One of the ways that we create disappointment and unhappiness is by holding on to limiting thoughts and feelings. When we suppress our emotions rather than experiencing them fully, they linger and make us uncomfortable. Through avoidance, we prevent our emotions from flowing through us, and it doesn’t feel good.

Suppression is keeping a lid on our emotions, denying them, repressing them, and pretending that they don’t exist. Any emotion that comes into awareness that is not let go of is automatically stored in a part of our mind called the subconscious. We suppress our emotions by escaping them. We take our attention off them long enough so that we can push them back down. You have probably heard the expression “time heals all wounds.” It’s debatable. For most of us, what that really means is, “Give me enough time, and I can suppress anything.”

On the other side of the pendulum is expression. If we are angry, we yell; if we are sad, we cry. We put our emotion into action. We have let off a little steam from the inner emotional pressure cooker, but we have not put out the fire. This often feels better than suppression, particularly if we have blocked our ability to express. Nonetheless, expression also has its drawbacks. For example, what about when we express ourselves inappropriately outside of a therapeutic situation? What about the feelings of the person to whom we have just expressed our emotions? Inappropriate expression can often lead to greater disagreement and conflict and a mutual escalation of emotion that can get out of control.

The balancing point and natural alternative to inappropriate suppression and expression is releasing, or letting go—what we call the Sedona Method®. It is the equivalent of turning down the heat and safely beginning to empty the contents of your inner pressure cooker. Because every feeling that has been suppressed is trying to vent itself, releasing is merely a momentary stopping of the inner action of holding these feelings in so that you can allow them to leave, which you will find they do easily under their own steam. As you use the Sedona Method, you will discover that you will be able to both suppress and express when it’s appropriate, and you will find that you often opt for the point of balance, letting go.

You Are in Control of Your Emotions

Pick up some small object that you would be willing to drop without giving it a second thought. Now, hold it in front of you and really grip it tightly. Pretend this is one of your limiting feelings and that your hand represents your gut or your consciousness. If you held the object long enough, this would start to feel uncomfortable, yet familiar.

Now, open your hand and roll the object around in it. Notice that you are the one holding on to it; it is not attached to your hand. The same is true with your feelings, too. Your feelings are as attached to you as this object is attached to your hand.

We hold on to our feelings and forget that we are holding on to them. It’s even in our language. When we feel angry or sad, we don’t usually say, “I feel angry,” or, “I feel sad.” We say, “I am angry,” or, “I am sad.” Without realizing it, we are misidentifying that we are the feeling. Often, we believe a feeling is holding on to us. This is not true—we are always in control and just don’t know it.

Now, let the object go.

What happened? You let go of the object, and it dropped to the floor. Was that hard? Of course not. That’s what we mean when we say “let go.”

You can do the same thing with any emotion—choose to let it go.

Choosing to Let Go

Make yourself comfortable and focus inwardly. Your eyes may be open or closed.
Step 1: Focus on an issue about which you would like to feel better, and then allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling in this moment. This doesn’t have to be a strong feeling. Just welcome the feeling and allow it to exist, to be, as fully or as best you can.

Step 2: Ask yourself one of the following three questions:

* Could I let this feeling go?
* Could I allow this feeling to be here?
* Could I welcome this feeling?

These questions are merely asking you if it is possible to take action. Yes and no are both acceptable answers. You will often let go even if you say no. As best you can, answer the question that you choose with a minimum of thought, staying away from second-guessing yourself or getting into an internal debate about the merits of that action or its consequences.

Step 3: No matter which question you started with, ask yourself this simple question: “Would I?” In other words, are you willing to let go? Again, stay away from debate as best you can. Also, remember that you are doing this process for yourself—for the purpose of gaining your own freedom and clarity. It doesn’t matter whether the feeling is justified, long-standing, or right. If the answer is no, or if you are not sure, ask yourself: “Would I rather have this feeling, or would I rather be free?” Even if the answer is still no, go on to step 4.

Step 4: Ask yourself this simpler question: “When?” This is an invitation to just let it go now. You may find yourself easily letting go. Remember that letting go is a decision you can make any time you choose.

Step 5: Repeat the preceding four steps as often as needed until you feel free of that particular feeling. You will probably find yourself letting go a little more on each step of the process. At first, the results may be quite subtle. Very quickly, if you are persistent, the results will get more and more noticeable. You may find that you have layers of feelings about a particular topic. However, what you let go of is gone for good.

As you perfect your use of the Sedona Method, you will find yourself able to let go more and more easily, even on long-standing issues that you were tearing your life apart trying to resolve. You will discover that the answers have been right inside you all along.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

This chapter has been edited and excerpted from the New York Times Best Seller, The Sedona Method: Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace and Emotional Well-Being by Hale Dwoskin (Sedona Press, 2003). Hale Dwoskin has been teaching the Sedona Method® to people throughout the world for over 30 years. This unique program helps you to make positive changes in your life by releasing the emotions that block your ability to experience peace and happiness in everyday life. It offers help dealing with fear, anxiety, anger, and depression—emotions that rob you of self-esteem and joy—in order to create a great life for yourself. Visit our Web site at