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How to Reduce Stress by Letting Go: A Guide to Reviewing and Releasing

One of the main reasons why we are so much more stressed than our grandparents is because we are taking on a lot more. Today, it’s common for both partners in a family to work full-time jobs and possibly a side hustle to make ends meet financially. This leaves all the hard work of keeping the house and raising a family to be done during “off” hours.

Unlike previous generations, most of us no longer mentally clock out at the end of the workday. Instead, we take our work home and remain reachable at all hours via text message or email. Add to that the constant connectivity and social media, and it’s no wonder we’re more stressed than ever.

Why We Need to Stop Doing All the Things

It’s time to do something about all this stress and anxiety. It’s time to stop trying to do all the things all the time and focus on reducing stress in your life. Start by reviewing everything you do in a given day. A great tool for this is a time log. Keep a simple piece of paper or a small notebook with you at all times. Set an alert on your phone to go off every 30 minutes (during waking hours), and quickly jot down what you’re doing. Be brutally honest. No one else needs to see this log, and you can burn it after you’re done. After a week of logging, you’ll get a pretty good idea of where you spend your time and mental energy.

Analyzing Your Time Log

Now comes the fun part. Look through your data and decide what you can let go of. What can you stop doing? Open up some time for yourself to exercise, meditate, or take a nap so you can catch up on much-needed sleep. Identify tasks that drain your energy without contributing significantly to your well-being or goals.

Reviewing and Releasing

Next, it’s time to review and release all those worries, questions, and “should-dos” that are stressing you out. Get out another sheet of paper or two and start to write down anything and everything on your mind. All the stuff you’ve been thinking about doing. All the stuff that’s been worrying you. Get it all out. Walk away for a few hours, then come back to your list. Cross out as much as you can—things that are out of your control and you decide to mentally release, tasks you feel like you should do but don’t really need to do.

Creating Actionable Lists

Then, rewrite what’s left on two different lists. One will be things you can do or have someone else do for you. This will become your master to-do list for the next few months. The other is a list of worries or concerns. Notice how much smaller and shorter those lists are and how much lighter you feel just getting it all out of your head.

Letting Go

Last but not least, safely burn that master brain dump list (the first list you created). Doesn’t it feel good? The act of burning the list is symbolic. It signifies your commitment to let go of unnecessary burdens and focus on what truly matters.

Final Thoughts on Doing it All

By reviewing and releasing, you can take back control of your life. You’ll create space for activities that nourish your soul and improve your well-being. Remember, you don’t have to do everything. It’s okay to delegate, let go, and prioritize self-care. This simple yet powerful practice can lead to a more balanced and fulfilling life.

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How to Reduce Stress by Letting Go A Guide to Reviewing and Releasing