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Letting Go: Part 2

"We cast our attention like a fishing line, baited and hooked, trying to connect with the next great 'catch'."

Caution: you are about to enter the “O” zone.


Do you ever wake up thinking about “others”?  Worrying about “outcomes”?  Mentally rehashing “old stuff”?  You are not alone! I am guilty of losing (dare I say wasting) precious neurons and time to these “O’s”.   In my work as a psychologist, I find that getting stuck in the “O” zone of Others, Outcomes, and Old Stuff often results in the development of anxiety and depressive disorders that bring people to the desperate place of seeking professional help. 


How do we get “unstuck” from the “O” zone?  I recommend the “Catch – Release – Replace” strategy.  Imagine that your mind is on a constant fishing expedition. This fishing experience serves as a great analogy for mental health.  Did you know that we go fishing all the time?  We cast our attention like a fishing line, baited and hooked, trying to connect with the next great “catch”.  And typically our mental ponds are stocked full.  We catch something immediately.  What we reel in may or may not be a “great keeper”.  We are the ones judging its value.  We may reel in something quite disappointing, and it is up to us to hold onto it or to let it go.  Unfortunately, sometimes we get in the habit of catching and holding onto unhelpful thoughts, unhelpful expectations (for others or outcomes), or holding onto old memories (“coulda”, “woulda”, “shoulda’s”) and not releasing them.  It is vitally important for us to release and replace those thoughts that are toxic to our mental health.

Try to apply the “Catch – Release – Replace” analogy to your mental health management.  What are you catching in your mental pond?  Be aware of what you are “catching”.  What is “hooking” your mind or thought patterns?  We are all fishing…all the time; just pay attention to your thoughts.  

Now ask yourself, “Do I want to keep these thoughts or let them go”?  Are my habitual thoughts keepers?  Or are they throw-backs?  (Hint: the throw-backs would definitely include the 3 O’s – others, outcomes, and old stuff).  In all honesty, whenever I do the above exercise many of my thoughts are throw-backs – something to do with old stuff, something about someone else, or some worry I have about the future.  HOWEVER, when I catch it I realize that I can free myself by simply releasing it to God’s care and replacing it with something better.  Perhaps putting my mind on something tangible in the present; focusing on gifts from God given to me in every moment; adopting an attitude of acceptance, thanksgiving, and trust.  Take some time to reflect on and use this “Catch – Release – Replace” mental health methodology.  May God guide and bless your fishing expeditions.             

“The way I see things determines how I think about them.  The way I think about things determines the way I feel about them.  The way I feel determines how I will act, react, and choose.  That will determine the results I will have to live with.  I choose to side with Your (God’s) ways in all things.” – A Daily Affirmation from Christ Life Ministries."


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