Loosening the Grips of Control
Isn’t is funny how easy it is to say to someone “oh just let it go” or “shake it off” but when you’re on the receiving end of those suggestions it can leave you frustrated right? It’s much easier said than done.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just shake something off and move on with our day? Wouldn’t it be so much less stressful if we could just let go of the feelings, emotions and thoughts that can overtake our day, week, month, even our lives?
Well it is much easier said than done but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to do. It does take some effort and some inner work but the layers of heavy stress that have built up over your day or maybe over many years of your life are possible to shed.
I’m sure many of you have both offered and taken the best advice you can give someone who is stressed, and that is to “take a deep breath”. Taking a deep breath is a symbolic behavior that helps us to release stress and frustration. Unfortunately most of us stop there, we take a deep breath, push down our emotions and stress and continue with the rest of our days and lives never really coping with it or letting it go.
Why Does Letting Go Matter?
I think you’d all agree that we live in a world that is focused on controlling everything. Everywhere we exist someone is trying to control us. At school, at home, at work, our social functioning, and even through regulations and laws we are constantly under the control of someone else. Panic sets in when we feel like we are losing control and so we try to gain some back in our lives thinking that it will lessen our stress and anxiety. But in reality, when we cling tightly to control, more stress and anxiety are created. The tension and stressful emotions that we hold in our body when we cling to control are toxic and create disease. When we can take on and achieve the challenging task of letting go, we can release these stressful emotions, raise our frequency and find a place of ease and self-care.
Past Member of the “Control Freak” Club
I am a self -confessed “control freak”. But anyone who’s lived with me or worked with me in the past would agree. I took the reins at work and I ran a tight ship at home and I had everything perfectly perfect. To myself and everyone else it seemed that it was all working out for me. But reality kicked me in the ass a few years ago when complete exhaustion set in. The toxic load of the stress and tension of the tight control I strived for had taken its final toll.
I believe my need for control was a maladaptive defense behavior. By controlling every other aspect of my life I was protecting myself. By appearing to the outside world that I had every piece of my life perfectly put together I kept everyone from seeing how deeply unsatisfied I was with my life and myself. It kept my feelings of worthlessness and self-hate hidden, because everyone thought I had it all figured out. Reality was that I was hanging on by a thread, suffering in silence, and when that thread broke so did all my walls of self- protection.
If you’re also a member of the “Control Freak” club, whatever your personal reasons for doing it, I know you feel that stress and exhaustion. I’m here to tell you that it’s a tough challenging road to release the grips we have on life, but once you do, it’s the most freeing and peaceful feeling.
So How Do You Begin to “Let Go”?
- Remember that deep breath you took when you were stressed out? Well that’s exactly where you start. Mindfully tuning into your breath is the most basic and easiest of activities to release stress, anxiety and tension. It does not have to be difficult to do this but it takes making it a priority and practice. As simple as finding a quiet comfortable space, closing your eyes and mindfully slowing your breathing to a count of 5 in and a count of 5 out. Visualizing as you breathe out you are letting go of control and tension. Repeat for approx. 5 minutes or until you are feeling more relaxed. There are endless variations of breath work and envisioning you can practice but the key is to do it regularly. The more you practice the easier you can calm your mind and let go in times of stress.
- Starting a journal is such an important tool for everyone that is looking to discover themselves in a new light and reconnect with their true authentic individuality. With regards to letting go try asking yourself questions such as:
- What transitions are occurring in your life right now?
- How do they make you feel?
- What is creating stress for you right now?
- Can you ride the winds of change and know you are taken care of? Why or why not?
- Do you feel fear and stuck?
- Where can you release the hold you have on things to feel more peace?
- Are you resisting letting go? If so, why?
- If you don’t know what to write, start with a Gratitude Journal writing out things in your life you are grateful for.
- Learning and practicing non attachment is a way of behaving that is against the grain of our modern society, but can be a huge release that leads to a more fulfilling and joyful life. It involves being conscious of and actively changing your mind, reactions and beliefs about your life. You need to become aware of and pay attention to how you feel, what you think, and how you react to situations and use your journal to write about these observations. Then using your breath, visualizations and affirmations to help yourself through the hard emotions. Detaching from the need to control the end result and surrendering to the unknown future is not an overnight quick fix solution, it takes dedication, time and a lot of misteps. But every new day is an opportunity to try again, to move forward and keep challenging yourself.
- Healing our relationships and letting go of the need to control others is a huge step towards releasing the stress and tension. The key parts of healing relationships are practicing forgiveness, managing expectations to give others the space to be who they are, and realizing that you are only person that you have direct control over. Healthy safe boundaries in relationships are necessary to allow you both the space to be who you are amidst the differences, and at times ending toxic relationships that just can’t be healed, no matter how much space and letting go you practice.
You need to know that you don’t have to undertake this healthy behavior change on your own. There are so many resources available to help guide you though. If toxic relationships are your focus then maybe a counsellor that specializes with that is what you’ll need. If you are member of the “control freak” club then maybe working with a wellness coach is the best option for you. Just remember that life is a journey, and we are continually blessed with new days and new opportunities to learn and grow into the best versions of ourselves.
If you’d like to learn more about how I can support you as a Wellness Coach then I’d love to hear from you! It’s never too late to start exploring yourself and move forward towards living your best life.