Discover what’s holding you back—and how to get to your good place
Posted July 07, 2010 from Woman’s Day August 2010
“Letting go is all about adjusting your mindset,” says Pam Peeke, MD, MPH, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the
and author of Body for Life for Women. “It starts to happen when the pain of being who and where you are exceeds the work you must do to let go,” says Dr. Peeke. “Once you stop saying ‘but’ and start saying ‘and,’ you’re ready.” University of Maryland
“You can’t let go if you’re anchored in fear,” says Kay Cannon, an executive coach in
. “We may feel frustrated or confused or overwhelmed, but it all distills down to fear. And when you’re afraid, your body’s fight-or-flight reaction is in overdrive.” To let go of fear, you have to identify the mindset that’s driving it. “Often people don’t make connections and walk around wondering,Why am I so frustrated?" says Dr. Peeke. “You have to make an inventory of stress to pinpoint what’s causing your fear. Write down everything that’s bugging you and try to understand where it’s coming from.” Lexington, Kentucky
To let go of a mindset or a situation, pull back and go through your emotions about it. Observing something instead of living it allows you to step away from the action and see more clearly how you feel.
We all have emotions and mental habits that stop us from letting go. Guilt, negative self-talk, always striving for perfection and ruminating are common ones for women. And they tend to build on each other. We’re expected to always be taking care of (and worrying about) everyone else. If we focus on ourselves, we often feel guilty.
“A woman I know used doing community service as a way to stop herself from becoming an artist. It was a convenient (and altruistic) excuse to avoid doing what she really wanted to do. She put her ambition on hold because it felt selfish,” says Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction. “We want to do everything really well: be a parent, be a friend, have a successful and fulfilling career. When that doesn’t happen, we take it out on ourselves, and this can lead to negative self-talk,” says Fortgang.
You may have heard this one before, but it’s really crucial to getting in the mindset to let go. And it leads to a big benefit: feeling in control. Maybe you’ve struggled for years, trying to break your family of the little habits that drive you crazy, whether it’s your husband leaving a trail of dirty laundry across the bedroom floor, or a sullen tween who’d rather slam a door than talk to you. You may not be able to reform them, but you can let go of (and control) the anger and frustration you feel about it.
1. Embrace the mantra "don’t worry, be happy."
Yearning for a new job, a new house? Consider your circumstances. You may find that you’re grateful for and content with what you already have.