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?
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