You might wonder if you missed anything, reading the title for this article, but a couple of years ago, in 2019, I already wrote an article with this exact same title. After taking some time to re-read it I have come to the conclusion that not only have I grown beyond who I was then, I’m also no longer an overthinker. I suppose that my burn-out is partly responsible for how I handle my life nowadays, but letting go of things has just become easier for me. Easier, but sometimes that still means it can be really hard. I’m only Human, after all. Still, I really wanted to write a new article about letting go, because it’s a universal thing. People get stuck, and find it hard to let go of so many things, whether it’s a broken relationship, a person that was lost, or some goal you just didn’t reach and feel regret for.
How mindfulness can be a true help for letting go
Five years, that’s how long I’ve been meditating for now. I’ve done this for roughly 10-15 minutes almost daily, mostly missing my sessions during the weekend, when I’m usually relaxed enough that I feel I don’t need it as much to start my days. The thing is that during meditation, you train your mind to let go of distractions and try to stay “in the moment”. This means that as soon as you’re distracted by a thought, you actively tell yourself: “I’m thinking.” And then you try to let go of your thoughts and focus once again on your breathing. With enough practice, this means that you’ll train your brain to do this outside of meditation as well, meaning you’ll be able to focus so much better. Does that mean I’m no longer easily distracted by things? No. But I do realise when my thoughts are racing when they shouldn’t be.
Thinking is not a bad thing, but…
With all of this focus on letting go of thoughts, I’ve found that this training also caused me to no longer chase after thoughts when I know they’re not going to get me anywhere. Thinking is definitely not a bad thing, but if you’re guilty of going over the same fictional conversation over and over in your head, all you’ll end up doing is exhausting yourself and most people will agree with me that non-constructive thoughts are a waste of time. Even in the past, when I did try to imagine how a conversation with someone would go, they were never anything like what I did imagine and always took some unexpected turns. The truth is simply that you can’t know how anything will go until it is actually happening, meaning that allowing your thoughts to race is highly unconstructive. The best thing is to just “let go”.
I know I make it sound easy and trust me, reading back my 2019 article, I couldn’t help but see that I was just so different back then. This means that meditation has had its impact on me and who I am and why I so highly recommend everyone to give it a try, although there is no try, only do, or do not. 😉 But there are other methods to help you stop overthinking and being able to let go of certain things, which I will, of course, also share in this article.
Writing things down and journaling
Another way of getting rid of racing thoughts and things you wish to let go of is simply by writing them down. I am an avid journaler and if has taught me anything it is that it’s just such a great feeling to put your thoughts on paper, just for yourself. If it makes you feel beter, you can have someone else read your entries too. Sometimes it’s hard to say things, but when we have put them on paper, and have someone read them, they might understand your point of view better. Just give it a try sometime if you’re having trouble with someone you love and have trouble telling what’s really bothering you by talking. I know it has saved me a bunch of times when I had Bren just read what I had penned down, instead of saying the words and stumbling to find the right ones.
Journals are a great way to make sense of your thoughts. Re-reading them will often point out just where some of your problems might lie, or with whom. I sometimes like to pick up an old journal and read a couple of entries, just to see what life was like back then and which topics were top of mind. Just like how I found my old article an eye opener and noticed how much I’ve grown, it’s one of the best things in the world. Sometimes you won’t believe how things you find trivial these days were one of your biggest worries in the past.
Letting go through a ritual
Bren introduced me to so much lovely things and one of the absolute best things is a ritual for letting go. The idea is very simple, but also highly effective. First, you find something to write the things on you wish to let go of. The most obvious item would be a piece of paper, but you can also use a big autumn leaf, which I think is much more symbolic, because old leaves are already returning to the Earth. Then, once you’ve written the things you wish to let go of on your item of choice, you can choose to either burn them, or you can crumble or tear them to small pieces and let the wind take them away. But before you do either of those things, you hold on to the piece of paper, or leaf, consciously think about what you wrote down and imagine those things vanishing into the fire, or on the wind.
I’m by no means a highly spiritual guy and science will always be my guiding factor in life, but the symbolism and mindfulness that comes with this particular ritual is just so strong, I can’t deny that it really helped me to flip a switch in my mind that will allow me to let go of a couple of things that really bothered me, about myself. The first one is my fear of being able to find a publisher for my novel ‘Stempels’ and the other is my tendency to procrastinate. I know my fear is unfounded, so I’m having less trouble letting go of that, but I think that my procrastination really needs more work than just writing down that I want to let go of it, but acknowledging it, that’s a nice first step, as is the case with anything that you want to work on!
Just… let go!
So, there you have it, my tips for letting go. I know that having years of meditation experience is one of the biggest perks I’ve got, allowing me to let go of things than I was able to in the past. Also adopting a modern stoic lifestyle helps, which is what I’ll definitely write more about. But any of these things can help you, if you’re stuck in a situation and you wish to let go of something. Racing thoughts and infinite loops inside your head can be killing, I know, because I’ve been there in the past. Being able to identify thoughts that actually lead to something, or will just cause you to hit a dead end will help you to let go of anything much easier.
Are there any tips you’ve got for letting go? Or do you have any questions about my suggested methods? Please let me know in the comments below!