I’m a big believer that our experience of the world exists within conversations. Why? Because our lives are defined by our relationships, which are defined by conversations. I am certified in Conversational Intelligence, which studies the neuroscience of conversations as it relates to our personal lives and professional organizations. So naturally, you can expect an occasional nugget about transformative nature of conversations in my articles. 🙂
Now onto the art of letting go…
This is a topic that comes up often, both with friends and clients. Holding on to “stuff” can be a serious source of voluntary misery.
Today’s nugget… Cortisol, a neurotransmitter associated with the “fight or flight” response that tells the brain to shut down executive functions when a threat presents itself, has a shelf life of 26 hours in our system.
That’s a long time.
What’s also important to note is that if the triggering experience is replayed or ruminated on within the 26 hours, it starts over. If you’re like me you’re probably discouraged also. This means that unless I’m impeccable at shielding myself from anything triggering, unnecessary cortisol will course through my system causing undue physiological, and thus mental and emotional, stress.
Learning to “let it go,” then, is important not just for a better quality of life but literally for our peace of mind… and body.
We may be addicted to being right (which has big neurological pay-off, by the way), feel compelled to brood over painful memories, or beat ourselves up with “would of/could of/should of” thinking, but no one consciously chooses to hold on to pain and hurt for the sake of a point of view.
Learning to release the stuff that keeps us in a negative feedback loop is the difference between living an on-purpose life and letting life run amok.
It’s not complicated if you realize that all that “stuff” causing misery exists in thought, which is controlled by focus. Our focus can only be channeled to past, present, or future thinking.
What is the direction and content of your focus that’s keeping that stuff alive?
A Three Step Process To Let It Go.
Past, Present, and Future.
Our brains are beautifully neuroplastic, meaning our brains learn and change with experience as dictated by our focus. Elevate your emotional state by taking yourself on the objective journey to the past to realize the “stuff” as just a thought and not a reality, experience your now as a reality of true peace, and envision your future you’d be delighted to have. So let it go and keep those executive functions of your prefrontal cortex running smoothly. And, of course, always on purpose!
Amy Eliza Wong is an executive coach, writer, and speaker in the Greater Bay Area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.