Buddhist psychology teaches us that the source of happiness and unhappiness lies nowhere else but in our own minds and hearts. From this perspective, we can strive, accomplish, and accumulate great wealth, yet we will always return back to ourselves, back to our own minds and hearts.
One way we can work to develop a greater sense of contentment involves cultivating a greater sense of inner peace with ourselves. A helpful way to cultivate this sense of peace involves the practice of letting go.
Here are a few strategies to practice letting go:
Practice noticing and letting go of the tension you feel in your body. Tension often goes unnoticed. Take a moment to breath and relax the areas of your body that are most tense.
Practice letting go of unnecessary rules or demands. We often create a list of personal rules and take on the rules dictated by society. Take a moment to consider if these rules are really necessary.
Practice forgiveness towards yourself and others when you feel it is appropriate. Forgiveness can lead to a sense of freedom and allows us to avoid building up resentment towards others.
Practice focusing on the present moment and ask yourself what else is really needed. Take a moment to acknowledge how your basic needs are being met.
Practice gratitude by focusing on what you have and the people you are grateful to have in your life.
We all carry our story with us. Consider how you carry your story into your day. What are the most frequent thoughts and fears seeking your attention? How often do you worry about what others think? Are you struggling with a recent conversation that brought you distress? How much energy do you invest in external accomplishments? What do you desire most and why? How strong is the grasp you hold on the things outside of yourself? Ask yourself if you can let go of any of these things.
Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Visit us at lindquistpsych.com
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