Regaining your Sense of Control

Dr. Samantha Morel December 8th, 2023

Regaining Your Sense of Control: Strategies for Navigating Life’s Chaos

Life can sometimes feel out of control. Whether it’s unexpected personal challenges, work-related stress, or global events beyond your control, there are moments when life feels chaotic and overwhelming. 

The good news is there are strategies and techniques that you can use to help you feel in control when life feels out of control. The most important thing to know is that regaining a sense of control is not about controlling external circumstances, but it’s about managing your response to them.

20 strategies and techniques to help you feel in control

The first step towards regaining control is acknowledging your feelings. It’s entirely normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or uncertain when life takes unexpected turns. Try your best to not suppress these emotions; instead, recognize and accept them as a normal response to challenging circumstances.

Mindfulness is a powerful practice that can help you stay grounded and regain a sense of control. By being fully present in the moment and observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment, you can reduce anxiety and stress. Try incorporating mindfulness meditation into your daily routine to build this skill.

When life feels chaotic, establishing a daily routine can provide a sense of stability and predictability. Create a schedule that includes time for work, self-care, and relaxation. Having a routine can help you regain control over your time and activities. Even a 10-minute morning routine can make a huge impact. 

Setting clear and achievable goals can help you regain a sense of direction and purpose. Break down your goals into smaller, manageable steps, and prioritize them. This will give you a roadmap to follow and a sense of accomplishment as you make progress.

It’s essential to recognize that you cannot control every aspect of your life. Instead of fixating on what you can’t control, shift your focus to what you can influence. Direct your energy and efforts towards those areas, and let go of the rest.

Cultivating a gratitude mindset can shift your focus from what’s going wrong to what’s going right in your life. Regularly reflect on the things you’re grateful for, no matter how small they may seem. This is a simple way to actively focus on the positive things around you.

Self-care is crucial during challenging times. Prioritize activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Exercise regularly, eat nutritious meals, get enough sleep, and engage in things that help you feel relaxed. 

Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries is crucial for regaining control in your life. Clearly communicate your limits to others and prioritize your own well-being.

Keeping a journal can be a therapeutic way to process your emotions and regain a sense of control. Write down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and use journaling as a tool for self-reflection and self-expression.

Isolation can exacerbate feelings of being out of control. Reach out to friends, family, or a support network to share your thoughts and feelings. Talking to others can provide emotional support and valuable perspectives. 

Constant exposure to negative news or social media can contribute to feelings of chaos and helplessness. Set boundaries and limit your consumption of distressing information. Stay informed but avoid obsessing over negative updates.

Improving your problem-solving skills can empower you to work through challenging situations more effectively. Identify the specific issues causing distress and work on finding practical solutions for the things you can solve. Seek advice from trusted sources when necessary.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. Build resilience by learning from past challenges and using those experiences to develop greater emotional strength and adaptability.

Mistakes are inevitable, and they can sometimes make you feel like things are spiraling out of control. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, use them as valuable learning experiences and opportunities for personal growth.

Change is a constant in life, and resisting it can lead to feelings of chaos. Instead of fearing change, embrace it as an opportunity for personal growth and transformation. Developing adaptability can be a powerful tool in regaining control.

Regaining a sense of control is a process that takes time. Be patient with yourself and acknowledge that progress may be slow. Celebrate small victories along the way and remember that setbacks are a normal part of the journey.

Visualization is a powerful tool for regaining control and staying motivated. Take time to visualize your desired outcomes and imagine yourself successfully navigating the challenges you face. This can boost your confidence and determination.

Be kind and compassionate to yourself during difficult times. Treat yourself with the same understanding and support that you would offer to a friend facing similar challenges.

While routines and plans are essential, it’s also crucial to remain flexible and adaptable. Life is unpredictable, and being open to adjusting your strategies can help you navigate unexpected changes more effectively.

If your feelings of being out of control persist or become too overwhelming, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist can provide guidance, coping strategies, and a safe space to explore your emotions.

When life feels out of control, remember that the key to regaining a sense of control lies within you. It’s not about controlling external circumstances but about managing your response to them. By implementing the strategies and techniques above, you can navigate life’s chaos with greater resilience, confidence, and a renewed sense of control. It is important to recognize that you have the inner strength to find stability and serenity even in the most turbulent times.

Stay well, – Dr. M

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Samantha Morel, Ph.D.

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