How to let go of stress and go with the flow: 10 top tips

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Tired of the daily grind?

Are you always trying to swim upstream?
Does everything you look at feel like a struggle to you?

Are you working too hard for too little reward?

If you answered ‘yes’ to most of these questions, then you have probably fallen into the trap of most people, which is thinking they can FORCE things to happen instead of letting the stress go, letting the inspiration flow and letting your universal energy lead you in the right direction.

But don’t worry – you will not be alone in using this approach to pursue your dreams and goals. Most motivational speakers will tell you that taking ACTION is the key to getting things done. You need to be laser focused, create some SMART goals, make lists of things ‘to do’ to set you on the path to your destination; and then, one day, with supreme effort, dedication and hard work, you will achieve your goal.

Now I actually do not fundamentally disagree with this approach save for one small difference. And I have Esther Hicks and Abraham to thank for enlightening me on this. You see I used to be that person, striving, working hard setting goals. And I achieved very many things in my life because of it. But a lot of it felt like a struggle and that I was always working…..I absolutely was always working but I used to feel as though I was on a super fast train. Yes, sure, I had been to many wonderful destinations and done many things I was proud of, but ask me if I could remember them, or much about them, and it was all a bit of a blur. I used to liken it to looking out of the window from the train. I went through many different locations, but so fast that I couldn’t make out the detail or really take the time to appreciate things.

And then I learned something that changed my life. I learned to just trust, to let go and go with the flow.

Yes, I still work hard, and yes I’m still what many would call a workaholic, but I have a much better balance with my work and home life, and things just flow to me now in a way that I would never have expected before, because I believe, that I am now going with the flow of the universe in the direction it wants to take me, rather than turning upstream and paddling for all I’m worth, getting nowhere.
So here are my top 10 tips to help you to let go and go with the flow to find your inspired action rather than trying too hard and having to labour at a form of forced action.

Tip 1: Stop….. and breathe

This is both a physiological antidote to stress and a psychological antidote to negative thinking. By stopping what you are doing and spending a few moments taking deep breaths in and out, focusing on feeling the air (and energy) flow into and out of your body, you can stem the flow of cortisol around your body and rebalance your thinking, getting you onto a more even keel. The best way is to close your eyes and take deep breaths in through your nose for a count of 8 and then blow out through your mouth through slightly parted lips, relaxing your jaw. Visualise your shoulders relaxing and feel the sensation of the air coming in and out of your lungs.

Tip 2: Have some faith – tell yourself: ‘It’s OK, help’s on the way’

Believe that everything will work out and you have a much better chance of that happening. In fact, you cannot have things work out for you if you are constantly worried and sending out worried energies. All you will get back, is more of the same. More worry. Instead, find something to trust in – to begin with, it might only be the fact that you trust the sun to come up and go down every day. That’s fine. That is something to trust; it’s steady, you can rely on it. You can start to believe that there are things in you life that are consistently working for harmony and peace. Whilst I’m not a particular supporter of organised religions myself, I still find a lot of wisdom in a lot of their teachings. One of which is the quote about flowers and nature from Matthew’s gospel, 6:28-9:

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;

They neither toil nor spin

And yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.”

This is about having faith that all is well and that you will be provided for, so why not look around and see just how well natures serves us.

I have found the phrase “It’s OK, help’s on the way” personally to be one of the best ways to get myself out of a downward spiral. I’ve found that it I’m in a particularly difficult or tricky situation and I recognise myself doing some negative thought, that if I stop myself right there and say this phrase to myself a few times, then I can prevent myself sinking further down. It’s an easy and catchy phrase to remember and the best bit it, I don’t even need to know how or where the help is coming from. I just have to tell myself that help is coming and I’ve always found that it arrives – often from the least expected places. Esther Hicks/Abraham would say that it is not our job to work out every little detail of everything we want – only to send up a ‘rocket of desire’ as she calls them, and then to trust that the universe is on the case. So next time to find yourself needing some help, try it and see how much better you can feel.

Tip 3: Look for things that are going well in your life and focus on those

We can all find stressful things to look at if we want to – most of us do it automatically and it becomes our default system. But we can also find a lot of things that are going well and be grateful for those too if we want to. We just have to make a conscious choice and follow that unerringly. If you focus on things that make you feel sad, you’ll just invite in more sadness, so focus on the things that make you feel happier – even if you can only think of one thing right now – the fact that the sun will come up tomorrow, use that. As you blot out the negativity and focus on one good thought, others will follow and before long, you’ll be ‘flowing’ in the right direction.

Tip 4: Stop watching the news and reading newspapers

If you really want to find a lot of things to focus your inner negativity on, read the papers or watch the news channels. Boy, do they love a good negative story! The problem here is that we, as humans, find them irresistible – we like to spread the gossip or wings about how terrible this politician is or how badly that thing in society is going, or……the list is endless. So stop it! Find some self-discipline and refuse to turn on the news for a week. If you need your daily ‘fix’, then briefly read the headlines of the newspapers on the newsstand and then walk on. If you need to know it, it will find you. If you don’t need to know it, you won’t have missed anything.

Tip 5: Distance yourself from negative people in your life

The world is full of different people – that’s how it should be. We are each on our own path, finding our own truths and navigating our own way. That’s what makes up this rich tapestry we call life. We all have a role to play and even people who bug us and seem to bring out the worst in us, are usually fulfilling the purpose of showing us something in ourselves that we need to work on. And for that, we should be grateful and appreciative. However, that doesn’t mean that we need to immerse ourselves in all the things that stress us out. We have free will after all, and should we choose to, we can walk away, ignore or just not engage with situations and people that cause us stress.

Some people will always say that it’s ‘easier said than done’, especially if it is your partner, or boss who you feel are causing you stress. In that case, you really need to take a long and analytical look at the situation and answer 2 questions: 1) Are you making a mountain out of a mole hill and really just need to chill out about it; or 2) is this something that you really shouldn’t be putting up with, in which case you have to be brave enough to tackle it or walk away!

Tip 6: Meditate

Meditation has proven benefits and has been shown to ease stress, lower blood pressure, help with pain relief and help improve anxiety and depression. And you don’t need to adopt the lotus position or chant ‘om’ to engage in meditation either. However, you can do this if you want to. Meditation is really about clearing you mind and sitting still long enough to let messages from your higher self and the universe through. Most of us have so much mind chatter going on all the time that we’ve forgotten how to tune in to ourselves. Meditation gives you this essential connection back again, allowing you to release your stress and connect to the flow of the universe directly.

Tip 7: Go and do something that makes you happy

The American mythologist and author, Joseph Campbell famously said:

“My general formula for my students is “Follow your bliss.” Find where it is, and don’t be afraid to follow it.”

He was an advocate of finding the things that make you truly happy and then pursuing them, because in doing that, you will live an authentic life – the one you were born to do and the one that serves both you, and the community you inhabit, the most. Everyone has things that make them happy – it could be skiing, it could be cooking, painting, tinkering with cars or reading a book. When you feel stressed, have a little box where you ‘ve put some notes or reminders of things that make you happy. It could be a photograph that makes you smile, a favourite tune, or a funny meme that made you life. Or it could be a reminder to yourself to take a walk, a bath, or just curl up with the cat. Simple things can make all the different when you are feeling stressed. No one expects you to go from 10 out or 10 for stress, to 1 at the turn of a button. But doing simple things you love, will bring your stress levels down, one notch at a time.

Tip 8: Make a To Do List: one for you and one for the universe

This is another tip from Esther Hicks/Abraham that I love. It’s a simple one but it helps you let go of things you can’t control, and to delegate some of the things in your life. All you do is get a piece of paper and write a heading on one side that says “things for me to do” and on the other side, you write, “things for the universe to do”. Then you write down you list under one of the two headings. You’ll be amazed at what you can leave the universe to do, freeing you up to focus on more important matters. So put “pick up the kids from school” on your side, but leave “new car and new house” to the universe! The other good thing about this approach is that you no longer have to figure out how it’s going to happen, which is brilliant because you can bet your bottom dollar that the universe has many more ways of doing things than you do!

Tip 9: Make a list of everything new that has come into your life in the last year – people, places, things, experiences

This is an easy one and is and extension of being grateful for things. Life changes and every day is bringing us to new awarenesses, people and places. If you sit down and make a list of all the new things, people and places you have come into contact with in the last year, you’ll start to realise that everything changes all the time, and that letting go and going with the flow is how it is meant to be. We are not meant to cling dramatically to the last branch on the bank when the stream is pulling us down stream. We’re meant experience new places, meet new people and attract new things. When you realise this, it’s easier to let it happen.

Tip 10: Listen to your favourite music or muse

This is a very easy way to relieve your daily stress and reconnect to the real you. Affirmations and music can help you forget what you are currently experiencing and take you back to easier times or allow you to daydream into future happiness. So be a bit more selfish and take some time out for you.

Posted in Coaching, Health, Positive thinking, Processes, Self-Development, Tools.

Hi. I'm Gail and I'm a teacher, coach, writer and blogger who has been involved with self-development and the performing arts for over 30 years. I'm passionate about helping people to develop their full potential and I've studied education, the law of attraction, personal development and NLP which I write about on this site.

I love working with people of all ages and backgrounds and truly believe that we are all unique, unlimited creative beings who can do wonderful things with a positive attitude and spiritual outlook on life.

Here's to your continued success.

Gail

6 Comments

  1. Hey Gail, 

    Some great tips here on how to let go of stress. My area of expertise is helping people optimise their testosterone levels. A major method to do this is reducing stress levels, I’m personally a big fan of meditation & breathing exercises to do just that.

    I like listening to wide range of music, is there a particular type of music that is shown to be most effective for alleviating stress levels?

    • Dear Nate. Thanks for taking the time to read and reply and I’m glad to hear that you have found some of these suggestions useful in your practice too. With regard to your question, I’m not an expert in music therapy although I know that researchers at Stanford University have reported that “listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication.” There is more research needed, obviously, but they found that faster beat music, helped people concentrate as their brain waves synced with the music. Conversely, a slower beat of music helped people relax. 

  2. Stay comfortable for the next few minutes. Use these moments to recharge yourself. Laugh first. Whatever you feel like now, laugh. It has been proven that even if you play a smile, it will improve your mood. Keep laughing all day long. People often forget that every day brings new opportunities. You may think that nothing new is happening, but just by watching the sunrise and sunset, you see that something is always happening. Changes occur daily. Beautiful and unpredictable things can happen to you at any moment. ”

    • Lovely thought Kozakiv, thank you for adding your comments. I agree that the world is such a beautiful place if we could only stop and appreciate it more. Have a wonderful day. Gail 

  3. We used to become experts in what we practice the most. That’s why even happiness results from a deliberate decision of practicing joy and love with anyone around us. The human changes will always happen inside out may be motivated for an extreme external situation, if there’s not an inner change, nothing would happen).

    In your personal opinion, Reiki practice would help you develop peace and happiness?

    • Hi Juan. Thanks for your comments which I agree with. Inner change is where it’s at; in fact it’s the only thing that really creates change in the first place. I like the practice of Reiki and do think it can help with changing energies, but again, the change comes from the person receiving the Reiki, who changes their own energy and vibration, assisted by the Reiki master. 

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