In this article Mindfulness Coach Sebastian explains two of his favourite mental strategies Letting Go and Letting Be to stop overthinking and reduce stress immediately. Keep your eyes open, the letters will travel wirelessly into your brain!
Mindful strategy: Letting Go
Our minds are problem solving machines. Whenever we are facing emotional stress, our minds will try to help us by finding solutions. This results in overthinking of past and future events. While playing situations back and forth, we entangle ourselves in trains of thoughts. These trains can carry us far away within seconds and often lead to more negativity instead of resolution.
The idea of Letting Go is to disengage from thoughts altogether. Knowing that thoughts are mental events and only become reality in the way we are dealing with them. Furthermore, Letting Go works best if we are able to anchor consciousness in our present moment experience.
We can do so by …
- Setting and holding an intention
- Noticing whenever attention is being pulled or distracted
- Coming back to what you actually set out to do
Say you want to write an email or do a 30′ cardio-workout. Instead you find yourself checking the news, social media or messaging friends. The moment you notice that you are being distracted or distracting yourself, you choose to gently bring back the focus of your attention to the task that you set out to accomplish. In this case, to write the email or to do the cardio workout.
Mindful strategy: Letting Be
Our minds are comfort seeking machines. Whenever we are facing discomfort or stress, the mind will try to help us by finding something comforting. This often results in “having it your way”. It can lead to the constant optimisation of your surroundings. And it is a bad habit.
Be with whatever arises
The intention of Letting Be is to indeed be with whatever arises in the field of your awareness. This way helps to keep an open state of awareness. If an urge to change or do something forms in your mind, you can choose to be with it, knowing that you don’t have to act.
“Letting Be is the courage to NOT have it your way”
The trick is to notice and pay attention to any sense of discomfort without judging. Any thought that tells you that this is not your favourite way, any tendency to change the current situation, any bodily discomfort can be invitations to let be.
Your attention will only be divided for a moment and then return to connecting with presence. This can be very useful in any social setting or when you want to improve your performance at work or in sport.
Ways of strengthening the Letting-muscle
Any formal or informal mindfulness practice can be used to In order to strengthen the mental LETTING-muscle. Each practice sets an intention, like “anchoring awareness in the present moment” or “bringing back the focus of attention whenever attention is being pulled”.
An awareness of breathing exercise for example sets the intention anchor awareness in present moment experience by paying attention to the body sensations of breathing.
Every time you bring back the focus of attention to breathing, you also let go of a distraction. Every time you choose to not act on an urge to move or shift, you also let the sensation and the urge be.