Friday, February 6, 2015

Mom Talk #29: When You Feel Out of Control

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Dearest Children of Mine,

I don't think I considered myself a "Control Freak" growing up.  I'm not sure I even considered myself a Control Freak ten years ago.  Maybe the need to be in control is something that comes with age.  Maybe it comes with realizing just how fragile life really is, and the necessity to let the people most precious to you venture into the great wide world without holding your hand.  

But I think Control Freaks get a bad rap, because controlling (what you can) about your life has a lot to do with your personal sanity, and what's not to love about someone taking personal responsibility for their own state of mind?

Here are a few tips for those times when life feels like it's spinning out of control.

Set Yourself Up to Feel at Peace

I promise, this isn't a not-so-subtle attempt to get you to clean up your room, HOWEVER ... your environment impacts your mental state more than you may realize.  Keeping your place in order gives you a stable and soothing place to operate from when life throws you curveballs, and it's one less thing to distract you or stress you out.  Life feels better when there's order around you, so especially if you're feeling out of control, give yourself the gift of order.  The result and the singular act of exerting yourself on your environment will make you feel better.

Identify What You DO Control

It's important to identify what you can and can't control in life so you don't use up your energy trying to fix things that you simply can't.  You'll reduce your stress level considerably if you ask yourself if you have any power over a situation before you get involved with it.  When there's something you can do, take action and do that thing!  And when you get to the place where there's no more action you can take, admit to yourself you've come to the end of your influence, and let it go.  Don't dilute your energy by focusing on things that are outside your control.  Throw your action and focus and intent behind what you do have control over.  

Know (and do) What Calms You

When life goes bonkers, you'll naturally gravitate to things that settle you, and you may not even be aware of why it is that you're doing those things.  Explore and observe what calms you so that when things feel out of your grasp, you can purposefully turn to them to find some peace in the storm.  For me, it's putting things in order, which I didn't fully realize until last summer when the Hospice nurse made her first visit to see your Granddaddy and I was furiously organizing his linen closet.  Small comforting actions may not impact the big things you're concerned about, but they will make you feel better.

Don't Lose It

Have you ever listened to Fighter Pilots talking to each other in the middle of a battle?  Or 911 Operators taking emergency calls?  They aren't speaking clearly and succinctly and politely because they necessarily feel calm - their training is forcing their response to the situation.  I wish I could tell you that life goes according to plan most of the time, but sending you off into the world with that unrealistic expectation would do you a huge disfavor.  The truth is, much of life is about coming up with Plan B.  This is normal.  The only thing you are 100% in control of is your response to life, whether you're on Life Plan A, B or Z.  Your response to the setbacks in life become a habit - don't practice losing control when life gets crazy.  Remember that you have control over your response.  Practice staying in control.  And if you don't feel like you've got what it takes, pretend you do.  Pretend you have what it takes to stay in control ... until you do.  

See?  When life spins out of control, you can still have a plan.  It mostly has to do with controlling yourself.  It's the only thing you have control of anyway :o)

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

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