Sometimes I want to let go of pain and struggle so badly.

In some situations, I try so hard and just can’t figure out how to do it. 

So many waves of feelings and sensations. Most of them are incredibly uncomfortable and even painful. I feel stuck in those moments, but am I? Shouldn’t I be able to just let go?

Have you ever had this experience? The desire and struggle to just let go?


“Just let go” sounds like such a simple task and expectation, but is it?

Just let go of that person, place, or thing that you’ve been so close to.
Just let go of your professional identity that has shaped so many hours of your life.
Just let go of that job, that relationship, that self-perception, that point of view.

Just let go of that love in your heart.

Just let go of the heartbreak you’re feeling.
Just let go of that memory that haunts you.

Just let go of your pain.
Just let go of your grief.
Just let go of your trauma.

Get over it already…
Just let go.


This way of thinking is so common. It’s incomplete and does not honor the very real experience you and I are having.


Sometimes letting go is just not that easy.

Sometimes letting go is not possible without time, patience, diligence, and support. 

The ways our mind, body, and heart understand and interact with life is complex.

To help us make sense of what is happening in the now, our brain scans our vault of feelings, sensations, memories, and experiences. It’s primary mission is to help us survive… so if you add any experience of trauma, toxic stress, or sustained adversity and it gets complicated.

“Just let go” can be an unfair expectation we place on ourselves and each other.

4 ways to support the process of healthy “letting go”

When we are not letting go we are holding on.

Taking time to notice what that “holding on” feels like is one of the doorways to finding peace.

Here are four simple ways to pause our struggle,  to “let go” in ways that are reasonable and healthy approaches to softening our struggle:

Just let go... long enough to take 3 mindful breaths.

Breathing. Are you breathing right now? Sometimes we hold our breath without awareness. Or, our breath is shallow and rapid and we don’t realize it.

Taking three long full breaths is a simple way to pause the thoughts, sensations, and feelings of struggle. You can do it anytime, anywhere.

Taking breaks for mindful breathing is so healthy and helpful during difficult times.

Just let go... long enough to notice the sensations in your body.

Our bodies are miraculous. They are designed with complex systems that function automatically to keep us safe and protect us from perceived threats, like pain.

Noticing and naming the sensations you are feeling and where they live in your body increases awareness of your body functioning.

Do you feel tightness, burning, constriction, pain? Just notice and name, no need to fix anything. Send love and compassion to those places.

Just let go... long enough to observe your feelings.

Feelings can be so big and overwhelming. Instead of attempting to escape them, be with them. They are like waves and will pass.

Your feelings are your body’s way of expressing something.
To shove them away or disconnect is to discredit them.

You have a right to feeling your feelings. Just notice. No judgment. Breath in again, filling your lungs, and then let it all out.

Just let go... long enough to think of the things you're grateful for.

When my struggling with trauma, grief, loss, and adversity feels so big and so overwhelming I tap into gratitude. It works.

Science has shown us that our chemistry shifts when we practice gratitude, but do you really need that science? Give it a shot it works every single time for me.

Just think about one thing you are grateful for, if even that is a struggle I get basic.
“I am grateful I can breathe.”
“I am grateful I can hear.”
“I am grateful I am alive…”

Then before I know it the list is flowing. Such a simple and powerful tool to shift from struggle into a measure of peace.

This is the practice of letting go.

 This is moving into the present moment. 

That bigger concept of letting go is a process. There is no timeline, it happens one step, one breath at a time.

One of the bravest healthiest things you can do is to CHOOSE to pause judgment and impatience, toward yourself and others. This action is you choosing to step out of the struggle to be in the moment. 

We get to make this choice over and over, it’s a practice.

Another heroic action is asking for help when you need it. From a friend, family member, or professional.

Letting go can activate a sense of loss and grief. This IS normal.

There is nothing wrong with you when you are grieving a loss and struggling to let it go.

You have the right to feel your grief, trauma, and loss exactly how you do.
You also have the right to be very gentle with yourself during these times.

The Griever’s Bill of Rights, adapted from Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., is the foundation for “Waves of Grief” support groups I’m honored to facilitate with Groundswell Community Project.

Check them out, they are powerful reminders on how to navigate the big and small waves of trauma, grief, and loss:

  1. You have the right to experience your own unique grief.
  2. You have the right to talk about your grief.
  3. You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions.
  4. You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits.
  5. You have the right to experience “grief bursts.”
  6. You have the right to make use of ritual.
  7. You have the right to embrace your spirituality.
  8. You have the right to search for meaning.
  9. You have the right to treasure your memories.
  10. You have the right to move toward your grief and heal.


Letting go is a practice…

I honor my process of learning more about letting go.
I honor your process of learning more about letting go.

There is a potent mantra I share with someone close to my heart, I’d like to share that with you…

I am ok.

You are ok.

We are ok.


Sending heart hugs and waves of love your way.

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Leanne is a local San Diegan committed to creating healthy community experiences that ignite authentic communication, self-discovery, friendship, and professional connections. She is a facilitator, speaker, and writer. Leanne is known for her ability to create safe spaces for small and large groups where truth, transformation, and connection happen. Her knowledge base includes emotional literacy, communication, leadership, mindfulness, grief, trauma, bereavement, surf therapy, PTSD, community, conflict resolution, and personal development. You can reach her at

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