I haven’t been feeling my best these past few weeks. It’s made it hard to concentrate and I’ve fallen behind on some of my writing assignments and projects as a result. The whole thing has made me rather frustrated and stressed. I hate when I feel like this. So I did what any good yogi does: I went to the studio and I let it go.
The studio is my place. It’s where I can forget about my worries and my struggles and emerge a new woman, a calmer more collected version of myself. When I step into that room, I know I am there for me because I love myself, the practice, and the way I always feel afterwards. The secret people who practice yoga know is that you always leave yoga feeling better than when you walked in.
Tonight’s class was a vinyasa flow class, my favourite. Flow is great for getting out of your head because it is a demanding and challenging practice that requires a lot of movement, focus, and grace. As you move through the motions you are reminded not to take things too seriously, to let yourself try and fall and try again, and to not worry so much about things that cannot be changed.
I emerged from class, as I always do, with an acceptance of these things and a forgiveness towards myself. So much of my stress and anxiety melts away when I take the time to slow down and remind myself that sometimes I just have to let it go.
This applies to everything. That snarky comment your coworker made. That thing you said or did but maybe shouldn’t have. The things you meant to do but just didn’t get done today. It includes other people’s problems and unhappiness. It includes the weather. It includes the TTC. It includes all of the things you have absolutely no control over or responsibility for. These external things that cause us stress, the truth is they are not our struggles to have. And while these struggles are not reflections of us as people, how we react to them often is.
You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside. ~ Wayne Dyer
By incorporating practices that bring peace and calmness into our lives, we can help ourselves recover quicker, find balance, and embrace positivity. Yoga works for me, but find something that works for you. Maybe it’s painting or making music, maybe it’s dancing or cooking. Find a positive outlet that always brings you joy and count on it when you are in situations of distress. It’s not always easy, but in the end there’s nothing more freeing than letting it go.
5 Tips For Letting It Go
- Practice yoga. Maybe even try meditation. Both of these practices bring you back to the present, which can ground you and remind you of what truly matters.
- Remember to breathe. In yoga we practice what’s called Ujjayi breathing, which involves taking deep breaths in through your nose, and out through your nose. I find myself doing this now whenever I get worked up. To deepen your breathing, breathe in through your nose for three seconds, hold it for three seconds (full chest), breathe out for three seconds, hold it again for three seconds (empty chest) and repeat. If you’re having trouble sleeping, this technique can also help you fall asleep.
- Say it out loud. If something is bothering you, phone up somebody you trust and talk about it, or sit down and write it all out on paper. Both of these acts allow you to take what you are experiencing internally and release those thoughts, fears and anxieties into the universe.
- Take control of your mental real estate. Figure out what is worthy of occupying the space in your mind. You only have room for so many thoughts and feelings. If something is causing you stress and this stress is beyond your control, evict those thoughts to make room for more positive mental inhabitants.
- Recognize that feelings are not truths. It is normal to react sometimes wildly to things, to feel so deeply you cannot imagine your thoughts being anything but reality. Negative feelings such as anger and pain are merely reactions to situations, they are defence mechanisms designed to protect us, and they are not always accurate. Your feelings have the power to make things worse by intensifying and magnifying situations, and this may only harm you further. Allow yourself to feel for a brief while, experience it and learn from it, but then forgive and move on in whatever way makes sense for you. Let it go.
And if that doesn’t work, you could always just dance to Taylor Swift. I won’t tell anybody.
What do you do to let it go? Do you find any of these tips helpful?