Let It Go

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You know all those corny “self help” tricks and mantras that magazines recommend you try?  Yea – I’m totally the kind of person that actually does them in real life (and you know what? They actually work, so you should do them, too!). 


I’ve been carrying a lot of stress around for the past week.  I woke up feeling grumpy and sad for no good reason.  So, I decided it was time to let it go.


You’ll need:


  • A marker
  • An inflated balloon


Using the marker, write all the stressful things going on in your life on the balloon.  Really think about each stressor as you write them on the balloon.


I tried to list things that I could control and could not control, as well as things that were super important and things that were just silly.

IMG_5606 IMG_5607

Originally, I thought about releasing the balloon + all my worries into the air, but that didn’t seem very environmentally friendly, so I opted to just pop it with my shoe.  It was very satisfying.


I feel sooooooooooo much better!




Just a simple PB&J.


With a pear and raspberries:


Do you ever use little tricks like my balloon method to boost your mood?  Affirmations?  Meditation techniques?  Operation Beautiful? Share them in the comments section!



  • Madeline - Greens and Jeans November 15, 2010, 1:39 pm

    I love this!! I usually make a list and work through it that way. As much as I tell myself that things are out of my control it helps to see it written down on paper with a plan of attack for things I CAN control

  • Anna @ Doing Good & Living Well November 15, 2010, 1:41 pm

    I make a list. Sometimes I tear it into little pieces and flush it down the toilet. Other times I put it in water and freeze it in my freezer. It is really therpeutic though. Talking to my mom, also awesome.

    Your pear/raspberry combo looks FANTASTIC!

  • Leanne @ Simplicitlee November 15, 2010, 1:42 pm

    I always try to remember that worrying isn’t going to solve anything, and to be proactive in doing things that will put me in a happier mood.

    Also, having a nice hot bath and then meditatiing in my bed for a couple minutes, then reading works well too 🙂

    Tonight I’m going to do that, I need some R&R

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg November 15, 2010, 1:43 pm

    Haha, I love this idea!! And you know, I think doing things like this really does make a difference in how you feel!

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations November 15, 2010, 1:44 pm

    Oh, I LOVE the balloon idea… actually doing this. I listen to a guided imagery stress reduction iTune sometimes that has you visualize your troubles going into a balloon and then the balloon floating away. But this is more profound! I love it!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 15, 2010, 1:44 pm

    Love your balloon idea! I’m a big planner-type, so I like to write down the things that are stressing me out, then try to list bullet points of as many ways as I can think of to overcome them. If it’s something that’s beyond my control however…. that’s a little difficult. Usually I try to just get myself to relax and accept that whatever is best will happen.

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday November 15, 2010, 1:45 pm

    I prefer Burning them.

    Write everything on paper and set it on fire (or throw it into a fire).

    • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday November 15, 2010, 1:46 pm

      Also, I love how dust bunnies is one of your stressors.

      • Caitlin November 15, 2010, 1:46 pm


        • Leanne @ Simplicitlee November 15, 2010, 3:36 pm

          I hope you don’t have lots of dark furniture then Caitlin! At my house we have all dark wood for our bedroom set and 8 hours after I dust, they look dusty again! Aarrrgh! So nice looking but such a pain in the patootie! 😉

  • kalin November 15, 2010, 1:45 pm

    i remember in college doing a walk that some seniors took us on, and at the start of it we picked up something (a rock, a piece of bark, etc) and it was supposed to represent a thing we needed to let go of. you spent the walk thinking about it, and then at the end, chucked it in the river.
    it was a nice symbolic thing where you really got *rid* of your trouble

    • Caitlin November 15, 2010, 1:47 pm

      I like this one!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman November 15, 2010, 1:45 pm

    I’ve never done that because I always figured they didn’t work. It would feel pretty good squashing my stress.

    I find that making a list and scratching off stuff as I do them makes me feel a bit better. Of course, that takes care of stressors I can handle. Others–the ones that are mostly out of my control–just stick around.

  • Alina @ Duty Free Foodie November 15, 2010, 1:48 pm

    Did you ever watch “Dharma and Greg”? She used to make a balloon gesture and say “put all your troubles in the balloon … and blow them away.”

    I do this sometimes. It occasionally helps.

    • Jacquelynn November 15, 2010, 1:51 pm

      I loved Dharma and Greg! I actually learned a lot after watching that show (read about chakras and meditation) 🙂

    • Alina @ Duty Free Foodie November 15, 2010, 1:52 pm

      Actually the quote was “put it in a bubble … blow it away.”

  • tina November 15, 2010, 1:49 pm

    omg, love the balloon idea!!!!

    i usually just try to do positive affirmations and turn every negative thing i say into a positive thing… and when i am feeling down and like i can’t do something, i continually say to myself… “i am fierce!!!” (had a client tell me that i am fierce once and it stuck with me!)

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun November 15, 2010, 1:49 pm

    I love that you popped it yourself and really saw them “disappear”.

    On a retreat I went on this past weekend I learned a lot about just letting those stresses go as well. In fact, we had a moment to go sit at the foot of a cross and lay our “burdens” down there. Talk about moving!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) November 15, 2010, 1:49 pm

    I just said this on my site..I am going to enjoy the week despite the weather, the illnesses that all 3 of my guys have, the stress of life/work…I am just letting it go this week. I want to smile and just be happy and thankful for where I am at this moment. I hope you are feeling better now.

  • Leah @ Why Deprive? November 15, 2010, 1:51 pm

    I did this type of thing once with a piece of paper and then I lit it on fire. Its kind of amazing how well it worked.

  • Jacquelynn November 15, 2010, 1:53 pm

    It is so good to find ways to de-stress… I’m always looking for new ways 🙂 Stress caused me lots of “tummy troubles” in my early 20’s (probably my diet too). So happy you shared this balloon remedy.

  • erin November 15, 2010, 1:56 pm

    I burn pictures of people who I’m not friends with/have screwed me over- it sounds silly but it feels so good. it’s kinda healing and erasing them from your lives for good

  • Ella November 15, 2010, 1:56 pm

    I actually did that at a leadership confrence I was at a couple of weeks ago except we popped the balloons when we were done, it felt great!

  • Sarah November 15, 2010, 1:57 pm

    I always take a deep breath – and then make my bed. For some reason, making my bed always seems to help!

  • JenRD November 15, 2010, 2:01 pm

    I find that keeping a diary really helps. There are even some good apps for that! Stress logs, happiness logs, gratuity journals, etc.

    Just as a side note, I remember your post the other day about the books you read, and I just finished a really good one. If you haven’t already read it, I highly reccomend “Thin is the New Happy,” by Valirie Frankel: http://www.amazon.com/Thin-New-Happy-Valerie-Frankel/dp/B003STCO68/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1289847491&sr=8-1
    It is her personal memoir about her body image struggles growing up and as an adult.

  • Lisa Fine - lisasfoods November 15, 2010, 2:03 pm

    Sometimes I write a note or a letter, and then burn it. It makes the bad feelings go away, but I still get out the thoughts I was having.

  • Katie November 15, 2010, 2:04 pm

    That seems like a really empowering activity. I will keep it in mind. It seems like something really cool that you could do with pre-teen girls or with your Girls on the Run group!

    Kind of related: I like to keep a “worth” page in my journal. I have this big problem with feeling worthless if I am not always accomplishing something. And it is REALLY bad right now that I don’t have a job. So when that feeling comes on really strong, I just write down everything I have done that day, even little things: studied for my pharmacy school test, went swimming, cleaned for my mom, took care of myself, did something kind, etc.

    • Leanne @ Simplicitlee November 15, 2010, 3:38 pm

      I love this idea, I’m going to start doing this before bed 🙂 thanks for the great idea to remind me to remind myself about my worth!

    • Caitlin November 15, 2010, 5:43 pm

      I like that idea too.

  • Holly @ couchpotatoathlete November 15, 2010, 2:04 pm

    For me, when I am stressed out I write down the things that are going WELL for me or things that I like about myself. Just getting some positivity in my head does me a world of good. Also, talking to Jason about things helps — he has a way of making me feel better and in control.

  • Shanna, like Banana November 15, 2010, 2:05 pm

    Hmm, I could use something like this right about now. I’m all sorts of discombobulated with negative feelings/thoughts!

  • Liz @ Blog is the New Black November 15, 2010, 2:06 pm

    Love that stress-reliever idea!

  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances November 15, 2010, 2:06 pm

    I like this idea! I tend to hold onto a lot of stress I cannot control (like things other people may do/say/think) and it’s hard to let it go sometimes. xoxo

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 15, 2010, 2:11 pm

    I have never done that before, but my mom’s friend told me before that she imagines all of her troubles as buterflies and she closes her eyes and watches them float away! How poetic!

  • Amanda (Eating Up) November 15, 2010, 2:13 pm

    I try to put stress in perspective. And keep telling myself that life always has stressful moments but they will pass!

  • suki November 15, 2010, 2:14 pm

    I’m glad you popped it with your shoe rather than released it into the sky where it might potentially end up in some bird’s throat.

    I tend to vent towards the bf. He’s a good listener, and if he sees that I am troubled by something, he’ll let me sit on it for a bit before asking me what’s up.

  • Maria @ Oh Healthy Day November 15, 2010, 2:16 pm

    I love the balloon trick!

    I usually rock out in my car to music (preferably Taylor Swift) and take a long ride in the country.

  • Laurie November 15, 2010, 2:17 pm

    That is a great idea! I need to do that! It seems I’m stressed all the time about little things and shouldn’t be, well according to my husband 🙂

  • Kristen November 15, 2010, 2:18 pm

    I NEED to start doing stuff like this. Between working full-time and going to school full-time, I have a lot on my plate and need to just get all of my worries and stress out sometimes!

    I tried hot yoga for the first time this weekend. I was exhausted after the 90 minute class (it felt like I had finished an 8-mile run!) but I realized it was the first time I had really stopped “thinking” and focused on something and connected with my body; even on runs and at the gym, I always seem to be “thinking.”

    • Caitlin November 15, 2010, 5:41 pm

      Take in electrolytes during the 90 minute classes- they are exhausting!

  • Heather November 15, 2010, 2:18 pm

    what a fun idea! I have written down my stressors before and crossed off the things I can control and then focused on trying to not worry about the things I cant control. i love crossing things off of a paper!

  • Kristen November 15, 2010, 2:19 pm

    Also, I don’t know how or why, but your PB and J looks way yummier than the one I just ate for lunch!

  • Cyndie November 15, 2010, 2:21 pm

    I’m not really big on mantras or things like this, because I think I would get distracted by the corniness, but I know it works for some people.

    However, I know that the way you talk to yourself is really important, and I definitely practice negative self-talk. I’m trying to work on that, because it means that small little things can ruin my day. Maybe I should try positive affirmations?

    • Caitlin November 15, 2010, 5:40 pm

      I think you should try Operation Beautiful!

  • Erica November 15, 2010, 2:27 pm

    I don’t often follow mantras b/c they tend to feel a little corny for me, but when I do start to get bogged down by negative thoughts and feelings, I try to do something good for myself or for someone else to make me feel better. I also tell myself that things could definitely be worse, and that my problems are pretty minor compared to others.

    I do want to say that this post is something that I really appreciate about your blog – you are so REAL and honest with yourself and your readers and you show that a bad day can be turned around. Also, your PB and J does look pretty awesome 🙂

    • Caitlin November 15, 2010, 5:40 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • alli November 15, 2010, 2:35 pm

    great idea! ive written them out on paper and then ripped said paper into hundreds of pieces! feels good!

  • Johanna B November 15, 2010, 2:43 pm

    I say the serenity prayer and try very hard to remember that there are things I cannot change.

  • Jacqueline November 15, 2010, 2:52 pm

    I go into a room by myself and take deep breaths for about 5 mins. Always helps.

  • Joey November 15, 2010, 2:55 pm

    Sometimes no matter what I do, I can’t lose the anxiety or sadness. But often I will try to do anything that makes me think of someone besides me – writing a card & sending it to someone lonely (aka my Grandma), or getting out & visiting home-bound people… or even just calling someone that you know would appreciate your thoughts/attention. A lot of times that really helps!

  • Halley (Blunder Construction) November 15, 2010, 2:57 pm

    I’m really glad you didn’t let the balloon go, I was cringing through the first few pictures! Popping is a smart idea though. I like the exercise of letting go of all the stresses, so important.

  • Camille November 15, 2010, 3:09 pm

    What a fabulous idea! I love it!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss November 15, 2010, 3:13 pm

    That’s a good idea with the balloon!! I’d do the same thing with paper, write them down, wad it up, and throw it away!

  • Erin November 15, 2010, 3:21 pm

    Can I just say that I think you are totally adorable for not releasing the balloon and stomping on it instead? 🙂 In college, I wrote down my problems on paper and tried to burn them with a match. I ended up dropping it by mistake because it scared me when the fire caught and I made a burn mark on the floor…so then I had bigger problems. I like the balloon method much better!

    • Caitlin November 15, 2010, 5:39 pm

      haha oh my!

  • Charlie November 15, 2010, 3:28 pm

    When I feel bad, I look in a mirror and tell myself I am beautiful/intelligent.

    Love the balloon idea!

  • Amber K November 15, 2010, 3:29 pm

    I have never actually done any of the stress relieving tricks I have read. Some of them sound so hokey, but I think it’s the mindset you have when doing them. If you’re expecting them to work they will, and if you don’t they won’t!,

  • Kacy November 15, 2010, 3:34 pm

    I love that idea, especially the popping part. I’m not going to lie, semi-violent things like that release stress for me. Perhaps I need a voodoo doll 😉

  • Jamie @ Food in Real Life November 15, 2010, 3:49 pm

    That is such a neat idea! Love it! I’m a huge advocate for positive affirmations. They work for me and I really believe in the power of positive thinking. A great author to check out is Louise Hay. Her book (and CD especially) I Can Do It! have changed my life.

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed November 15, 2010, 3:54 pm

    I love this!!!! I try to grab my worries/negative feelings in a ball from within my chest & take them in my hands & throw them away! I’ll use this technique too, it rocks. So freeing!
    Heidi xo

  • Cati @ crave and create November 15, 2010, 4:06 pm

    I write myself positive affirmations and inspirational quotes on sticky notes, Operation Beautiful-style, and post them up in my apartment or put them in my day planner. I also just started putting then into my iPhone notepad. I love this because, well…I’m pretty much attached at the hip to my phone, so anytime I need a quick self-esteem boost, I have all my notes with me.

    Love the balloon idea, too! Thanks for the tip!

  • 'Dee November 15, 2010, 4:10 pm

    Having once volunteered in marine mammal rescue, I can tell you that water creatures everywhere thank you for not releasing that balloon! And seriously, popping it sounds so much more SATISFYING anyway.

    May have to try this 😉

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) November 15, 2010, 4:14 pm

    I actually think this sounds really empowering!!

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In November 15, 2010, 4:30 pm

    One of my favorites is when I’m really upset or angry, I take a piece of paper and rip it up into a trash can, usually while cursing in the privacy of my own room. It lets out my agression but in a non harmful way!

  • tina November 15, 2010, 4:42 pm

    I like this. It reminds me of something my friends & I would do. We used to have an old New Year’s tradition in which we would write our wishes for the year on a helium balloon and release it to the heavens. The philosophy was that the Gods would receive it and make our dreams come true!

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa November 15, 2010, 4:57 pm

    dust bunnies = major stressor.

    • Caitlin November 15, 2010, 5:38 pm


  • Anna November 15, 2010, 5:00 pm

    I’ve totally done the same type of thing… when I was living in Nairobi, I was super-stressed out and anxiety-ridden at one point so I wrote everything that was wrong with the current situation on a piece of paper, then lit it with a match (in our giant metal sink-safety!) It was very satisfying.

  • Kelley November 15, 2010, 5:11 pm

    I tend to say little phrases over and over. My two favorites aer “Happiness is a choice” and “If God brought me to it, He will bring me through it.” If I’m super stressed I leave them written all over my apartment. It really works!

  • Carly November 15, 2010, 5:20 pm

    On a completely different topic…I just ran a mile. Just one mile. I’ve been trying to get into running but even just running a mile is hard. Will it ever get easier?

    I want to run because I just moved to a new area and have nothing but my husband who works often. I started running to keep myself busy while also being healthy. I don’t want to give up so if anyone has any advice or encouragement, I would appreciate it. 🙂

    • Caitlyn (A Spoonful of Life) November 15, 2010, 5:27 pm

      Awesome job on the mile! You have to start somewhere!!

      • Caitlin November 15, 2010, 5:37 pm

        Yes it most definitely gets easier. I think there’s a mileage point where suddenly you will find running much more enjoyable and fun. : ) keep trying.

        You should look at http://healthylivingblogs.com/ and see if there is anyone in your area to run with!

    • Cindy Robinson November 16, 2010, 10:15 am

      I just got into running for fun recently and it does get easier and more enjoyable. It’s really fun to run with a friend or dog, kinda takes your mind off the “why am I putting myself through pain?” idea 🙂 Keep it up girl!

  • Caitlyn (A Spoonful of Life) November 15, 2010, 5:26 pm

    I have never tried an stress relieving techniques. I guess I just hold it up inside until it subsides. The balloon trick loosk quite run, though. I could get used to popping balloons!

  • Jillian@ Reshape Your Life November 15, 2010, 5:38 pm

    I love the balloon idea (and that you didn’t actually let it go). And I laughed when I saw that dust bunnies were a stressor.

  • Maddie (Healthy Maddie) November 15, 2010, 6:12 pm

    I love the ballon idea! I don’t really have any creative ideas for relieving stress, I just workout and listen to music. After a good sweat session with my favorite tunes I don’t even remember what I was stressing about.

  • Lauren November 15, 2010, 6:25 pm

    My lovely mom-in-law send me an awesome journal for my birthday this past weekend. It basically prompts you to write down something your thankful for, something you’re hoping for, and a goal for tomorrow. I feel like writing things down can be really helpful with stress. Instead of carrying it around with you all day, write down the things you can control, the things you’d like to change, and how you think you can accomplish it! 🙂

  • Shayla November 15, 2010, 6:27 pm

    Hi Caitlin! I love the balloon idea – I’m gonna definitely try it! I noticed you put “tummy troubles” and if it’s not too personal I’d like to know how you may go about to remedy it. I too suffer from tummy troubles, especially Monday’s after an indulgent weekend, and am wondering if you’re suffering from the same kind? Thanks! 🙂

    • Caitlin November 15, 2010, 6:28 pm

      I think mine are dairy and stress related so I’m just deep breathing 🙂

      • Lindsey November 15, 2010, 6:40 pm

        I’m going to second that because my stomach gets all upset when I’m stressed. They say your stomach where most people store their emotions surprisingly. Yoga, walks, and mediation tend to do the trick for me.

  • Virginia @ YtotheUmmy November 15, 2010, 6:47 pm

    this one time someone said something very hurtful to me so i went to the bathroom stall and cried (i know, i know), but then i remembered my go-to song (stronger by britney spears, ain’t no shame.) and instantly felt better. i thought of my dad who loves me no matter what, and my best friend who knows every single one of my weaknesses, past and present, but still thinks i’m one of the strongest people in the whole wide world 🙂 screaming and clenching my fists while i stomp my feet are just as effective though :)…just not entirely appropriate in the far left stall in the bathroom by the main lobby 😉

    • Caitlin November 15, 2010, 6:52 pm

      Awww I love that Brit song is your favorite!

  • Cher November 15, 2010, 7:07 pm

    For some stressors i can control, I usually make a list and work through one by one; and for those I can not control, I might talk them up to friends or just ignore them, let them subside.

  • Caitlin November 15, 2010, 7:47 pm

    I make a “+Positive List!+” I list positive things about each day, and it really brightens my mood! I’ve been using Positive Lists for six years.

    Also, once, in high school, my church group leader was having a bad day so we did some relaxing, stress-relieving activities. First, we wrote our worries and bad feelings on little slips of papers and burned them using candles. Then, she busted out the markers and crayons, and we each created artwork detailing happy memories. It was probably the best thing I have ever experienced at church.

  • Alicia November 15, 2010, 8:06 pm

    It can be so difficult when things are bothering you to just let them go. I love this idea! I think yoga and meditation also help a lot. A beautiful meal never hurts either!

  • Amanda @ Hungry Vegan Traveler November 15, 2010, 8:44 pm

    I had tummy troubles for many years. Then I experimented with cutting out wheat products, and it has made a world of difference for me. Have you considered tweaking your diet to find out if it’s related to your stomach problems?

  • Ali November 15, 2010, 10:17 pm

    An old teacher of mine always said, “put it in a balloon and let it fly” as a metaphor whenever any of us would get stressed. I never thought about literally doing it, but it makes sense.

    Glad it helped you 🙂

  • Natalie November 16, 2010, 7:37 am

    It’s so therapeutic to write those things down! I take my cares and my worries and write them down in a notebook while listening to music. Then, I pray about them. I pray for strength and for peace and to remember that God is in control of my life.
    It’s also interesting to go back and look at those “stressors” from a month ago. They are often not the same as what I am experiencing at the current time, which is a good thing! :o)

  • Cindy Robinson November 16, 2010, 10:20 am

    I am cracking up at the dust bunnies! My tile floors also love dust bunnies, especially the twirly ones that follow you down the hall 🙂 Great idea for stress relief. I try to sit down and ask myself if these things are truly something to stress over.

  • Amanda @ Hungry Vegan Traveler November 16, 2010, 10:01 pm

    I’m so glad you didn’t release it into the air!

  • Amy P November 23, 2010, 2:27 pm

    I hope your tummy troubles get better.. I suffer everyday with no end in sight (let alone answers!) So I totally feel your frustration!!!!!

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