I’ve spent the last week trying to control all of the uncontrollable aspects I have in my life right now. While I will not bore you with the details, so many things have spiraled just far enough out of my reach to leave me fighting for sanity. Every time I’ve turned around, something else has come up or flown off the handle. I’ve spent a few nights contemplating what I could possibly do to control this uncontrollable insanity. I’ve gone around and around in circles spit balling this idea and that idea, but in the end, I’ve concluded that I have to stick with what has worked in the past. The fact of the matter is, this is not the first time I’ve managed stress and it is certainly not the last. While this might be a different configuration of problems all wrapped up into a new game of Tetris, I have to recognize that I will once again manage to eat some of what is on my plate and be able to move forward.
Hopefully these conclusions find their way to you, leaving you with the ability to relax and breathe again!
1. Take a step back
The first step is back. Recognize that while things may be out of control now, this cannot go on forever.
Breathe. Deep inhale, strong exhale. Repeat. Let yourself relax and clear your mind of everything. Focus solely on the air entering and exiting your lungs.
Click here for a helpful article on breath control. This is a great tool for those of you with anxiety, as well!
3. Recognize what you can and cannot control.
This is important, because it allows you to visualize and focus on the things you do have power over. You can then channel your energy and efforts toward those things. As you do this, it is just as important to remember acceptance. You must accept the things you cannot control. Let them go.
4. What requires problem-focused and what requires emotion-focused coping?
Problem-focused coping is actively working to solve the problem. This is a very hands-on technique. Emotion-focused coping is when there is nothing you can physically do except work through the emotions you are feeling. Both are equally resourceful and important to utilize when necessary. This step allows you to break down even further what you do have control over.
5. Dive into something you love a little more often.
Ultimately, it’s important to get your mind off of the problems at hand. Diving into something that you love to do or even something so mindless is a great way to escape from this stress.
6. Assess your situation.
Purposeful breaks throughout the day or the week allow you to assess your progress. At this time, you can reflect on how you’re doing and if things are getting better. If they are not getting better, ask yourself why. This is solely a reflection step. Reflection will keep you on track to the light at the end of the tunnel.
At some point in everyone’s life, we will find ourselves feeling out of control. We will be let go from a job or time simply will not be on our side, but it is important for us to remember what we can do to help the situation and what we can do for ourselves. At the end of the day, you will find that control you are seeking again.