BRAIN HEALTH | 9.23.2019 | BY SHILO ZELLER, BSc.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” - Lao Tzu
Letting go is one of those things in life that we all must do in one capacity or another. So why is it so hard to let go of an idea of how life would be or to let go of things that once made us happy? Science shows that the brain is hardwired to hold onto negative experiences and feelings as a form of survival. If we can remember what caused us pain, it helps us avoid it in the future. The tricky thing with this is that letting go is asking a lot of our brain. We must rewire it to allow us to move towards new futures and goals.
Adjusting to a new normal is a common theme amongst the brain injury community. Relearning certain tasks or accepting that you may not be able to complete a task in the same way is a hard pill to swallow. A helpful way to adjust to a new normal - whether it be after an injury or a relationship - is to remain in the present and respond to what is currently happening. Assuming that you already know the outcome, or being hard on yourself for not being able to do something to the same ability as before, will only add to the stress and anxiety you’re feeling.
So where should you start? Meditating can help to quiet the mind and allow yourself to accept where you are at in your journey. Find others in your immediate circle that can hear you out and offer advice if needed. Sometimes, it’s just important to have a listening ear more than anything. Lastly, it’s important to hold a compassionate, loving space for yourself in order to let go of expectations.
While letting go will be hard and hurtful initially, it can be an incredibly freeing and calming move later on.