Quick Stress Management Tip: Practice letting go through "okay" breathing.

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2012-01-30 10:42:09 -0600
Started 2011-12-04 16:58:20 -0600

Does that control thing keep popping up?

Trying to be in control is like holding a big block of ice cream tightly in your hands while you try to force it into a different shape. And as you push and prod at it, the ice cream begins melting, flowing out though your fingers. You might sort of push into a different shape, but sooner or later all your hard work is going to lead to a sticky puddle on the floor and a lot of wasted energy (not to mention ice cream).

You’ve been told this before. Okay. So we seem to be pretty much in agreement that we don’t have control over everything. Living with a chronic condition has a way of reminding us, just in case we forgot. Still, some days the treatment regimens, symptoms and side effects, daily self-care, emotional ups and downs…

The result of trying to be in control — when you aren’t in control – is stress. The result of viewing your life as happening TO you, and wanting to do battle with your own life, is more stress.

If the control thing is stressing you out, it might be time to practice letting go. So how do you let go?

First, be aware of how you are feeling when that “this should not be happening and I should be able to do something about it” button is being pushed. Angry? Frustrated? Sad? This is a sign that it’s time to take a step back.

Second, retreat from the battlefield, mentally and, if possible, physically. Move away from the action and get into a comfortable position, preferably in a quiet place.

Third, use the “okay” breathing technique. Say “Ohhhh” as you breathe in, followed by “kaaaay” as you exhale.

Repeat the okay breaths a few times. Relax your body as you consciously release the need to control, to force life to be different than what it is, to rewrite the past or to control the future. Use the okay to chase away the words like can’t, shouldn’t, won’t, and never. Keep your mind focused on the rhythm of your breathing, and that gently okay in the background.

Ohhh kaaaay… let it all that stress go.

Feel that great sense of peacefulness and calm. Isn’t it great not to have to be in charge?

Okay breathing takes some practice, but it’s well worth it. Sure, it helps you relax. But it is also a way of teaching your mind that you don’t have to constantly “do.” You can just be, and accept life as it is.

Does this sound like giving up? Actually it’s exactly the opposite.

Practicing letting go helps you to accept life on life’s terms, and not be stuck in that mindset where nothing seems right and so everything must be wrong.

What’s powerful about acceptance is that when you stop fighting life, and instead go with the flow, you also free up our mind to see what’s possible. Seeing what’s possible is the beginning to figuring out what action you can take. It allows you to focus your energy and use it where it will be productive. That’s power.

So relax. Practice letting go of the need to be in control. Okay?

29 replies

ladyJENbugz 2012-01-30 10:42:09 -0600 Report

Don't burn the candle at one end my Mother told me and
lack of sleep, poor diet and no exercise wreaks havoc on our body and mind. Kind of obvious, but worth mentioning as it’s often ignored as a stress management technique. Listen to your mother and don’t burn the candle at both ends!

meowbat 2011-12-12 02:45:33 -0600 Report

Sorry, the ice cream practice is a nice thought. BUT If I had a block of that(any flavor) in my hands, shaping it would not be the issue. Dealing with the MIGRAINE due to the BRAIN FREEZE from EATING THE WHOLE THING would be just 1 issue, BS, guilt, and feeling stupid would be fringe events.
I do practice letting go on a daily basis.
I don't have a panic attack every time my BS is up.
I don't have a complete B-fit every time the price of my meds have gone up yet again.
I am now able to avoid confronting ignorant people for the stupid things that fall from their mouths.
I finally decided that the only person who had to deal with my "D" was me.
I learned a long time ago that control was like money, once you know how to loose it, you have learned how to save it.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-12-13 14:35:01 -0600 Report

HI meowbat!

I see what you mean here. Brain freeze would be the last thing that you would want.

I appreciate your wisdom here. Life gets a lot easier when we can just let go of the things that you can't control anyway, kind of like walking away from the playground bully.

Great quote about money. I am going to remember that one!

Stay in touch!


meowbat 2011-12-15 05:56:44 -0600 Report

thank you for the nice feedback!!! as for staying in touch, this is the first time I've been able to get DC on my computer in 2+ days. git here this time through my private email updates!!!! any body else having the same problems??????

June Tademy
June Tademy 2011-12-05 20:29:49 -0600 Report

Fantastic, I like this and find it very helpful "stop fighting life and go with the flow"and that is exactly what I am now doing. Iwill try the exercise I know it will help . Thank you for sharing

Mickey/CCHT 2011-12-04 21:34:17 -0600 Report

This is very important to remind us all of this. We get so caught up in everything, we forget to breathe! Sometimes to be "in" control, is to be "out" of control so to speak.
Thanks again.
Peace, Mickey

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-12-05 23:05:44 -0600 Report

HI MIckey,

I love that. Absolutely. Being out of control means giving up what you can't have anyway. That's freedom!

Thank you!


jayabee52 2011-12-04 17:33:07 -0600 Report

Well being officially disabled and my full time job is managing my conditions, I have been doing that "go with the flow" more.

meowbat 2011-12-12 02:50:05 -0600 Report

James, How did you get the"Officially"? I've been waiting for that for what seems like forever.

jayabee52 2011-12-15 04:53:31 -0600 Report

for me it was automatic after I had ESRD (end stage renal disease) and dialysis.
I had applied for Soc Sec Disability and Medicare (I think the soc. worker in the dialysis clinic, or the soc wrkr in the hospital did it for me. Then Soc Sec worker called me for an interview. I waited about 2 mos or so for approval, but got paid all the way back to my disability way back in Dec 2005. So by washington red tape standards it was "automatic" LoL!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-12-05 23:04:49 -0600 Report

HI! I didn't realize that you are not working at this point. How is that going for you? Doing okay? Go with the flow are words for us all to live by.

jayabee52 2011-12-12 02:10:27 -0600 Report

I have been disabled from my CNA work since Dec 2005. I was just about to get a new line of work through voc rehab when my kidneys shut down (Nov 2007) and put me on hemodialysis. That put me on the disabled status permanently, and I got SS disability pay and medicare right away. (according to law it is an automatic disability status)

I manage with the income i am making with the disability pay. I have cut my expenses quite low so my outgo doesn't exceed my income.

So I am doing OK.

Thanks for asking Gary


meowbat 2011-12-12 02:55:06 -0600 Report

how long did it take to diagnose your kidneys? what were your symptoms or was it just sudden and obvious?

jayabee52 2011-12-12 03:21:10 -0600 Report

Well if laying on one's bedroom floor for about 6 days in a semi-comatose conditon and then going to the hospital for about 1/2 a month isn't sudden and obvious I wouldn't know what that would be.

Looking back on the day or two before Nov 1, I did have symptoms but they were so subtle or were symptoms I could pass off as something I had already, so when I ended up in the ER and on the dialysis machine and then in ICU for several days (don't remember how many) I was surprised.

I came out of the semi comatose condition on my own and wasn't aware of the number of days which had passed until about a month later.

I had gone to bed on Nov 1. and my son came to check on me on Nov 7 (his birthday) He wanted to take me to the ER and I was feeling like I didn't need to go and argued with him about it for a bit. But I eventually decided to humor him and he took me to ER. I was shocked when the ER docs Dxed me with kidney shutdown and admitted me to the ICU and put me on hemodialysis.

jayabee52 2011-12-12 17:38:18 -0600 Report

Not that I noticed myself, Kathleen, but it is said that many kidney patients do have problems with swelling.

The nurses at the dialysis clinic where I got treatment would always press the skin around my ankles and they thought I had a little swelling, but it was not all that bad IMO.

meter readers of void
meter readers of void 2011-12-12 05:33:25 -0600 Report

my son does and my mother does quiet ofter so yes I cook ,clean ,drive sometimes for her——her pies,cakes and cany was good growing up so why not pay it foward, now my sister is someone else to watch out for as well,,,, the care factor in my nature gets the best of me at times,ofter find myself alone trying to make sense of it all,my mother cared for my step father that was pretty bad d2 and my sister cared for my brother in law that was d2 so now just watch and learn the best that I can- tell myself the ac1 is on just turn it down some

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-12-13 14:20:02 -0600 Report

Hi meter readers! It sounds like you have a lot of caregiving to do. I hope that you will stay in touch with us and let us give you some support. Glad you are here!

Caroltoo 2011-12-04 17:11:59 -0600 Report

Very well stated and I adore the "ice cream analogy".

jayabee52 2011-12-04 17:29:39 -0600 Report

so do I but if I had a lump if ice cream in my hands, menting, I'd probably eat it! LoL!

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