The simple power of letting go (and three ideas to help you do it)

The simple act of letting go has profound benefits—physical, mental and spiritual

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There’s a little story that beautifully illustrates the simple power of letting go. A professor holds up a glass of water and asks his class how much it weighs. Various answers are thrown up and the professor admits that they won’t know for sure unless they weigh it. He then asks them what would happen if he held the glass up like that for an hour. Of course his hands would pain, say his students. The professor then asks them what would happen if he held up the glass like that for an entire day. His students laugh and say that he would definitely get some severe muscle problems—maybe even paralysis. But did the weight of the glass change at all, however much time you hold it up, queries the professor. So what causes this muscle ache and stress? Why not put it down, chorus the students. “Exactly!” says the professor.

Life’s problems are something like this. Hold it for a few minutes in your head and they seem fine. Think of them for a long time and they begin to ache. Hold it even longer and they begin to paralyse you. You will not be able to do anything. It’s important to think of the problems in your life, but even more important to “put them down” at the end of every day before you go to sleep. That way, you are not stressed, you wake up every day fresh and strong and can handle any issue, any challenge that comes your way.

Letting go is our way of embracing life, of living in each moment, engagingly and refreshingly.

Many benefits

The simple act of letting go has profound benefits—physical, mental and spiritual.

Holding on, on the other hand, makes us more vulnerable to health problems. For instance anger and hostility are prime suspects in heart diseases. Gastric problems, including acidity and irritable bowel syndrome [IBS] owe their onset to pent-up emotions.

Emotion, kept in cold storage, and reheated and rehashed, is a sure recipe for looking and feeling old. We become susceptible to allergies, racked by chronic ailments, and the more we remain locked in old patterns, the more we close ourselves to new experiences. Just imagine how much energy we expend each day just holding on to all these things, and the frustration, disappointment, anger, and sadness that we accumulate as a result.

Psychologically, letting go is invaluable in building ourselves up from within. We learn from experiences instead of being carried away by their emotional content. We learn to accept and remain neutral, not allowing anger to fuel an already volatile situation, make choices with clarity and without fear.

How to let go?

So, how can we let go? How can we release that which keeps us blocked? How can we let clogged up patterns and emotions flow on, away from us? Here are three suggestions to help you “loosen up” and embrace what life has to offer.

Practice forgiveness

Forgiveness is extremely liberating. It frees us; and though we may not excuse the act, we can forgive the person who committed it. Thus, we allow negativity and resentment to loosen its tenacious grip on our psyche, and open ourselves to leading a happier life in the present. It is a decision to let go of resentments, while not condoning the act. Forgiveness is the act of untying yourself from thoughts and feelings that bind you to the offence committed against you. Medically, it has proven effects—lower blood pressure, stress reduction, lower heart rate, better anger management skills and enhanced interpersonal relations.

De-clutter your mind

Just as you clean your closets and sanitise your homes, how about taking time out—perhaps once a month— to sit down and evaluate exactly what you have kept in your mind? What is it that you have “hoarded” that is bogging you down, hampering your productivity, decreasing your efficiency and pulling you down? Then, simply let it go. Let go for a few minutes each day to start with and then for a longer duration, till it becomes second nature to not think about it. It will be difficult at first, but with meditation and practice, you will master the skill. You will feel so rejuvenated; you will be tempted not to look back.

Creative visualisation

This is a process through which you harness the power of your mind to meet your objectives. Picture yourself releasing, letting go of all that is holding you back from peace, contentment, health and happiness. It could be an old resentment, a co-worker’s bad attitude and your hostile feelings associated with him/her, or a lost love. Next, picture yourself exactly as you want to be. Make sure you see this very clearly. Once you’ve got the picture in your head, think of it often. Not only when you are relaxing or meditating, but also through the day. This is the process of sending that positive energy out into the universe. The more positive energy you send out, the more you will get back.

Lastly, believe that the person you visualise is really you, free from painful attachments and negative memories, already having “let go”. Any disbelief is negative energy, and will counteract what you’re trying to achieve. And once you see it come true, acknowledge that you made it happen. Give yourself a pat on the back. To reward is to reinforce the feeling, energising it to make it your.

Magnifying lens over an exclamation markSpot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!

Ryan Harrison
Ryan N Harrison, a holistic health educator and consultant in private practice, holds a post-graduate degree in transpersonal psychology and certifications as nutritional consultant, holistic health practitioner, spiritual counsellor, quantum-touch practitioner; and advanced practitioner of EFT [Emotional Freedom Techniques]. He also teaches and lectures in online and traditional settings. He lives in California, USA.


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