Contrary to popular belief, giving up and letting go are not synonymous. For most of us (
this unbelievable control freak myself included) this is a learned behavior, with lots of cognitive rewiring involved. Like many things, it’s a practice.
It’s loosening your grip on the way things “have to be”. It’s giving yourself a bit more leeway on your journey rather than walking a tight rope. It’s being open to achieving your goals in a way that may be different than what your brain originally imagined. And it’s damn hard.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to practice letting go of control in favor of experiencing life as it comes. The following are a few I find particularly helpful in the world of wellness:
-Find the Ease in Your Exercise: As a yoga instructor, I’ve noticed students tend to anticipate the next pose. Before becoming an instructor, I wondered why some yoga instructors took longer than normal pauses when leading a practice. I now know it’s often a tactic to keep students in the moment. Next time you hit up a yoga class or take part in an online video, resist going ahead of the teacher. In a world where being one step ahead is often applauded, this takes discipline. The more you practice this on your mat, the more likely you’ll be to go with the flow off your mat.
-Fool Around With Your Food: Pick up some plants and get creative. Try a recipe you have never made before or, better yet, make it up as you go. Release the idea that it needs to be perfect. Enjoy the process and use ingredients and flavors you enjoy to come up with something unexpected.
-Stop Managing Your Meditation: Whether it’s 2 minutes or 2 hours, make your meditation an exercise in letting go. Rather than trying to feel calmer, let emotions ebb and flow like the tide. Forcefully willing yourself to be calmer works just as well as forcefully willing yourself to sleep (meaning, not even a little….). Let your mind go where it wants to go and keep bringing your attention back to your breath. Know that even if you don’t end up feeling any calmer this time around, you are making a long term investment in your mental health.
For more ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook!