Learning to Let Go of Things You Can't Control

There will always be events in your life, big or small, when you can't control the outcome. Whether it be a divorce, illness, loss of a friend or pet, or a day-to-day obstacle that has you ruminating, there are methods to relieve your upset.

Learning to let go of things you can't control is one of the most important lessons you can learn in life. This lesson can be the difference between life satisfaction and misery.


The age-old practice of meditation is the first method to learn for letting go. Though it may sound intimidating, meditation is simple: sit quietly and allow your thoughts to come, pushing away the negativity with each wave through a positive thought. Your positive thoughts can be a single word, like "peace," or a longer phrase, like "I am whole; I am complete." If you enjoy prayer, you can even recite your favorite prayer, perhaps the Hail Mary or the Serenity prayer, over and over.

These positive thoughts will help to reshape your subconscious thinking. It is an exercise for your brain, not unlike jogging for your body. As you meditate more frequently, your brain will learn to adapt these positive thoughts more quickly and will sustain them throughout the day.


Putting your worry into perspective is another method to help you learn to let go. No matter how grave your problem seems, there is always another situation to which you can compare--mass starvation in Yemen, genocide in Africa, or war in the middle east--to keep your worry in check. Putting your problem into perspective allows you to be grateful that your life is not worse, and it is the gratitude that will help you let go of the worry. 

For example, you may be suffering from financial instability because you lost your job, but you can be grateful for a loving family, your health, or a faithful pet. There are always things in your life for which you can be grateful. Concentrate wholeheartedly on those things and the universe will send more positivity your way. This is a principle of like attracts like, which is relevant to not only physical things but to subconscious thoughts as well.


Sometimes anxiety and worry are too great to begin the other methods for letting go, and so distraction becomes the most important method. Here, you aim to find activities and actions that will distract you enough to alleviate your mind from worry, allowing you to let go. Exercise is an excellent distraction because it focuses your mind on the task at hand and releases beneficial endorphins that enhance your happiness naturally. However, activities like going to the movies, reading a book, talking to a friend, or working on a puzzle, can all be wonderful distractions as well. The goal is simply to take time away from worry.

All of these methods (meditation, perspective, and distraction) will help you let go of things in your life that you can't control.