Menu
Announcement: Wish you could change the past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!

3 Tips For Letting Go Of Control and Relaxing Into The Flow

Let Go

“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” ~Steve Maraboli

Sometimes I try really hard to control things.

I run two businesses so, in many ways, control gives me a sense of peace of mind.

When my team is doing what they are supposed to be doing, I can relax. When business is booming, I can relax. When I am getting what I want, I can relax.

This control freak-ness doesn’t just apply for me in just business. I used to be this way about my body, and I notice these tendencies even pop up in my relationships too.

When I feel like I am in control, I feel free. When I feel like I’m not in control, I feel frustrated, scared, and angry. It rocks my sense of security straight to my core.

It’s tough to admit, but it’s the truth.

I’m getting a lot better at relaxing without needing to be in control, and I’m realizing that the greatest control is in letting go of the need for it.

When I try to control, I get attached to how I think it should play out. I think that I know the best way for things to happen, when in reality, there have been so many examples in my life that have shown me that when I trust and let go of thinking I know best, stuff just happens in ways far better than I could have ever imagined them unfolding.

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up the desire, it means letting go of the struggle.

It’s exhausting needing to be in control all the time, isn’t it? And the truth really is that any sense of control that we think that we have is false anyway.

Our greatest power is in learning how to trust. When we focus on our desires with a sense of non-attachment to exactly how they unfold, it releases the blocks and opens us up to greater opportunity.

Here are three ways I’ve learned to trust and let go of trying so hard to control.

1. Stepping away.

Richard Branson has been one of my greatest mentors from afar. He amazes me with his ability to balance business, family, and fun in the perfect way for him. He doesn’t even own a desk and never has!

I love watching the videos that Virgin posts on their blog about his life because they remind me that creativity and great ideas come from stepping away from work and letting your mind open up. Richard says he gets some of his best ideas while in the bath and he kite surfs everyday, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes.

While we don’t all have the luxury of our own private island to jet away to (yet), we do have the ability to take a long walk outside in nature, start our morning with even just five minutes of meditation or yoga, or turn the computer off an hour earlier each night.

Taking time to enjoy life will only inspire and rejuvenate your energy for your work.

2. Stop looking around so much.

Compare and despair. Have you ever gone on Facebook to see what your friends are up to and then twenty minutes later you are down in the dumps because somehow you ended up on a thread or a site comparing yourself to that person and where you think you should be?

The second we get caught up in comparison, it sucks the creativity and energy right out of us. One of the best things I’ve done for myself is cut back on looking around at what everyone else is doing.

I finally got to the point where I realized that not only am I never going to measure up to them, I never want to!

I want what I want, not what they have. So now I just try to stay in my own little bubble, working on the creative projects that excite me.

Every now and then I do look around to see what others are up to, but I am super conscious to continuously check in with myself and ask, “Is this what I want to create for myself?” versus immediately judging how I measure up to their level of success.

I also remind myself that I am on the right path, because I am on MY path.

3. Listen to your body.

The human body is an amazing machine, one that most of us take for granted. We get signals from our body all day long, signals I call inner wisdom or intuition. Often times we ignore those signals and choose to follow what everybody else is telling us to do instead.

Our body really has a vast amount of information that can help us with making decisions. When I am trying to control, I am totally ignoring my intuition. The more I relax into the flow, the more I rely on my intuition to guide me.

Sometimes my body tells me I need a fifteen-minute nap. Sometimes it tells me that it’s not time to write the blog post right now and instead I should focus on something else. Whatever it is, I really try to listen and override the ego part of me that tells me I must push or force things to happen in order to succeed.

It’s the difference between being solution-oriented versus problem-oriented, or in other words, inspiration-driven versus fear-driven.

As a society I feel like we need to remind each other often that an unhappy journey does not lead to a happy ending. It’s like we believe that if an achievement doesn’t involve stress or hardship that we don’t deserve it.

We do deserve it and we do deserve a life built around a lot of ease and fun.

What’s one thing you do to let go and release stress?

Man lying down image via Shutterstock

Profile photo of Sheila Viers

About Sheila Viers

Sheila Viers is the CEO of the premium gym & yoga bag brand, Live Well 360, and creator of ROCK Your Dream Body, the non-diet approach to weight loss and feeling amazing in your skin. Visit sheilaviers.com for more from Sheila and follow her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram too!

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
Announcement: Tired of feeling stuck? Learn to let go of the past and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Chad Haynes

    #3 is super interesting. I agree and disagree.

    I think it comes down to knowing your body AND your mind. You have to know how they work together. It’d be nice to follow exactly what your body wants 24/7, but unfortunately (like it or not) the society and world we now live in doesn’t accommodate for that all the time.

    But you certainly can’t push it too hard, ignore it, or lose touch with it. Your body’s intelligence is extremely important to regard and respect.

    It’s like having an internal board meeting and coming up with a compromise.

    “Okay body, the mind says we need to work on this post for another 10 minutes to finish it, even though you want to nap RIGHT NOW.”

    “Okay body, I know you need to urinate but the guest at this live interview I’m attending is about to cover what I came here for, so we’ll take care of that once he’s finished.”

    “Okay mind, I know you want to finish this now to exercise control and eliminate stress, but I really need to sleep now and you can do this tomorrow.”

  • Peace Within

    Sheila, I think your story is very helpful. For me, when I was being controlling about things I felt frustrated and angry. I was not at peace at all. I actually have learned how to let go and not control things. All I can really control is what I am doing right now. I can’t control other people or situations. There is a freedom in letting go. I never realized it until I finally let go. My way of stepping out is spending time alone, taking a nature walk. The things you said about Facebook are true. I deactivated my account. I felt like people were way too caught up in it, watching each other live, not actually living. Also, it makes socializing boring, like there is no meaning. This is the only site I post anything on, which I don’t mind, it has only benefited me. Listening to our bodies is important. I believe we have to be at peace to be able to. Not just our bodies though… our mind, body and soul.

  • lv2terp

    GREAT post!!! Something that I have been working on as well, thank you for the insight! I loved when you wrote…”Our greatest power is in learning how to trust. When we focus on
    our desires with a sense of non-attachment to exactly how they unfold,
    it releases the blocks and opens us up to greater opportunity.” AWESOME!

  • Great article Sheila!

  • Allison Kate

    Thank you thank you! This post is lovely and so is this blog, it has helped me so much!

    -Allison

  • I agree that stepping away is an important move. Sometimes it needs to be a moments break from a tense situation you can’t control, othertimes it needs to be more extended. I’ve just started an extended break from employment partly to catch up on other things and partly to relax and go with the flow.

  • Sasori

    Great and Thank you!!

  • sheilaviers

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  • sheilaviers

    Hi Chad! Agreed. It’s really about doing the best you can in any moment to align with what your body’s inner wisdom/intuition is telling you.

    We live in a world where most people never check in with how they feel. They just keep going, going, doing, and staying very much in their head. By tuning into our body and checking in with what feels best, we are better able to support both our mind and our body with what we crave most.

    This provides a much more satisfying experience than spending our days and our life in reactionary mode… doing what we think we are supposed to be doing and often taking care of what other people need/want above and beyond our own needs.

  • sheilaviers

    So glad you enjoyed the article. “Peace within” is such a satisfying place to be. 🙂

  • sheilaviers

    Glad you enjoyed it, Helen!

  • sheilaviers

    Glad you enjoyed it, Sasori!

  • sheilaviers

    Awesome, Peter! Happy to hear you are taking the break you need and are following what feels really good for you at this point in your life. Congrats!

  • sheilaviers

    Glad to hear you enjoyed it and that it helped you, Allison!

  • sheilaviers

    Thanks, Caleb! Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Makayla

    I always feel like if I’m not in control I’m giving up or “surrendering”. Thanks for reminding me that being in control doesn’t mean everything will turn out better! 🙂

  • I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I believe in lettings things unfold as they should – in fact, I was in the middle of writing about this on my own blog when I saw your post come across on Twitter – but as an anxiety sufferer, it’s a skill that’s difficult for me to put in practice.

    I’m fascinated with the idea of “strategic inaction,” but I believe strongly in getting the chess pieces moving to nudge life forward in the direction of your aspirations. I guess the trick is in nudging, stepping back, waiting, and then accepting whatever outcome you get back – whether it was the one you were hoping for or not!

    Thanks for your post!

  • Dian Thirst

    JUST the exact thing I need to read. I’m 20 and I’ve been in crisis lately on how my friends got scholarships to study at some of the finest universities, which has always been my dream. It’s like I fell into a deep pit and everyone was walking over me and I didn’t know how to get out. At the end of the day, I’m really the one who shouldn’t let there be a pit at the first place.

    And reading this also made me realise that the reason of me being such a control freak is bcs I fear A LOT of things. Fear of failure, future, a C, a lot.

    At least now I know what’s wrong with me and I can begin repairing it.
    It’s a very helpful post, Sheila. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this!
    x

  • Ronster247

    Awesome! And Richard Branson is the man!

  • sheilaviers

    He is! 🙂

  • sheilaviers

    Hi Diane, thank you so much for commenting and sharing so openly. I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you. You are traveling your path, learning, growing and expanding that’s all. It sounds like you are very aware and in tune with yourself right now and that’s good news because awareness is the first step to positive change.

    Just keep going and trusting that things do work out for us when we get into alignment with our power and clarity on what we want.

  • sheilaviers

    Hi Elisa, I think the rub you are feeling with the idea of “strategic inaction” is that we don’t need to necessarily force ourselves to NOT doing anything. We just need to make sure we line up our energy and get clear on what we want before we take action. Inaction is good for when we’re not clear or know we are in a low vibe.

    We don’t want to just act for the sake of acting — which is what a lot of people think they need to do… constantly be in action mode — but rather, when we get inspired to act and we get “hits” from our intuition, THAT’S the best time to get into motion because inspired action creates positive momentum in the direction of creating what we want.

    Hope that helps!

  • sheilaviers

    My pleas, Makayla!

  • Regan Love-Campbell

    So inspiring!!! I love the comments about “compare and despair”. I find myself doing this way too often. Would love to seek out ways to relax like yoga or meditation. I will!

  • Just stumbled upon this today! What a great read. You asked what we did to release stress… and for me, that’s reading. If I feel stressed because I’m not getting enough writing done, etc, I just pick up a book and learn something. Then I feel productive and happy, even if I didn’t accomplish what I had originally set out to do.

  • D. Holcomb

    Yes! Mediation can be a getaway, a sort of mini-vacation from the endless chatter. If I let go of the thoughts and just watch them slide on by, my muscles actually let go.

  • AMS

    All I have to say is, Wow, this woman (You, Sheila, the author lol), who is quite successful, lives/lived in the same sort of control-freak mental space as I do? That validates me haha >;) Maybe it just comes with the fitness industry, or maybe people who are this strict with themselves tend towards it and other related professions, but it seems to be an epidemic from this perspective. How are you not still totally obsessed with your image, apart from the fact that you look awesome, obviously? That can be a real struggle, hard to let go of … anyway, great post indeed!

  • Quick typer bad speller

    Very good article and exactly what i’m struggling with now, i’m in a relationship with a beautiful beautiful woman who has started her path to enlightenment which in turn has made the relationship more difficult because she is discovering things about herself and I really have unwillingly started down the same path. Its putting a lot of strain on the relationship recently as she has spent the past 2 and a half months travelling south america a trip we were supposed to do together but she ended the relationship before we managed to rekindle things whilst she was over there, she is getting to the point of not wanting attachment to anything including me, stating that everything will end no matter how hard we try to live forever and we should all learn to accept that. which i do, its obvious to me of-course we will die and hopefully then and only then will the physical relationship end. its put me in a place of feeling un appreciated and un wanted because she no longer has a want to miss me or have any attachment to me. reading your article certainly helped, i just need to let go and trust that its all going to turn out alright in the long run if this is really whats supposed to be happening with my life. its difficult and something i certainly struggle with but reading articles like these help me understand what i’m actually struggling with. so thank you.