by Vincent Nguyen of Self Stairway
Letting go is difficult, but it’s something you constantly have to do as you live from one day to the next. It’s a necessary process of adapting to the ever-changing environment you live in – leaving behind the old to make way for the new.
There are many reasons you may want to let go sooner rather than later. Maybe someone wants you to be someone you’re not, maybe you’ve had your trust broken too many times by the same person, or maybe you’ve simply been living a lifestyle that makes you unhappy. The possibilities are obviously endless.
The idea of letting go can seem daunting, but it can be done if you approach letting go from an effective, creative perspective. It’s not just telling yourself to “get your mind off of it by doing other things.” That advice is too vague, and if it were that easy you’d already be doing it.
Let’s take a look at some unique approaches that work – ten unconventional ways to learn how to let go and move on with your life:
1. Write down your troubles and torch them.
Pour your heart’s troubles out onto a sheet of paper, make a paper ball, and toss your troubles into a fire. A very cliché movie-type scene is what I describe this as, but it provides an amazing sense of closure. I’ve actually done this before during some very difficult times in my life.
I took my pain and bled honest thoughts into my writing. I wrote words that I was too afraid to say out loud because I knew no one would get the chance to read it. After that, I rolled them into a ball and tossed them all into a small backyard bonfire.
The key is to connect your sorrow to that sheet of paper as you toss it and watch it burn. That’s you making the choice to move on.
2. Sing your own feel-good song.
Literally, write your own lyrics to a feel-good song and start rocking. You don’t have to be a talented singer or writer to do this. Find some alone time and start singing like there’s no one listening (because there isn’t!)
Make the lyrics about how you’re going to move on from the struggles and become stronger tomorrow. Or make it even cheesier on purpose so that every time you sing your song, you can smile and laugh. It’s goofy fun and it’s great as a mood lifter.
You can also write lyrics to remind yourself that there are thousands of amazing things happening at this exact moment in time. It will be the perfect pick-me-up.
Singing releases endorphins, which are chemicals in your brain that can help you feel good. So naturally you should sing your sorrows away, and associate your feel-good song with happiness and the perseverance of moving on.
3. Flip a coin.
Play a game with yourself. Heads you move on. Tails you let go. Every time you find yourself pondering about yesterday’s sorrows, you have to play this game. Keep flipping the coin and repeat it in your head. Heads you move on. Tails you let go. It might sound a little odd, but it’s a great reminder.
4. People-watch and be inspired.
Pick a comfortable place where there will be a lot of strangers walking around. The park is the perfect setting for people watching. As you people-watch, you have to keep one thing in mind: Realize that every single person on this Earth is a complex character living out his or her own real life movie script. They are the protagonists of their own story, each complete with their own set of ideas, struggles and choices that led them to where they are now.
They’re living an elaborate life filled with moments of celebration as well as hours of darkness, just like you. You’re not alone in this world; we all work to move on from things every day. Perhaps you’re just the background character in these stranger’s stories, but you’re definitely not alone in your struggles.
5. Tell yourself a horror story.
Turn on the creativity muscle again because this one’s another artistic challenge. This is where you envision that you stayed on the same path that made you realize you needed to let go and move on in the first place. Picture the worst-case scenarios possible in an alternate universe. If someone recently broke up with you, imagine how unhappy you’d be ten years down the road if this same person had led you on for a decade before they broke up with you. If you had to cut out a toxic friend recently, think of how much more that person could have drained from you if you had let the relationship fester.
Picturing the worst-case scenario can give you new perspectives on your current situation. Who knows how much worse it could have been? Be glad there are still new opportunities out there and the future is going to feel exciting again.
6. Think about something positive happening now.
Think of all the wonderful things happening. There are thousands, probably millions, of wonderful things happening at this exact moment in time. At this exact moment, there’s a high chance that somewhere in the world someone is in the exact situation you are, except they have accepted their situation and let go enough to move on.
Seriously, think about it. There are over seven billion people on this Earth. There are countless people fighting the same battle you’re fighting, simultaneously alongside you. Use this thought as inspiration.
7. Get lost with a group of friends.
Note: This may be a bit more dangerous than the other suggestions here, so take precautions. Bring a GPS device just in case and never do this alone.
I used to have “Friday Adventures” on a weekly basis with several of my most amazing friends. We would bike around town and try to get ourselves lost. It was a fun way for us to do something together and share a common goal.
You and several of your trusted friends need to go out in town and try to get lost (during the day). The hard part isn’t just finding your way back; you’ll be surprised how hard it is to actually force yourself to get lost. It’s an adventurous game that can help your mind let go of your comfort zone and needless worries. You and your friends will be busy laughing, focusing on how to get lost, and then working together to find your way back home.
8. Use a private blog to brain dump and delete.
Create a private blog, write about what’s bothering you in an unfiltered stream of consciousness, read what you wrote, and then hit delete. Much like the paper ball idea, get your ideas down into writing where you know it won’t be seen by anyone. Be honest, don’t hold anything back, and just type whatever pops up in your head. Read it ONCE, and then delete the post.
That’s you acknowledging all the emotions, the sadness, and the attachments while making the conscious decision to let go. Do this as often as you need to as the feelings resurface. And of course, be sure to private this blog so that only you can see what is written.
9. Use a reminder charm.
Choose an object that you can keep in your pocket, like a special quarter, an interesting rock, or even your phone. Every time you feel like your thoughts are dragging you down, catch yourself, put your hand onto your charm and imagine all those negative thoughts leaving your brain and traveling down your arm to your fingertips, and finally into the charm.
This is personally what I do during public presentations, except I pretend it is my confidence charm. I hold onto it and picture that it is feeding me confidence and power so that I can get through the presentation in stride. Your charm can empower you and remind you to let go and be strong. It can remind you how to be yourself when your thoughts cloud your mind.
Stop reading and start implementing.
It’s easy to read twenty articles in one day on the subject of letting go and improving your life and then fool yourself into believing you’re making progress. No, you need to take the advice, internalize it, and implement it.
What would you add to the list? What has helped you let go? Please share your insights with the community by leaving a comment below.
Author Bio: Vincent Nguyen is a student, a writer and a teacher of life. He is the author of the personal development blog, Self Stairway, where he provides profound insight through his own life experiences. You can also follow him on Twitter.
Photo by: Axel D.