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The 3 Step Process To Let It Go

"Let It Go" by Amy Eliza Wong, Life Coach in the Sacramento, CA area

I’m a big believer that our experience of the world exists within conversations – because our lives are defined by our relationships, which are defined by conversations. I’m currently engaged in a course on a new field of study, Conversational Intelligence, which covers the neuroscience of conversations as it relates to our personal lives and professional organizations. So, inevitably, expect an occasional nugget that touches upon the transformative nature of conversations until the end of July. 🙂

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… I learned that 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.

Ugh.

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.

So how do we just “let it go?”

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.

  1. Check in with how you feel. If you’re nearing the triggered feeling, shift your focus to the PAST, the origination point, and look at the event/situation/person objectively. Recognize that whatever it is that you’re holding onto isn’t real because it isn’t NOW. The conversation/exchange/event/situation does not exist in this current now state… which means it’s nothing but a thought.
    ___________
    Recognizing that your emotional reaction is due to a not-real-anymore past helps to loosen the grip.
    ___________
  2. Now shift your focus to the PRESENT – to right now. This triggering thought: is it serving you to think about it right now in this very moment? Does it relate to, and play a crucial part in, your current reality as you read this? I’ll bet it doesn’t. Get present and recognize what’s truly real in this very moment. Because right now that person most likely isn’t in front of you, that situation isn’t happening, and that conversation is long gone (and probably forgotten.) You’ll find that now holds more peace than you realize.
    ___________
    At this point, you’ve probably “let it go.” If not…
    ___________
  3. …shift your focus to the FUTURE. What do you want to be true? Conceptualize a future you want to see and keep your focus there. More importantly, conjure up the feelings you’re desiring as a result of this envisioned future. As I mentioned in my last blog, you run right into what you focus on so ensure that what’s keeping you hung up isn’t in your future vision. If you can’t let it go in the now moment where it’s actually void of real stress, then contemplate the future you want and hold it until what was is completely out of focus and you’ve consequently let it go.

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 a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA 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.

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