching and letting go. We all need time to ourselves for quiet reflection, relaxation and just overall happiness. Whether it’s for your happiness or letting go of someone or something; here are five psychological tricks on ‘letting go’ that you can start using today.
Reflecting On Your Mortality
Reflecting on your mortality is one of the most potent psychological tricks for letting go of just about anything. Many people see reflecting on death to be ‘depressing.’ However, reflecting positively on the temporariness of life may also be incredibly liberating. When you take a few moments to remember that you will not live forever, it makes letting go of a small problem much easier. Reflecting on death also reinforces the fact, that if your life is temporary, so is every problem that you encounter in life.
You can use this first psychological trick by spending a couple of minutes every day reminding yourself of your mortality. You can also remember that when a specific problem arises, or difficulty in letting go of something, to remind yourself “Life is too short, and this is all temporary.”
It’s almost impossible to detach from something if you’re always being reminded of it. One example was a recent study that showed using Facebook makes it harder to get over a breakup. Social media, such as Facebook, has a powerful way of always keeping us in a constant ‘feedback’ loop. Negative memories and familiar faces may permeate in our feeds, we keep ourselves open to constant contact, and never truly ‘disconnect’ even if we aren’t online.
One way to help with ‘letting go’ is to limit your Facebook and social media usage. You can also limit what you see in your posts by hiding specific users or content that cause you distress. Even better yet, for the strong-willed, deleting social media altogether, even if temporary, might be an excellent tool for letting go.
Meditation is an excellent tool for developing detachment which is the essence of letting go. Mindfulness helps explicitly with focusing on the present and reducing rumination. In many cases, rumination itself is what makes letting go of something so complicated. It’s not always that what we are trying to let go is still present in our lives, but instead, it’s still present in our minds.
Steps For Mindful Meditation:
- Set Aside Time: Make sure to set at least 5-minutes to focus on mindfulness. It also helps to have a regular space for meditation. This space could be something simple such as a comfortable chair in a quiet room.
- Observe The Present: The goal of mindfulness isn’t just to have a ‘clear mind.’ Mindfulness is about observing the present moment. It’s about focusing on now without any judgment.
- Let Judgements Come And Go: Shortly after you start meditating, you will notice judgments naturally rise to the surface. Allow yourself to notice these judgments while letting them go just as they came.
- Return To Observing The Present: After your mind brings up a judgment or a variety of thoughts, allow yourself to gently guide your mind back to focusing on the present moment.
- Don’t Judge YOURSELF: Don’t judge yourself for what thoughts arise in your mind. Just continue to redirect your thoughts back to the present moment. Don’t resist thoughts, but instead let them come and go.
Focusing On Self-Care
Letting go is best categorized as self-care. While it’s true many things in life are worth fighting for, some things are best given-up. Letting go is like removing a backpack full of rocks. It doesn’t do you any good to carry them, but sometimes we can rationalize we shouldn’t let go even though it’s good for us. Be kind to yourself when detaching from things that don’t provide any positivity to your life. Realize that your needs are important and you don’t have to suffer unnecessarily because of a belief.
Self Care Beliefs:
- You have a right to work towards happiness.
- You should love yourself the way you would love another and vice versa.
- You have the right to choose who and what is a part of your life.
Letting go and self-care are important, but it’s just as important to understand what you want in life. Letting go is more than just cutting off everything that bothers you. If we all cut everything out immediately, no relationships would ever exist, and no one would succeed at anything. We would just run away from everything the moment it causes us any hardship. It’s important to take time during self-reflection to understand what is worth fighting for and what’s worth letting go. Make honest assessments of everything in your life so you can make a decision that leads to a life-experience that you truly desire.