How to Feel More in “Control” of Your Life

I always felt I had complete control over my life. As it turns out, life just doesn't work that way. I'm now able to embrace the realization that certain things are out of my control.

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The realization that certain things are out of one’s control is healthy, though as someone who enjoys the thoughtful process of “digging deep” to engineer one’s life, it can create dissonance. Writing out objectives in great detail, creating mood boards, and relentlessly putting plans into action were all part of how I channeled my goals and dreams into reality. While these activities are positive, life cannot be controlled.

Particularly in uncertain times, anxiety can rear up and take hold of my emotions, interfering with my ability to be present in the moment. As a mother, it saddens me when I lose precious moments with my children fretting over situations in which I am powerless to influence. Here are some useful tips to reduce the sense of losing control over one’s life, and instead foster feelings of accomplishment, well-being, and order.

Make a List

Making a list can relieve stress because tasks and to-dos are written down, reducing fear that something might be overlooked. When a clear-cut list is in front of you, it is easier to get a broad picture of what needs to be done, and prioritize from there. There is also the added bonus of physically checking items off a list, which creates a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Prioritize health

Taking good care of oneself optimizes well-being both physically and mentally. The positive effects of good nutrition, adequate rest, and physical activity are well documented, and enhance performance and resilience. Taking care of oneself generates positive emotions of self-worth, and feelings of accomplishment arise from sticking to an appropriate exercise and dietary routine.

Manage your beliefs

Reframing a situation in terms of what can be controlled, and also of significance, what cannot be controlled, alters one’s perspective. Looking at the positive side of a situation reduces negative feelings and emotions and puts one on a path to productivity. Innovation often occurs when we are faced with challenges.

Clear Clutter to Reduce Stimulus

Reducing clutter in one’s work space or home relives stress and minimizes distracting stimuli. Being surrounded by only useful or loved items can bring peace of mind and focus. Try it – cleaning out even a small section of a closet or a drawer can provide a sense of tranquility and accomplishment.

Train Your Brain

When we are feeling overwhelmed and are pressed for time, allocating minutes for meditation can get overlooked. This is precisely the time when we need it most. Meditating helps to regain a sense of mental control and lower stress levels, allowing us to relax, focus, and be more in the moment. Being present allows for greater clarity of mind, and allows us to enjoy the precious moments in our lives. Learn to “let go”.

How do you manage uncertainty in your life? Are you able to “let go?’

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