Here’s a short list that helps me let go in times when I’m grieving something I’ve lost or am feeling stuck in an unhealthy cycle of negative emotions that leaves me feeling down or discouraged. Maybe you’ll find it useful:
1. Let your focus be not on what you’ve lost but on what remains. A woman who cared for a mother with progressive dementia said this advice carried her through the hard times of gradually losing the mother she knew.
2. Keep a gratitude journal. In honoring what “remains,” develop a daily habit of writing down several things for which you are grateful in your day, and give thanks to God for these things.
3. Practice “letting go” with the things you find easier to part with. If there is something you’ve not been able to let go of in your life, practice letting go on some smaller things, such as your possessions. Hold a big yard sale and sell your stuff at rock-bottom prices. (You may find that I show up.) Or, start giving away your things to friends who can use them. Or, if you belong to a church, tithe generously. This practice of holding your material possessions lightly may begin to feel so good that you’ll find it less intimidating to let go of the harder stuff.
4. Pray, pray, pray, and invite a couple close friends to pray for you. Ask God daily to help you let go this day. Letting go for the rest of your life may sound daunting and impossible, but letting go this day and living in the present this day, are doable. Ask God to let you release those things that are keeping you from living freely in the present this day. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
5. Pay attention to your breath and visualize letting go. Work on inhaling God’s grace and exhaling the negative emotions. As you’re doing this, ask Jesus to show you what He would do with whatever you’re holding on to. Jesus will show you. You may need to do this over and over again, or regularly, but it helps.
6. Cultivate laughter and a sense of humor. A measure of how much you’re holding on to is how well you’re able to laugh. Some will say they don’t have a sense of humor. I don’t believe this. Cultivating a sense of humor is like learning any other skill. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Find outlets for laughter. Then practice deep, throaty laughs. You’ll find it therapeutic.