Let it go part 2

Last week we dealt with how to defuse the whizz bang feelings that take us over and threaten to run us off our tracks. (Side note: you can catch up here.) How did you find the homework? You could do it now if you forgot or didn’t get round to it – yay for adulting! No detention! This week I have felt more mindful of my feelings when they bubble up – good or bad – and have tried to get better at sharing them with others before they boil over. 

This week we’re tackling the second and more elusive part of letting go. It’s a difficult question: how do we hunt down the silent mood killers – those invisible, undefinable feelings that suffocate us, if we can’t see or hear them. 

Sometimes, it’s like wearing a gorgeous pair of new trousers. You rock up to work feeling epic, and maybe your new threads get some nice comments. It gets to early afternoon, you’ve just had your lunch, and your stomach starts hurting. You spend the afternoon into the evening worrying about what was in that sandwich, and why suddenly your digestion is up the spout. Home time, and after walking through the door you change into your PJs for some sofa time, and…. your tummy ache disappears. 

It wasn’t you, it was the trousers. 

Thing is, all afternoon you’ve been cursing that sandwich, your digestive capabilities. You rushed out between meetings to buy some Gaviscon. But it was the trousers.

Those lovely, pay day treat, make you look a pay grade higher, make-your-bum-look-great trousers have single handedly massacred your afternoon and made you feel really sick in the process.
Sometimes we learn about the silent suffocators later, and that’s just life. 
But what can we do to get ahead of the game and sniff out those conniving weasels before they get the better of us?
1) Pay attention. 
All good detectives are good at spotting clues. What makes you crabby? What are the patterns? What is too good to be true (ahem POSH TROUSERS IN THE SALE ahem ahem)?
2) Collect evidence. 
You have your suspects: congratulations! A colleague who smothered you with kindness also bombards you with tasks late in the day, or a habit that feels great in the moment but costs you later. Yes, large glass of white wine on a Tuesday night. My Wednesday headache and I see you and we have a warrant for your arrest.
3) Deliberate to decide your verdict.
This is the actual letting go. If you did your homework last week you know quite a lot already how this bit might work for you.
If it’s an external stressor, you need to consider your position. Is there some feedback you need to give? Or do you need a more drastic change in circumstances to let go? Maybe you need to let go of a thing in order to let go of this feeling, like a responsibility at work, or a toxic friendship. 
For the internal cords that bind us, this stuff can hurt. Long-held beliefs or coping mechanisms can keep us in a happy lockdown. But if you’ve come this far, maybe there’s part of you that does want to let go. 
This stuff is hard, that’s why the cause was so tricky to find in the first place. Talk your situation through with some people you trust, or write about it in your journal to get your head and heart straight before taking action or accepting the status quo and all the feels it brings.
This week’s homework: 
1) Recall your last bad day or experience. Write it down, play it through in your head, or grab a pal and tell each other. Go for detail. How did you feel when you woke up? What did you eat and wear? How did that make you feel? What did people say to you? What happened that you weren’t expecting? What did you expect to happen that didn’t? How did you react? 
2) Now get forensic. Which of these details makes your skin prickle when you think back to it? What evidence is there for your feelings – was it the external stressor or the internal reaction that brought up the difficulty?
3) What one thing, or couple of things, would you like to remove from that day or experience?
4) What do you need to do to let go of that?
5) What are you waiting for? And do you need to carry on waiting? Only you can choose to let go.

Claire Eadington geeks out on workflow management, performance and wellbeing. Claire’s TEDx talk about barriers to performance for exceptional women kicked off the 2017 TEDxWhitehallWomen event in London.

Claire writes a weekly blog, Self Curious, on NPW’s website.
Read more blogs here.



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