Letting go is never easy. What happens when we experience those instances when we get so caught up in something we can’t let go. A problem or a situation grows into something that we just fixate on. We struggle with it and over time we lose focus of everything but that one thing; we allow that one thing to compulsively consume all our attention. It can start out slowly, but quickly we find that it takes on a life of its own. It takes over our life and consumes our thought processes and drains us of our energy. So how do we change direction? How do we stop an unhealthy fixation and get back on track?
1. Start by making a mental note of what it is that is so anxiously being fixated upon. Think about what it is you are spending your time dwelling on. Then, jot down some notes or better yet, write a concise paragraph of what it is you think you are fixating on in an unhealthy manner. Seeing it in writing helps you better grasp the situation.
2. Decide what you can change and what you can’t change about the problem or situation. Think about your thoughts and concerns and how they have developed into a fixation. Then, separate the different thoughts and concerns; figure out which thoughts and concerns you can change at the current moment and which pieces you can’t change. Set aside those you can’t change.
3. Take action. Take those pieces that you can change and figure out a plan of action to resolve them. Create specific action steps for yourself. Keep moving forward on those action steps. Always look to add new action steps when you determine that there are more pieces you can change.
4. Limit the time you spend on the problem. Never spend too much time focused on thinking about or attempting to solve the problem or situation. Set a specific amount of time on a daily or weekly basis to mentally and physically work on the problem or situation. Once that amount of time is used up move on to something else. Clear your mind.
5. Always try to seek more facts and information to resolve whatever it is you are stuck on. Positive action steps should always be your main goal. Don’t rehash “what ifs” and “what wasn’t done”. Always look forward. Search out new facts and information that can lead to a positive solution.
6. Find a distraction or task to clear your mind. Find alternative tasks, hobbies or work to take your mind off the problem or situation. Anything that forces you to focus your attention on something other than the fixated problem or situation will help to break the “fixation”.
7. Get some exercise. Exercise can clear the mind and allow you to move past your negative fixation; exercise may also allow you to gain new insight to reach a positive solution more quickly.
8. Talk the problem through with someone. As part of your process to reach a resolution, talk through your concerns with someone you know. By verbalizing you can sometimes loosen the hold your unhealthy fixation has on you. Another voice can help you to see possible solutions or alternative actions that you aren’t focusing on.
9. Be prepared to take final action. Never hold on to a problem or negative situation longer than you need to. Once a solution is at hand take steps to put the solution process in place. Move on from the problem or situation and attempt to forget about it. Holding on just prolongs the fixation process; it is a further waste of your time and energy, stopping you from moving on to more pressing concerns.
10. After a decision is made don’t second guess yourself. Treat a decision as final. Move forward from there.
A big part of life is learning to deal with problems and situations by ultimately letting go of them. Sometimes we allow certain situations and problems to grow bigger than they need to be; we allow them to take on a life of their own. By taking positive steps to deal with those problems and situations, we limit the impact they have on our lives, before they have a chance to consume us in an unhealthy way.