My last blog post was all about the utility of worry, and how sometimes we can get “stuck” hanging on to these worries. This post is going to be all about learning to let go of unpleasant thoughts and emotions like worry and the steps to get you there.
Step 1 Feel It
The first step in letting go of worry is to first connect with your feelings. We are often moving through life at such breakneck speeds that we are unable to recognize how we are feeling until it has come to a head and and we are ready to either explode or implode. Either way, it’s no good. So to hit step one, it’s best to try to slow down and be mindful of your emotions.
Step 2 Name It
Once you recognize that you are feeling something it’s important to know what exactly you are feeling. Some feelings like anger, frustration, impatience are actually masking other feelings like worry, hurt, fear and sadness. As part of Step One your challenge is to slow down and recognize your feelings, the next part is to think a little about your feelings and make sure that what is being expressed is really what the fundamental emotion is.
Step 3 Release it
This particular step can feel a little “hippy dippy” when I describe it to people, but it’s a necessary part of letting go of unpleasant emotions, like worry. This is where you make a conscious decision not to let this emotion take over. This can be done by simply taking a deep breath in and saying to yourself “By breathing in I recognize my emotion and by breathing out I release it”. Sometimes it can help to speak to yourself in the third person to lock your mind in to what you are asking it to do.
Step 4 Redirect It
The final step is to redirect your mental energy. It’s important to have an arsenal of pleasurable activities that engage your mind when you are feeling poorly and your mind is running away from you. Watching a favorite show, engaging in a hobby, doing something artistic or creative are all ways to distract your mind from your worry. This is not simply distraction on it’s own! It’s very important to do the other steps first and not just jump to this one. Engaging the entire process is imperative to letting go as opposed to just distracting your mind from it. We know when you just distract the thoughts and feelings have a way of coming back bigger and stronger.
Hopefully you find this information of use to you in letting go of unpleasant and stuck emotions. If you find you are still experiencing difficulty, you might find it useful to speak with a professional counselor or therapist to move you through your stuck points. Feel free to reach out on my contact page for more information.