The Importance of Letting Go
Throughout our lives, we hold onto many things that cause us physical and emotional tension (sometimes disguised as something good). Whether it’s the fear of losing someone we love, worry that we won’t get a job we want or get into our dream college, or anger towards someone or something, we can’t truly control everything in our lives, so it’s important to let expectations, stress, negative narratives, and resentments go.
“The one thing that for sure is going to happen is that we are all going to die. The other thing that for sure will happen is that circumstances will change,” Robert Puff, PH. D says in an article for Psychology Today. He explains that when you hold onto something, a situation, or someone and don’t expect the way you hold onto it to change, you’ll suffer. Being able to acknowledge the certainty that life is ever-changing will help you lead a healthier, less stressful life. Meditation can help get you there
If you’re anything like us, you’ve been holding onto a lot this past year—from the fear and stress brought on by a global pandemic to the sadness of not being able to see our loved ones as much as we’d like, not to mention the day-to-day stress brought on by work, bills, and relationships.
Meditation is about training your mind in the act of being aware and gaining a healthy sense of perspective according to the Headspace app. The website also notes that meditation or mindfulness isn’t about turning off your thoughts and emotions, but rather being able to better understand them by observing them without judgment. Meditation can be done even when you’re not technically meditating. You can practice throughout the day when a random thought enters your brain by not getting attached to it, behavioral health therapist Kathy Barringer notes it in a conversation with the Cleveland Clinic. Meaning, don’t put a negative or positive spin on it—just let it go.
Being able to find ways to let go of stress, fear, sadness, and anger is important to leading a healthy life, and many people suggest that practicing meditation can help.
HOW DO I START?
On top of being able to let go of things in your life that you can’t control, Healthline and Mayo Clinic mention that meditation has other benefits, including stress reduction and an enhanced level of self-awareness (which can lead to being a kinder person).
Here are a few ways Healthline suggests using meditation to let go:
To practice this type of meditation, pay close attention to what you’re sensing, feeling, and thinking while staying neutral and judgment free. Since learning to stay mindful stops random draining thoughts from entering your mind, it helps you let go of stress.
This type of meditation is ideal for those who have difficulty staying still. As long as you focus on your breath and keep your mind in touch with each movement from your fingers to your toes, you can enjoy the benefits of movement meditation, whether you practice yoga, take a walk through the woods, garden, or practice other gentle forms of motion.
This type of meditation helps you release tension and stress in your body by promoting relaxation. It involves focusing on gently tightening and relaxing one part of your body at a time. Like mindfulness meditation, it’s difficult for negative thoughts to enter your mind if you’re focused on something specific, creating space for you to let go.
Visualization meditation is a technique focused on enhancing feelings of relaxation, peace, and calmness by visualizing positive scenes or images. When it comes to letting go, it’s important to remove the space in your mind for random thoughts to enter, so focusing on something specific can help with this, too.
OUR GO-TO MEDITATION RESOURCES
If you’re having trouble knowing where to start your meditation practice, here are a few of our favorite videos and audio clips to guide you on your journey:
5 Minute Guided Meditation for Letting Go of Everything: 5-minute YouTube video
Mindfulness Meditation for Letting Go: 7-minute audio clip for beginners
Headspace: Subscription service that offers yearly and monthly options
Meditation 2.0: A New Way to Meditate: Video for those who need a meditation pep talk
Medical Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation, Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation#11.-Can-decrease-blood-pressure
Which Type of Meditation Is Right for Me?, Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/types-of-meditation#mindfulness-meditation
Guided Meditation: How and Why It Works with Kathy Barringer, Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/podcasts/health-essentials/guided-meditation-how-and-why-it-works-with-kathy-barringer?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=cc+posts
When You Need to Let Go, Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/meditation-modern-life/201207/when-you-need-let-go
What Is Meditation, Headspace: https://www.headspace.com/meditation-101/what-is-meditation
Mindfulness Exercises, Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/mindfulness-exercises/art-20046356#:~:text=Mindfulness%20is%20a%20type%20of,mind%20and%20help%20reduce%20stress
Meditation: A Simple, Fast Way to Reduce Stress, Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858