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Feeling Annoyed? Here Are 4 Simple Ways To Let It Go

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

AKA How to practice the art of 'Not Holding On To Something That Is Annoying You'

Be honest, you are currently humming along to Frozen's 'Let It Go', aren't you?

Alright, it might be because I watched Frozen again recently, but every time I hear/read/say those three little words "let it go" my brain bursts into song. Are you the same?

Rather than focusing on the merits of Disney's Frozen though, I want to share a couple of tips for letting go of the little things that bother you.

Because we all experience things that annoy, irritate and frustrate us, but there are strategies you can use to help you let go of worry, stress and hurt. Here are four simple ways you can let go of stuff that annoys you:

1. Stop Talking About Stuff That Bothers You

It is totally natural to complain - and as a nation we Brits often love 'a good moan' - but, complaining is an activity that stimulates your mind to stay worried about the past or future. When you complain, you take what is probably a small problem and make it big and personalize it.

That's not to say that venting a frustration to someone isn't helpful. It is definitely good to talk about your feelings, rather than bottling them up. Just make sure you tell yourself that now you have got stuff off your chest you will try to move on. (And make sure the person you vent to is feeling ok to take on your emotional baggage too!)

2. Stop Letting Things Bother You

When someone does something that annoys you, you often have no idea about the reasons or circumstances behind their actions. That doesn't stop you trying to mindread or second-guess their reasons though,

does it?

But they are just a human being driven by their own emotions and thoughts. Maybe they didn't realise what happened, maybe they were having a crisis or an emergency; maybe they were just caught up worrying about their own stuff and didn't have the headspace to notice you and your needs.

When you realise that the actions of others are (probably) not a personal attack, it becomes easier to make the conscious choice not to let those actions bother you. You can learn to let these events go rather than keep talking about what happened to the next person, and therefore prolong how much the event bothered you.

3. Gain Perspective

When anxious, your brain often focuses on the worst possible scenario. Recognise that the worry you feel has started from a thought you are creating in your head about what might or could happen, not what actually will happen.

While rumination is usually unhelpful, thinking through how you will handle different challenges in a particular situation can really help you deal with how you will overcome the situation for yourself. Chances are you will realise that whatever happens, you will still be able to get through it and bounce back.

4. Practice Meditation & Mindfulness

You know those times when you have a thousand thoughts flying through your head and you can't stay focused on anything? That is what meditation can help with. With practice, it allows you to have greater control over your thoughts, so you can choose which thoughts to focus on in your day.

Mindfulness meditation provides an opportunity to sit with your thoughts and let them be for now. At that moment, you acknowledge the thought and accept that you are thinking about it. Then, notice the thought floating away like a cloud and bring your awareness back to the sensation of breathing in and out.

Letting a thought go does not mean forcing yourself to forget it or ignoring issues you need to sort out. Pretending it isn't happening is a form of denial and avoidance, so you can't just slap a smile on and expect everything to be all right. Just remember you can take steps to follow through on other things later. Mindfulness practice is not the time to solve problems.

Despite the fact that you cannot always control the things that happen to you, or the things others think and do, you can control how you decide to respond. Letting something bother you causes stress and unhappiness for yourself. Instead, make the choice that brings you more happiness by focusing your energy somewhere else.

Remembering that we have the ability to choose what we let bother us is important, so I hope you find these strategies as useful as I have. These are also useful tools to model and share with young people.


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