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The Gentle Art of Letting Go

Updated on April 14, 2015
Let go of all the strings you Hold and slow down to a more fulfilling life.
Let go of all the strings you Hold and slow down to a more fulfilling life.

How to Enjoy Life

Letting go of all the strings you are holding and tapering off, is about the connection:

Connection with our food - enjoy your food and savour each mouthful, savour the time we talk and share with our families, our friends, communities and ourselves.

Living more slowly allows us time to appreciate all of these elements which are life-defining, part of our essence that we can easily take for granted and, to stop and smell the proverbial roses along the way.

Slow living is also about appreciation and mindfulness. It is about taking an assertive step against a culture of rush, a culture that is in essence our own creation. It is about having a "me change".

The quest for slowness is about turning the tables on how this frantic pace controls our lives, wherever we live, slow down and savour the moment.

Slow is about the connection

Connection with our food, our families, our friends, communities and ourselves. Living slowly gives back the time we need to appreciate all of the life-defining elements and parts of our existence that we take for granted.

If you haven't spoken to your best friend for weeks and you have given up on your hobby, or a lingering breakfast with the newspaper, or a matinee screening. Don't sideline these activities, they matter, because they nourish our lives.

Don't email your friend, phone. A voice mail is better than an email. Make a list of your pleasures you have given up and do one or two a week and see if your life is more joyful.

Slow Living by doing Less

Besides the noble art of getting things done,

there is the noble art of leaving things undone.

The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials." 

Savouring a meal is one of life's greatest pleasures, and we lose connection with our food and body if we eat when surrounded by distractions. Each day, ensure you eat one meal free of all distractions. Eat slowly, enjoy the texture and flavour of each bite. Eating slowly prevents over-eating too.

Slow living is about appreciation, gratitude and mindfulness. A determined, assertive step against a culture of frenetic rush, in essence a culture of our own making which controls our lives and from which, we will now turn away.

Slow down and do less in small ways, start by taking a slow hour, switch off the computer, the cellphone and whatever else may be intrusive and be unavailable for an hour. Banish the guilt, finding the space just to be will relax, energize and strengthen you.

Perfection is rarely worth the extra effort, while you take pride in what you do, be realistic and settle for good enough.

This no-rush does not mean lower productivity, it means doing it with more quality, attention to detail and less stress. It means re-establishing family values, and me time.

Take stock of your Life

Realise that you already have enough, find contentment in what you have, look at what is good and what works in your life. If you ignore this part, you will return to unachievable goals, action plans, full schedules and no time.

Identify your Life

What happens in your typical week: meetings, shopping, exercise, cooking, cleaning, internet surfing and computer work, driving family around? We usually do this on autopilot, but decide which parts are necessary and which areas make you happy.

Re-assessing Tasks

Which tasks can you remove and which have to stay? Literally drop the rest and see what happens, if you dropped the wrong task it will rise to the surface and, if it doesn't, carry on without it. If you do less washing during the week, perhaps the family will hang up more clean clothes instead of stuffing it into the wash bin.

Try to tackle all your similar tasks at once, cook in batches and freeze, check emails twice a day and not at any other time. At work, perhaps have a day full of meetings and a day to concentrate on projects.

Don't try to cram more in to your day, if you take up a new commitment, give up an old one.


Many of us over manage both at work and at home. Don't take charge of your children's time or feel obligated to find activities for them - children will be more resourceful, confident and independent if you free up their time.

Ask you children to pick up after themselves, and tidy their rooms, empty the trash or clear the table. Link pocket money to chores and don't hand it over unless the work is done.

Assess what is essential at work and what you should actually complete yourself. Other tasks could be passed on. Step back and let other people succeed by picking up some responsibility at work.

Stop multitasking when doing something that is crucial. If you concentrate on a task, focus and be in the moment, you're giving value to what you do, and will complete the task in less time.

Unwind your Mind

When you have lost pleasure in what you are doing, your head is spinning, and you don't have a minute to drink a glass of water, that's when you need to take time out


Go for a walk, around the block or in the park, on the beach, wherever you like just go and take a walk.

Really notice what is going on around you, the birds chirping, the children playing, is there a breeze, what's happening in the sky, are the clouds wispy or a thick, rolling cover?

When stressed one of the first things we drop is reading, yet research shows that in six minutes of reading stress levels can be reduced by up to 68%.

The best way to relax is to immerse yourself in a novel, allow yourself to fall a little in love with the characters, be intrinsically involved with the plot, and shut out the world as you become one with a fantasy world.

Use your imagination and think back to a time when you were a child. What did you want to do or experience as a child? Why not do it? Somehow, as an adult, we forgot to have fun?

If you are stressed and need to slow down, you probably have a cluttered home and office, clutter adds to stress, there is more to organize, more to sort through before you find what you're looking for and more to clean and pack away when visitors arrive.

Start cleaning up and throw out or donate the clutter. Choose one (even two or three) items every single day and get ride of it.

If you haven't used it in 12 months, you don't need it. If you are truly unsure, then place the item in a maybe box. A lot of our internal or mind clutter will go away immediately we start decluttering.

Create something that you Care about

Creation makes use of your innovative right brain and constructing something that will eventually become a reality, gives you an indescribable sense of fulfillment and wholeness.

Create something just for the sake of creating it, the only caveat being you must love it.

Whilst I am aware writing is an art and we are lucky to be doing what we love, if it is also your business, then may I suggest you direct that wonderful brain on to something else artistic, perhaps ceramic painting (I love it), pottery, carpentry and naturally, your learning road to hobby heaven, is worth another article or two!

Live with gratitude, appreciate all that is around you and your current life will be supercharged with beauty, love and pleasure. Your external circumstances will not shift much, your experience of life will be altered.

Take up meditation , switch off the chatter, to center yourself and blow the stress away in just 10 minutes, it takes practice to meditate, but practicing it two or three times a week, it will repay you in peace.

A breath of Fresh Air - Paul Collier

MEDITATION - Listen to the music video and do the breathing exercise

Relaxing 10 minute breathing meditation - (taken from the site: Body and

Sit somewhere quiet and make yourself comfortable with your feet flat on the floor and your palms resting on your thighs.

Play the above soothing, music video while breathing as follows:

Slow Down your Breathing

  • Practice diaphragm breathing: Takie a deep breath that fills your whole diaphragm and not the shallow breath that just fills the top of your lungs. To test that your are doing this correctly place one hand on your abdomen and make sure it is moving as your breathe, with the chest remaining relatively still.
  • Now just concentrate on your breathing.
  • Inhale through your nose, counting 1 and 2 and 3 and 4, feel your diaphragm moving, and then exhale through your slightly open mouth to the same count.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Thoughts will intrude, and when they do, try to bring your focus of attention back to your breathing.

Calming Herbal Brews
Calming Herbal Brews

Calming Herbalist Brews

For calming brews that can deal with any spin on stress, start with a herbal teabag, then add a tincture. Tinctures can last for years, so get a kit together with the aid of a qualified herbalist.

Stressed and Lacking Energy: Add 25 drops of Korean ginseng tincture - an adrenal energy tonic - to Verbena tea.

Stressed and Not Sleeping: Make a cup of chamomile tea and add 25 drops of wild lettuce tinture, a gentle sleep remedy and then 15 drops of lavender tincture, if, you are very, very stressed.

Stressed and Panicky: Make a tea with a mix of chamomile and verbena teabags, plus 25 drops of oat tincture.

The Science of Happiness - Forgive & Forget

© 2012 Shelley Watson


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    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      7 years ago

      PT Linsley, thank you for stopping by and putting that lovely vision of the lingering that people do in Italy.

    • profile image

      P T Linsley 

      7 years ago

      Lovely piece. I came across this concept a couple of years back when i became interested in the slow food movement, which originated in Italy; if ever there was a country which knows the benefit of sitting down with people to enjoy a long lingering .

      We have so much to distract us and it pays to realise from time to time, that's what it does; distract us.

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for visiting TammanyB, you have a lovely way of expressing yourself and I enjoy your comments!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is awesome! In such a fast pace lifesyle and our own jittering bugs with itchy feet inside us . To stop , breathe and listen to the world around us for a few seconds is a gift we can give ourselves.

      I am going to try to use some of your tips in creating a calmer world around me. Thank you! excellent Hub!

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      8 years ago

      Thoughtforce, Thank you for visiting Tina, I too feel guilty when I doing nothing, very silly I know.

      DDE, Thank you for your useful comments, I always appreciate your visits.

      Rajan jolly, A lovely point "to reflect on our purposes and choices..." Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      With our lives getting more stressful by the day, it becomes necessary to slow down and take a breather. This gives us not only a chance to reflect on our purposes and choices but is a great destresser as well.

      Great hub with very useful ideas.

      Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      8 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      It is good to let go sometimes and not obsess on work life is too short to live in a knot

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 

      8 years ago from Sweden

      There is many useful tips in this hub and I feel that I should start letting some things go. It is easy to get caught up in a hectic life where there is hardly no quality time left without the feeling of guilt about the things I don't do. Voted up, useful and pinned so I can find it easily. Thanks!


    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      8 years ago

      Hi Irc7815, thanks for stopping by, always happy to hear the hub is useful. Thank you.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      8 years ago from Central Virginia

      What a great hub ! Just the motivation I needed today.

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      8 years ago

      Hi Lindacee, try to let go of just one thing, I have found that it gives me the strength to sieve through the rest, and move forward! Thank you for reading!

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      I was just saying how stressed I feel about certain aspects of my life. I definitely need to let go of the things that are weighing me down. Glad I came upon your Hub! Thanks for the gentle reminder and great tips for going about it!

    • BlissfulWriter profile image


      8 years ago

      Letting go is very important -- especially for things that are trivial (such as traffic and such) in comparison to larger issues in the bigger picture.

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      8 years ago

      Irisheyes thank you fOr sharing that, another thing we share is the love of flying, I would love to go in a bi plane, but when I was younger I used to fly gliders. What a feeling!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      8 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Shelley - I couldn't agree with you more friend. I hold great pride in stating that we stills it down to the dinner table at every meal. No television, no phones and it is an enjoyable moment.

      Some of my favorite pleasures in life are the most simplest. Throwing a frisbee to my dog, writing, spending sime with friends and family.

      As far as the clutter goes - I'm one of those individuals who is anal about cleanliness so clutter holds no place in my area.

      Great write and words to life by.

      Take care friend and enjoy that next meal.

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      8 years ago

      Hello mjboomer, thank you for commenting, appreciate your thoughts!

    • mjboomer profile image

      Mike Elzner 

      8 years ago from Oregon

      Oh so true, I always look forward to your insight. Great Hub!!

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      8 years ago

      Thank you so much billybuc for reading and commenting, appreciate your views.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love this message; I did exactly this six years ago and I've never been happier. Way to go!

    • backporchstories profile image


      8 years ago from Kentucky

      This was a very informational piece and very good thoughts on life!


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