7 Steps to Let Go and De-Control Yourself

Photo of Randy Legaspi

By Liz Scala

I used to want to control everything. I wanted smooth work days, timely appointments, and conversations that ended with my opinions as outcomes. I would get frustrated with co-workers who didn’t see things my way. I’d get angry when people were late or meetings delayed. I’d feel uncomfortable and unhappy when things didn’t turn out as I had planned; especially at work.

Have you ever had an experience like this?

You arrive to your nursing unit on time and ready for report. Since yesterday you worked a 12 hour shift you admitted the afternoon transfer. Not only that, but you took care of 5 patients, so you figured you have the same patient assignment. However, right off the bat things are not stacked up in your favor. You have a completely different assignment; in fact you are rounding with a different physician team altogether. You look further and see that after 8 hours you are sent to cover another are your unit staffs; finishing up your last 4 hours of your 12 hour shift in the psychiatric emergency department. To top it all off, your manager comes in and tells you that the Patient Safety meeting has been changed to next week, which is when you have off to study for finals. She says you need to come in for the meeting anyway as she will be out of town visiting grandchildren.

What comes up for you after reading this?

In the past when this would happen to me I would feel angry. I would get hot flashes starting in my chest which rose to my head. My blood would feel as if it was boiling and my face would turn red. My head would ache and my stomach would twist into knots. I would almost feel like I was on the verge of tears; I was that mad. My thoughts would race; “This is so unfair! I don’t know these patients! I cannot do this. Why does this always happen to me? This stinks!!” I would complain to the charge nurse. I would attempt to change my assignment and arrange my schedule so I didn’t have to split my shift. I would be furious at my nurse manager for the meeting change, even though it had nothing to do with her. I would feel out of control!

Notice I said this is how I felt in the past. After a lot of inner healing, reflective reading, and educating myself I have a different outlook on the need to control. I have learned the art of “letting go”. A line from the serenity prayer states “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” Realizing certain experiences are outside of our control can be freeing. Circumstances in our lives are beyond our reach. We cannot control time. We do not have power over another’s behavior. We are unable to change the past or rearrange what the future. Letting go can remind us to live in the present moment.

So how do we do this?

Here are 7 simple steps I take to let go and release myself from the need to control:
•  Observe thoughts as they come into consciousness- If you catch yourself making a judgment or feeling uncomfortable sensations such as anger, unhappiness, or frustration observe these thoughts and realize you are having them.
• Take a slow deep breath in and out through your nose- The physical exhale is symbolic of releasing nasty feelings and controlling thoughts out of your body.
Focus on the present moment- Choose consciously to pay attention to what is currently happening. Become in touch with your senses; what do you see, hear, and feel in this moment?
State a positive affirmation- “I am exactly where I need to be right now”.
Turn it over to a Higher Power- the Universe has a path for each of us. What is supposed to happen will happen. The timing of experiences will occur in a natural way. If something does not take place as expected then maybe it wasn’t supposed to be that way in the first place.
Be grateful for blessings- Instead of being upset with things not turning out the way you planned take a moment to reflect on what you are grateful for.
Congratulate yourself- Review your experience and celebrate that you have not let feelings control you. Enjoy the feeling of “letting go” the need to control. Relish this freedom.


  1. LaToya B says:

    Thank you for the reminder! I currently am going through this at the moment with my job. It’s a nice reminder to tell myself that I need to stop worrying about things that are not in my control.

  2. Sloan says:

    Well stated! Wise advice!

  3. Cee Neuner says:

    Beautifully written.

  4. RobertL says:

    Very good post. The steps you outline at the end are excellent, make sense and are easy to follow. Great job!

  5. reneeboomer says:

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this post. Have a wonderful day. :) Renee

  6. Thanks Renee! I am glad that you liked it. Liz

  7. maddiesplace says:

    Are you sure you’re not writing about me? :)

  8. GymRockStar says:

    Reblogged this on Lifting My Spirits and commented:
    I think I’m learning how to do this. Certainly have not mastered it. Hope you enjoy this read as much as I did.

  9. Hi Liz,
    Frustrations often overwhelm, I’ve felt it, you’ve felt it and…..it will happen to both of us again. However, I in the most part as have you, “looked at the situatiuon” & have made some changes, for the better. I still get frustrated, but not nrarly as much. Thankyou
    be good to yourself

    • Liz Scala says:

      Thank you David! I have to agree… I am not perfect. I still get frustrated. At times I still want things to go my way… but a lot less of this occurs and I am very grateful for all of the wisdom, healing, and lessons I have gone through along the way to get me to where I am today. Thanks for reading!! Liz

  10. Just wonderful advice… I am a die-in-the-wool control freak, who is working daily to let go and let God. Life is definitely simpler when you learn to go with the flow. Not always easy, but totally worth the effort.

    Great post.

    • Liz Scala says:

      Thanks Tracie! I know how you feel!! I too still struggle with control… like last night when I could not get my videos for my website to load up… AHHHH! But there must be a reason, a larger issue that I am overlooking… so I just had to put down the computer and let go and trust that it will all turn out just fine. Thanks for reading!

  11. aawwa says:

    A lovely post. The Serenity prayer holds much wisdom!


  12. altruistico says:

    I have to agree with your premise. I used to be the most of impatient and argumentative. But, through prayer and allowing God to change me – i am over my anger….. I am now free of it. No matter how one chooses to rid themselves of a habit, emotion or addiction there is no wrong way.

    Loved your post…… keep it up, AMS

  13. Usisera says:

    I like the article of your guest contributor. More of these kind should be encouraged.

  14. Gil Gonzalez says:

    Awesomesauce! Thank you for sharing.

  15. eof737 says:

    t would be nice if the managers showed consideration and not just spring things at the last moment. Thoughtful post! :-)

    • Liz Scala says:

      This is true eof737… but we cannot control or change other people’s beahviors… we only have hold of our own thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. So rather than letting her inconsideration frustrate me… I decide to (now… after much healing) let go and move forward not struggling to control things that I am unable to. But thanks for your support!

  16. When confronted with situations like the one you talked about above i like to confront it with the motto

    You have 3 choices in any situation:
    1. You accept it
    2. You change it
    3. You remove yourself completely from it.

    Liked the post!

  17. Control is an issue with which I’m dealing right now…thanks for the beautiful Article & thanks for the beautiful Blog…it’s truly inspiring..I get to learn so much from your blog :-)

    • AMSDaily says:

      Ritusthoughtcatcher – thank you very much! Our collaborative effor makes our site – I thank all our readers and our writers/photographers for their great ideas!

  18. Reblogged this on FilipinoFestival.com.

  19. Your suggestions for de-controlling are great! Will give them a try…..

  20. haroldmillet says:

    it’s kinda funny of me that i’m feeling that way too.. most especially when i’m into conversation/dialogue with my friends knowing that my opinions stood the best but still it seems they won’t even try to think of it until they realize they should have taken my advice. but there is that kind of respect that separates us. of course i can’t force them on what they need to do…they know what is best for them (i hope so)…

    nice post!

  21. Your message is right-on! Thanks.

  22. Wow! I know you wrote this a few months ago, but the message is radiating truth, emotion, and color. I still have to work on this area of my life, but I have been getting much better once I became aware of many of the physical reactions that you mentioned above – let alone the potential strain on relationships. Would you be a contributor to my free online magazine (starting with this one) please? This is JUST what my readers need. Let’s correspond via my email. Great job!

  23. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website? My website is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would truly benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Thanks!

  24. Sam Zodiac says:

    This is a great collection of re-programming sentences!
    If I remember right, you describe yourself as a Christian, right..?
    Personally I don’t feel very comfortable to put myself in some kind of religious box, so to speak. However, I AM familiar with the Christian take on Life, being born and brought up in Sweden.
    Therefore I can agree with the Original Sin, even if a refer to it as some kind of bad programming, induced by fear. Back in the old days a saying like the old Swedis one that says: Everybody is the smith of their own happiness, but I feel that a metaphor that involves computers would be more up-to-date, if you see what I mean..? :)
    So nowadays it would be fitting to claim that Everyone is his or her own reprogrammer. The task is of course to finally produce an operating system for humanity that works just fine!

  25. j says:

    I really like this post.

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