Letting go of anger and fear with the Sedona method

When a burdensome thought wears you down

Martha is retired. She has trouble walking so that she hardly leaves the house anymore. She feels trapped even though she has an apartment in the middle of a capital city.

Her neighbor is home all day too. The problem is that, according to Martha, he makes a lot of noise.

At first, Martha was able to ignore the noise. She would just turn the radio on or go to another room.

Over time, the noise started taking over. Soon, the sound was the only thing Martha could focus on, and the anger was starting to eat her up. Being angry has become the dominant mood.

How do you deal with anger, compulsive thinking or fear? Did you know that there is a simple way to change your emotion?

The art of letting go and the Sedona method

Plenty of people have difficulties letting go of things. May it be anger or fear. That is a returning “theme” I see with many clients.

For a few years now, I use the Sedona method with so much success that I am sharing the simple trick that will help you to let go of thoughts that you do not serve you.

What is the Sedona method?

lester levenson

The Sedona method is a simple 4-question release technique developed by Lester Levenson. The physicist from New Jersey,  who lived from 1909 to 2009 developed his simple but powerful formula for happiness in 1952.

It has been adopted by many leading coaching experts.

Four simple questions:

  • Can you accept the emotion at this moment?
  • Could you let go of the emotion just for now?
  • Would you let go of the emotion?
  • When?

Allow me to explain in more detail:

Why not try it right now or the next time you are angry, afraid, or cannot stop thinking about something compulsively?

How the Sedona release technique works

Close your eyes, travel within and think about the person, situation, or thing that frustrates you at the moment.

Feel the emotion caused by that “thing.”

1. Can you accept the emotion at this moment?

You cannot win a war against your brain. Therefore, suppressing your emotion, fight it or pretend it does not exist will not work in the long term. Typically, the unpleasant emotion only grows stronger.

Back to our question: It doesn't matter how you respond. What matter is that you are honest with yourself. Answer spontaneously, without thinking about your answer or trying to find the “right” answer.

Perhaps the emotion is so strong that you have to accept it. Or it's a physical pain, and you know that you have to endure it. But you can also decide to refuse to accept the emotion. It's up to you.

2. Could you let go of the emotion – just for a moment?

This question is tricky. You are not being told to let go of the emotion. The freedom of choice is yours in theory. In practice, we often do not have a choice.

As before, it doesn't matter how you answer. Just spontaneous. Without thinking.

The point is that you dig inside and experience the emotion. Often, we're content with symbolism or constructs like “I am angry.” Or “I am stressed.”

But there is more to it. Please focus on the physical reactions. Do you feel pressure on your shoulder? Is your face getting hot?

It's easier to let go of concrete physical sensations than diffuse words like “stress”, “fear”, or “anger.”

Many of us can let go, but you are not always aware of it. Imagine you feel afraid, and your kid runs into the room because he feels down and has a bloody nose.

Where is the fear now?

Or imagine you are fighting with your partner and the phone rings. Most people will answer it with a completely normal voice. It might change back to the “anger voice” as soon as they hung up, but the fact of the matter is that they CAN let go.

It's easier if we do not force ourselves. That makes the indirect question “Could you…” so powerful.

The question represents merely a hint and that does not cause aversion or pressure.

3. Would you let go of the emotion?

Answer honestly and spontaneously again. The question is not about your ability to let go. It's about your willingness.

You might cover up another emotion or fear and learn about yourself that you are not willing to let go. Or you discover why you held on to an emotion that did not serve you for so long.

And now to the fourth and last question:

When? When would you let go?

Change does not happen if we are not brutally honest with ourselves. Ask yourself the question. As before, it does not matter what you reply. There is no right or wrong.

Now? Tomorrow? Never?

This question helps you in the here and now, and you will get a sense that change is possible.

You can break the pattern. You can let go. When would you like to let go?

If you reply with something, like “the day after tomorrow” or “when I have time” you have already agreed that you would like to let go AND that you can.

You will probably already feel a difference if you did not just read this article but went through the process of the four questions.

The best is to ask yourself these four questions again and again.

The Sedona method is not limited to emotions

You can also use the method to let go of unpleasant thoughts, limiting beliefs, nasty habits and besetting fantasies.

It works because thoughts, beliefs, and even fantasies are connected to emotions as well.

Why is this simple method so powerful?

The questions connect you to your inner self. The characteristic of a problematic situation is that we're not grounded, but kept the hostage of our brain. Compulsive thinking, worst-case scenarios etc. (Related article: “The default mode network and why it matters to you”)

Often we are not aware what causes a certain emotion, and this is where the Sedona method is gold.

It helps to get a distance to the problem or emotion. To look at it unbiased from afar. That might sound like an oxymoron (how can you connect to your inner self and at the same time have more distance?)

The difference is that the question forces you in the here and now.

Is there anything I can help you with? Why not book a session right now?