5 Ways to Restore Your Sense of Control When You’re Feeling Powerless
Obstacles in life can test our strength and optimism. We can feel challenged, as if we have little control, making it hard to focus. During these times, we crave peace as we face what feels like the impossible, or at least the improbable. And for many of us, one of the biggest hurdles is simply getting out of our way.
Here are five things to consider adding into our brain space to help manage our fears, doubts and uncertainties, so they don't get the best of us.
- Actively express gratitude: Take the time to let people know that you appreciate them. And be sure that the important people in your life know you love them. So often, we think they must know this, but we don’t fully express it. Please don’t hold back; we can do it right now, so there’s no need to wait.
- Accept our current circumstances: Embrace them even, if possible. This doesn’t mean we like the situation or accept this as our new normal. It simply means that we’re acknowledging that this is the state of our life at this moment. Pushing against what is our reality is a recipe for frustration and feelings of defeat. And, speaking of routine, forget about what others consider “normal.” Crisis-related anxiety is completely normal, and we’re all experiencing it to some degree. The good news is that we can find ways to counter it to come out on the other side of this healthier, more positive version of ourselves.
- Do our best to establish some sense of routine: Routine can give us a sense of at least some control and make room for what matters. Routine can benefit our emotional health and help us strengthen healthy habits, reduce stress and help cope with the changing world. As challenging as it may feel, aim for a daily pattern or schedule that includes self-care. This can be simple – a short walk, listening to a podcast or simply taking a few minutes to be alone while running an errand. Also, try to include an element of forward movement toward at least one goal daily, large or small. Progress is progress, even as small as steps may seem.
- Set boundaries, and limit exposure to news and social media: Stay informed, of course, but make sure you’re taking enough time to step away to separate and recharge your thoughts, energy and focus. Pause for mental refreshers throughout the day. Carve out time to nourish our bodies as best possible, layer in some movement or reach out to a friend, especially one who’s calm and emotionally steady.
- Look for the humor and positivity, whenever possible: This doesn’t mean making light of your situation. But seeking out the flashes of happiness, positivity and, yes, even humor in the darkest moments can rejuvenate our spirit and remind us that, in due time, these negative feelings and emotions will pass. Start by tuning into the smallest acts of compassion, like expressing gratitude and love for those around us and stepping away from 24-hour news and the social media cycle so that we intentionally fill our energy and spirits with positivity, compassion and grace. Continue to surround yourself with positive messaging. Follow experts on social media who share stories of inspiration and positivity. Tune into the simple things that have a huge impact on your happiness. And, most important, start doing these things now.
These are just a few things we can do to ensure that we’re truly caring for ourselves and the community around us.
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