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Essential Strategies for Letting Go of Stress

Stress is an inescapable part of our daily lives. Whether it’s the pressure of a demanding job, personal crises, traffic jams, relationship troubles, health concerns, or financial woes, stress can pervade every aspect of our existence. The effects of stress are far-reaching – it can diminish our happiness, impair our effectiveness, strain our relationships, sap our energy, compromise our health, and even contribute to mental health issues like anxiety.

In this guide, we’ll explore how to let go of stress whenever we become aware of its presence in our lives.

Understanding the Root Cause

The Clash Between Ideals and Reality

Image by stockking on freepik | Stress is an inevitable aspect of daily life, from demanding jobs to personal crises.

Freepik | stockking | Stress is an inevitable aspect of daily life, from demanding jobs to personal crises.

Why do we find ourselves stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed? The root cause lies in the disconnect between our desires and the realities of the world around us. We crave a calm, orderly, comfortable existence, but the world rarely conforms to these ideals. Instead, it presents us with chaos, disorder, complexity, interruptions, unplanned events, health issues, accidents, and situations that rarely unfold as we had envisioned.

The stress we experience does not stem from the messiness and chaos of the world itself; rather, it arises from our attachment to our ideals and our desire for the world to be different than it is. We harbor ideals about how others should behave, how we should conduct ourselves, and how everything in our surroundings should be. While these ideals are not problematic, our attachment to them is what causes us stress.

The good news is that we can let go of this attachment, and the world doesn’t need to change for us to find relief. By relinquishing our grip on our ideals, we can release ourselves from the bonds of stress.

Letting Go of Stress: A Three-Step Practice

Step 1: Become Present With the Physical Sensation

When you find yourself in a moment of stress, the first step is to drop into your body and notice how the stress feels. Observe the sensation without judgment – it’s not a problem to have stress in your body; it’s a physical feeling. Be present with this feeling, and allow it to be there. This practice alone can be enough, and it need only take a few moments.

Step 2: Notice Your Ideals and Narratives

Freepik | katemangostar | Self-made ideals harm. But if you made them, you can release them.

Next, notice the ideal or narrative that is fueling your stress. What is causing this physical sensation in your body? You likely have an ideal scenario regarding how the world, others, or you yourself should be behaving, and reality is not aligning with that ideal. Notice the narrative you’re telling yourself about the situation: “They shouldn’t act like that,” “I don’t like this,” “I’m such a failure and unworthy of love.”

Observe the familiar narrative playing out in your mind. Recognize that this ideal and narrative are the root causes of your stress, anxiety, fear, or feeling of being overwhelmed. They are not serving you well.

Also, notice that these ideals and narratives are fabrications of your mind. You created these dreams that are now causing you harm. The good news is that if you created them, you can also let them go.

Step 3: Let Go and Be Present

The third step is to let go of your ideals and narratives and be present in the moment. Ask yourself what it would feel like to experience this moment without the weight of these ideals and narratives. Imagine the peace and freedom you would experience. You would feel more loving towards yourself or others.

See if you can feel, even for a brief moment, what it would be like to release your ideals and narratives. At that moment, you are free. You can relax and open your mind beyond your self-concern.

Image by wirestock on freepik | Letting go of stress is an ongoing practice, requiring patience, compassion, and present-moment acceptance.

Freepik | wirestock | Letting go of stress is an ongoing practice, requiring patience, compassion, and present-moment acceptance.

This state of openness and presence is always available to you, even in the midst of chaos. Notice the sensations of your body, your surroundings, and the beauty of the people in your life. Marvel at the gift of being alive, with the ability to see, hear, taste, and move.

While you don’t have to be joyous in every moment, this freedom of dropping ideals and narratives and being at peace is always within reach. Even in moments of chaos, you can find freedom and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you.

Embracing the Journey

Letting go of stress is an ongoing practice, one that requires patience, compassion, and a willingness to embrace the present moment, no matter how messy or chaotic it may seem. By following this three-step guide, you can learn to release the ideals and narratives that bind you and, instead, find freedom, peace, and appreciation in the simple act of being present.

The journey to letting go of stress is not a destination but a continuous process of self-awareness, self-acceptance, and a willingness to embrace the beauty of the present moment, no matter how imperfect it may seem.

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