Detaching Tips for Letting Go

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					Have you been told, "Just let go of it," or tell yourself, "I have to let
go," but wonder, how? I've asked myself that question. Sometimes you want
to let go of a worry or an obsession about someone else. You may try to
detach, but can't. Other times when you can't move forward after a major
loss, or when you need to unwind from a busy work schedule. Each case has
different challenges, but fundamentally, they all require a shift in
attention from the mind into the body and from the past or future into
the present. Letting go can be a rejuvenating practice that brings the
mind and body into balance for clarity, peace, and heightened
functioning. Willingness to accept the things I cannot change."

Depending upon what you're letting go if, it can take moments or years.
When you're letting go of someone you love, it's not easy, nor pain free.
However, it's human nature to avoid pain, even if the price is long-term
misery. When the source of frustration, loss or stress is ongoing,
letting go becomes a process of developing a new, beneficial orientation
toward life.

Letting go may require repeated efforts to shift your consciousness away
from the problem. When you're obsessing about or judging someone, you may
need to detach and question some basic assumptions about your ability to
control, or even influence, the person's feelings and behavior. You may
need to ask for what you need or want or set boundaries. Sometimes, worry
and anxiety is due to underestimation of your ability to overcome an
obstacle or loss. Worry can be paralyzing and lead to depression and

Guilt or resentment can rob you of your life and happiness and keep you
frozen in the past. The antidote may involve compassion for yourself or
someone else, amends, or other communication.

Generally, too much feeling or too much thinking can limit your ability
to live your life. If you're obsessing, it can be helpful to make contact
with sensation, including emotion. When you're overwhelmed with anger or
another emotion, using your body - especially when you're angry - or
doing something that requires mental attention, like puzzles or math, can
be helpful. In both cases, creativity is a wonderful way to uplift you,
calm your mind, and soothe your emotions.

Here are some things you can do:

1. Detach

When it comes to worrying and obsessing about a person or problem,
understand the principles of detachment. (Chapter 9 in Codependency for
Dummies goes into detail about nonattachment.) Analyze what you have the
power to change and what you don't. If effective action is necessary,
take it.

2. Pray

Many people unaccustomed to daily prayer don't think of asking for help,
particularly out loud. This gesture in itself is one of surrender that
relinquishes the ego's hold on the problem and allows for new information
or an altered perspective to appear. Prayer is effective to help you
accept what you cannot change. The Serenity Prayer begins, "God grant me
the serenity to accept the things I cannot change... " Sometimes, you
might have to pray for the "willingness to accept the things I cannot

3. Journal

Writing about your feelings or writing them in the form of a letter can
be a release from mental obsession. If you're letting go of someone,
write them a good-bye letter. This can be useful even to someone who's
died. You can dialogue with the person by writing his or her response
with your nondominant hand. Read your words to a trusted friend, sponsor,
or therapist for added relief.

4. Distract Yourself

When you're too much in your head, shift gears, and do something physical
that's enlivening, absorbing or relaxing. Put on music and dance,
workout, or garden. Play and creativity also shift your autonomic nervous
system and use other parts of your brain. Painting provided relief for me
on September 11th.

5. Relax

Most people think they're relaxed while still holding a great deal of
tension. It's helpful to lie down and allow your body weight to sink into
the floor. Notice where you hold yourself and give into gravity, and then
let go.

Try progressive relaxation, starting at the feet and proceeding to your
scalp and forehead. Tighten for five seconds and then release the tension
in each muscle group. Afterword, scan your body for any area of
restriction, particularly the eyes, stomach, and jaw. Discover where your
body tends to grip. The slightest tension around the eyebrows restricts
the flow of energy throughout the body. This can be a prime area or
storing daily stress, particularly for people regularly viewing a
computer screen.

6. Allow Your Feelings

Change can only happen in the present. Coming into your body and into the
moment return you to your power source. Interrupt your mental activity,
place your hand on your chest, and ask yourself, "What am I feeling?" It
may start with awareness of sensation in your body. Emotion that's been
feeding anxiety, an obsession, grief, or frustrated attempts to fix or
control a situation may surface. Deep release can also be accompanied by
shaking or jerky movements - much like a cat twitching during his nap.

Once you're in present time and centered in yourself, your perspective
changes away from a narrow focus on the "problem" or person. You gain a
more realistic appraisal of the situation, including your limitations.
You reconnect to life itself, and often new opportunities and solutions
present themselves.

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