Today we will tackle the paradox of letting go in the anxiety recovery process.

Everyone has likely been told at some point or another…

“Let it go, man.”

This is common life advice.  Letting things go is offered up as a path to calm, peace, and a less stressful life. Want serenity? Just let go, man.  Life is too short to worry about stuff. Is this common life advice applicable in the context of anxiety recovery?

Yes.  And no.

The concept of letting go – giving up the struggle – is a key concept in anxiety recovery.  But in the context of recovery, letting go is not a thing designed to create instant calm or tranquility.  In fact, the initial act of letting go will do quite the opposite.  It will likely increase tension and discomfort. Over time we find a reduction in tension. As we progress, we do find increased contentment and calm. This is achieved through the repeated, long-term practice of letting go, even when letting go may increase discomfort at any given moment.

This is a paradox of recovery.  The long-term repeated practice of letting go may lead us to a less anxious state even when the specific act of letting go at any given moment may place us in a more anxious state.

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • The assumption that letting go will instantly relieve tension is a misunderstanding.
  • Letting go in anxiety recovery does not offer short-term relief but often creates an initial increase in discomfort.
  • The practice of letting go repeatedly during times of uneasiness is what actually brings about long-term relief.

Listen to this episode in full to explore this paradox in greater depths to fully understand how ‘letting go’ plays its part in the recovery process and how it differs from general life advice given to someone who does not suffer from anxiety.


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Podcast Intro/Outro Music: "Afterglow" by Ben Drake (With Permission)






Founder and host of The Anxious Truth podcast. Graduate student and therapist-in-training. Author and educator on the topic of anxiety disorders and anxiety recovery. Former anxious and depressed person.