Letting Go for Health: A Personal Reflection

Dear reader, I won’t presume to understand your thoughts or values. What I’m sharing here is a reflection on my reality, and if you, like me, occasionally find yourself mired in the doldrums of self-criticism, perhaps you’ll discover a nugget of insight here.
I’m not a fatalist, nor do I champion complete free will. Somewhere between these extremes lies a point of flow and ease. In life, we often prove to be our own most significant hurdle. Harsh self-judgment, overanalysis of our actions, and the creation of invisible barriers can impede our journey to greatness.
After Charles died, I lost touch with the deepest part of myself. This isn’t unique to me; others who’ve experienced loss, especially traumatic, have noted a near-complete disconnection from their innate awareness.

Free will and fatalism feel like untethered concepts beyond awareness. Trust in the world erodes while every decision becomes a cause for questioning. Loss shakes the very foundations of our understanding of the world and ourselves, revealing the intricate emotional landscape that grief often brings.

Life now exists in the before and after, the time stamp of the Charles era and the now. Each picture of the kids, every recalled event, bears the mark of then and now. I acknowledge that some may find this challenging, but I believe there’s a gift in every loss. Small awareness or internal belief systems upgrade to cope with the harshness of reality, though it can take time.

A recent stroll through Michaels triggered memories of a time when I relished creating picture collages, filling our living spaces with family photos. There was a moment of guilt for not propping up memories around the house as much anymore, but I promptly released that thought. I’ve learned not to hang onto guilt. Two choices lay before me: wallow in self-pity or press the “look how well you’ve done” button in my brain. The synaptic connection to this positive thought pattern is now well-honed, but it took time. Instead of succumbing to pity, I’ve learned to let go. Let go of the things I cannot do, preventing them from nibbling little holes into my identity.

This approach could benefit many of us entangled in the chase of our thoughts, stuck in the constant pull of what should be. This path doesn’t lead to calm and contentment. Recognizing the impact of self-judgment and the creation of invisible barriers is freedom.

I’ve crafted a list of steps to take when letting go of thought patterns that do not serve me. I sincerely hope some of these steps resonate with you:

Measure backwards. Keep a journal and reflect on where you were a year ago or a month ago. Inevitably, you will find some slight shift in thinking or daily practice that you have upgraded that you might not have even realized. Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy have an excellent book called The Gap and The Gain that outlines how to achieve this.

Challenge Negative Thoughts: Question the validity of your negative thoughts. Ask yourself if there is evidence to support these thoughts or if they are based on assumptions. Often, negative thoughts are distorted and exaggerated. 

Limit Negative Inputs: Pay attention to the media, social media, and the people around you. If certain sources consistently contribute to negative thought patterns, consider limiting your exposure to them.

Negative bias: Remember, we humans have a negative bias. We often tend to focus more on and give greater importance to negative experiences, information, or stimuli than to positive ones. This bias has evolutionary roots and served us during more primal times. Simply understanding that we track to the negative can be sufficient to illicit change when we feel ourselves being pulled into self-doubt and criticism. 


Get adjusted: Connect with your physical body. When we nurture our physical body, it translates to an elevated state of calm and contentment. Chiropractic is a fantastic way to achieve a heightened connection to self. Chiropractic reconnects the body and mind through gentle spinal alignment. We are sensory beings, and our experience of the environment around us is processed through our nervous system. When that nervous system is out of healthy alignment, it can affect our ability to manage stress and stressful thoughts. 


Life consistently offers lessons. What if we viewed challenges from a different perspective? Seeking opportunities to learn from life’s challenges can reframe our stress response over time, allowing us to live with less stress and guilt.

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