Tis the season of hustle, bustle, and feeling overwhelmed.
Feelings of being overwhelmed quickly lead to sensations of having lost control. The sense of not having control creates anxiety, loss of motivation, hopelessness, and more.
Self-help guru Brian Tracy says that people feel good about themselves to the degree they feel in control of their life. He uses phrases such as being in the driver’s seat of your own life and the master of your own destiny. It’s empowering to feel in control!
Contrast this to what is more prevalent; a state of constant survival mode. Many of us try to get by, one day at a time. We’re continually reacting to events that seem like they’re happening to us. When we feel out of control, we feel chaotic and desperate.
The great news is that this is the best time of year to get back your sense of control. The winter solstice in many traditions is a time of reflection and preparation. For example, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, winter is a time of seasonal and personal preparation for transformation and rebirth.
Here are 3 of my favorite strategies to refresh your headspace and get back that sense of control
Seek positive influences and discontinue negative influences
Inspiration is that fantastic sensation that makes us feel determined and triumphant. It’s the essential component for inner strength, helping us move forward despite obstacles.
Spend more time with positive people and less time with negative people. We naturally take on the attitudes, values, and behaviors of the people we’re around most. Optimistic people tend to increase the energy of those around them, while toxic people tend to be draining.
Be very disciplined and specific about the material and media you feed your mind. Our inner dialogue will be reflected in the mental food we take in. Listen to and read more inspiring books, magazines, and shows. You can also unfollow negative or controversial influences on social media. My personal favorite was to discontinue watching the news. Most sources use sensationalistic tactics to generate conflict. They understand that people are easily addicted to strong emotional responses and prey on these emotions. It’s surprising how informed you can still be without being attached to polarizing narratives.
Take time for self-reflection
Reflection allows you to get clear about what’s most meaningful and essential in your life. Doing this will enable you to identify problems, brainstorm solutions, and come up with a plan. One necessary key component is to write things down. Set aside time when you will not be disturbed and write about the following:
What’s important to you, what do you value, what is your purpose?
Answering these questions creates clarity and motivation. It also allows you to plan your life in a way that you can be proactive instead of reactive. You can be in the driver’s seat of your own life!
Another reason for writing down your thoughts is so that you can continue to review them. Life circumstances will always arise and try to throw us off our game plan. The more you review and remind yourself of what’s most important, the easier it is to stay the course.
Only focus on things that you can control
There are many circumstances in the world and even our lives that are out of our control. Sometimes we’ve even been wronged by someone that has put us in a bad situation. It’s a natural response to dwell on and even blame other people or events for life’s negative aspects. However, getting too caught up in blaming and criticisms is draining. It wastes mental energy that causes frustration and disempowers us from moving forward. Instead, we stay stuck in that situation because negative thoughts create a sense that there are no solutions.
In contrast, taking full responsibility for everything in life is empowering. It’s the driver for confidence and helps with a sense of being in control. With this sense of control, a productive plan can be put into place.
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