How to Let Go: Tips from a Life Coach
So… I don’t know how many times you’ve personally seen the movie Frozen. I’m up to about sixteen. For you Elsa fans: my new favorite stress-management technique will help you channel your inner snow queen and let it go, laugh, and surprise and delight everyone around you in the process.
This isn’t the traditional advice you’d hear from a therapist, but you gotta give it to Elsa, singing “Let It Go” works!
Moving Your Body to Let Go
Here’s what happened: I was talking with a new acquaintance who was venting about his stress-of-the-moment — he’d needed to have a sign printed for an environmental awareness event and it hadn’t been done properly, so he had to finish the job himself and then rush to get to the event on time.
Finishing it involved the use of spray-adhesive that was full of chemicals, and he is committed to a scrupulously non-toxic life, so this was an added stressor for him.
Practically mid-sentence, he completely surprised me. He stopped talking, crouched down, and then stood again, sweeping both arms up and to the side as he said, “spray adhesive.” He then crouched down and swept his arms up again as he rose to say, “let it go.”
Of course, by the time he was done with this, he was smiling. And the angst was over. He finished his sign and zoomed off, tires screeching, towards his event.
I wandered away from this exchange smiling too, and his technique for “letting it go” stuck with me. I thought it was so cute I wanted to share it with you. I’ve tried this several times myself and with some of my life coaching clients, and something about the combination of intention, movement, and humor makes it work like a charm every time.
How to Try This Yourself
Next time you have some nagging anxiety/irrational fear/angsty-thing-you’re-stuck-on happening, try this:
Step 1. Do the “sweep” (crouch down and rise, sweeping your arms to the side) and say the name of the thing you’re stuck on.
Step 2. Do the “sweep” again and say, “Let it go!”
Step 3. Giggle and move on.
Want an example? “Podcast is late being published! Let it go!” (It’s working for me today.)
Before You Move Forward and Let Go, Stop!
Part of letting go in life is knowing when it’s time to take a break. Sometimes we may want to move forward, but we first have to stop. In other words, take time for yourself. Taking time to recharge, rest, focus on self-care, or just to be still can do wonders for our health both mentally and physically. The everyday hustle and grind is not meant to be sustainable–our bodies and brains were not intended to go nonstop! Add in the stress of a worldwide pandemic, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Learn to let go by not moving forward, even if briefly. Sounds counterintuitive, maybe, but I promise it will help you let go of unnecessary stress and burnout.
Ready to Make Positive Changes?
When you are ready to make some changes, make sure you are navigating towards positive ones. Do you want to find love, be more confident, make a career change, release old resentments and hurts, or be healthier? Great! This is the time to move forward and let go of the negatives in life that might be weighing you down. That might mean letting go of a toxic relationship, resentment, unforgiveness, or someone or something that is holding you back from your best life. Remember that real change starts from inside — keep getting to know yourself and you will find it so much easier to let go of that which does not serve you.
But What If I Feel Trapped or Stuck?
You may feel like you still just can’t let go, can’t move forward, or that you are trapped/stuck in a situation or relationship. Get out of that trap! Spark your creativity by putting pen to paper and make a list of what you would do if you had no fear. Or what you would do if you had unlimited resources. You can write down a pros/cons list or just a stream of consciousness about things you’d like to change in your life. Imagine living a life with no regrets from this point forward, and write out what that would look like. Sometimes the act of getting thoughts out of our heads and on to paper is enough to have a lightbulb moment. That can be the impetus to real change. And if you still need motivation, self-awareness, or empowerment to help your process of moving forward, just channel your inner Elsa and try “the sweep” while belting out “let it goooooo!” Then, truly let go and move forward.
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.