Even the most rational human beings are basically driven by emotions. That means your actions stem from your emotions and are usually only later justified by logic.
So what does someone do if their emotions aren’t doing them any favors? What if someone’s emotions drive them to binge eating? Or playing video games for the 7th hour straight instead of exercising? Or feeling depressed about the way their body looks and feels?
Aren’t emotions something that happen to us beyond our control?
There are a handful of tips in this book that I consider “life changing.” These are the tips that, even if I didn’t truly fathom their significance at first, once I applied them regularly in my life, I was never the same after.
The tip I’m about to share with you is the blueprint (we should have been taught in school) on how to handle emotions and the ability to simply “let go” of any emotions.
“Letting go” is a very simple but life changing process. It is essentially the ability we all have to let go of or “release” any feelings, beliefs, attachments, resistances that we have internally. Mastering this technique can give you complete emotional freedom.
Here are some examples of “letting go.” A little kid has a fight with his friend, and five minutes later they’re playing together like nothing happened. An adult gets cut off in traffic, and five minutes later they’ve forgotten about it and are chatting with a friend.
But, if these people didn’t “let it go,” the person who got cut off ends up chasing the other driver down the highway with a bad case of road rage. Or that kid grows up and still broods over that one time Timmy called him a “stupid face.”
Sometimes people confuse “letting go” with suppressing emotions or “pretending” like nothing is wrong when “letting go” or “releasing” is quite the opposite. You instead welcome your thoughts and feelings without trying to fight them.
So if you feel like crying – cry. I would suggest doing this exercise alone at first. As you get better, you can let go on the spot such as in a heated environment. In fact, letting go is powerful for keeping your cool and thinking clearly in high stress situations.
One very simple process of letting go is:
- Welcome and accept all thoughts and feelings without judgment or resistance.
- Ask yourself, “can I let this go?” “would I let this go?” “would I rather hold onto this or be free?”
- Repeat the process of welcoming the thoughts and feelings and asking if you could let it go.
This sounds simple. Even too simple. So why does this work so well?
Because instead of fighting against your emotions, you’re welcoming them. Emotions are like someone knocking on the door who will keep knocking until you welcome them in, let them have their say, and then they tend to just leave all on their own.
Another aspect of letting go is forgiveness. Now just to be clear, forgiveness is a health and fitness topic because the research clearly shows that holding onto anger, resentment, and negative emotions from the past eats away at the body.
There’s a quote on forgiveness, which to paraphrase, says “holding resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
Holding onto anger, resentment, and not forgiving is taking your body, health, and happiness prisoner. You’ll never be free to truly live as you want and experience the fullness of life. And to be clear, forgiveness includes forgiving yourself.
I and no one else but yourself can make you forgive. It’s beyond the scope of this guide to touch on how to forgive those who’ve done serious wrong. To forgive what some people have done can quite literally be the hardest thing a person can do, but at the same time the most rewarding in its ability to lift a heavy emotional burden.
I simply ask myself, “would I rather hold onto this and feel pain, or would I rather just let it go and be free? Is this really worth losing my inner peace over, or would I rather just let it go?” “Why am I able to forgive this person?” “Why am I able to forgive even more now?”
It might not happen right away, but slowly but surely with enough of going through this process each day, I can let go of resentment, let go of judgment, and simply be at peace with what is as no amount of wishing things to be different will make it so.
For self forgiveness, if possible, reach out to others and sincerely apologize. It’s not important about whether they forgive you, but recognizing your own mistakes, owning up to them, and forgiving yourself. This can also mean telling yourself you’re sorry for how you’ve treated yourself or your body.
This may sound very “spiritual” for a fitness book, but there is no separating this stuff from the health of the body. I could talk about diet tips and exercise tips all day long, but if I don’t mention this stuff, I’m leaving out something that has a far greater impact on your health and happiness than getting a six pack.
For more information on “letting go” and emotional management, I highly recommend you read the book “The Sedona Method” by Hale Dwoskin which is the best resource I’ve found on the topic. This book alone will likely give you all you need to successfully stick to your fitness goals from an “emotional” point of view in addition to resolving many other emotional issues and addictions a person may have.
The bestselling book “The Power Of Now” by Eckhart Tolle is another excellent read for understanding acceptance and non-resistance on a deeper level from a more philosophical/spiritual view.
If you have any long standing emotional trauma, it’s worth everything to seek counseling and help to let those things go and find forgiveness.