The podcast today is focusing on wellness in our lives for success. It is so important to prioritise ourselves because without wellness we are not going to live well!
Today I am going to chat about something so important and something that often comes up in times of stress. Often, we as humans think, the more we control, the more we will succeed – but this isn’t the case at all!
You most certainly cannot live well if you are constantly stressed about certain outcomes in our lives that we have no control over. Knowing the difference between what we can control and what we cannot is a topic that comes up so frequently in my life both at work as a family lawyer and in my personal life. This topic manifests in many contexts and situations, however, I always come back to one principle which is that ‘We can control our perceptions, but we can’t control our outcomes.’
I know for myself I can control how I show up in relationships, however, I cannot control what people think of me. I can control how much time and effort I put into preparing for a client or for a meeting, yet I cannot control whether I am going to retain that client. It is most common in relationships. We can control how much time, value and patience into relationships, yet we will never have control over someone else reacts to it.
We can influence the outcome, but we cannot control it.
This has personally been a huge learning curve as a parent, as a wife, going through a divorce when it wasn’t my choice to end the relationship, as a business owner with employees who come and go, and with clients who don’t retain. So, it is important to learn to get rid of control, because the reality is that there is so much going on in our lives that we have absolutely no control over – so why do we stress ourselves so much?
Not only does control not change the outcome but worrying about the outcome won’t help either! We spend days, weeks and months filled with anxiety over things that we don’t have any control over. Realising what you do have control over can completely minimize stress and eliminate the things you cannot control. I am going to walk you through a few steps on how to let go and all the things I have learned in this process.
1. Worrying about what we can control, often minimizes the stress of controlling the things we can’t control.
Focusing on topics we cannot control often makes us less effective and can alternatively influence the wrong outcome. The more time and energy we give to a topic, the more likely it will happen. It is so important to focus on your own actions and manifestations on the positive rather than the worst-case scenario.
2. Focus on what you can control, takes discipline.
Being able to switch your brain to focus on what we can control is a major disciplinary decision. This is a practise that is not mastered overnight. It is also the difference between massive action and passive actions. Worrying about variables and factors that we do not control can put us into a very unproductive and reactive state. So, rather than taking control on how we are acting, we allow our thoughts to take over and spiral until we snap and then potentially make the situation 10 times worse. It takes so much discipline to break the negative thoughts that can consume a situation, especially if you are in a vulnerable situation and uncertain about what too next.
3. When we focus on what we can control, we don’t worry about what we can’t.
This often happens, as we switch our energy over to things we can control, and this benefit of solely focusing on what we can control helps us move positively forwards. You feel far more at peace, not free from nerves, and stress but the input and consistent negativity surrounding the situation just drops off and gives you a deeper sense of self-trust.
4. Identify your fears, headfirst
Step through your true fears around the situation and identify the factors you are afraid of. What is the worst that is going to happen? Take it all the way to the back and be vulnerable with it, because if you clarify and identify it there is nothing left to hide and cover. This is in so many aspects of life and we can start getting wound up in a ball of anxiety and often it never happens that way, but having the power to identify your fears will break the walls down and layout the fears, and start thinking about the ongoing effect and work out what you are really worried about and begin to cross out what you cannot control! We take the vision that these issues will be a huge tragedy, however, we can be a bit dramatic and unpacking the event will slowly show you, Hey! You will still have a roof over your head, or you will be able to carry on with your life.’
5. Differentiate between ruminating and problem solving
This is a huge one and can often be toxic for our well-being and having discipline when it comes to focusing on what you can control. However, replaying previous conversations in our minds and how they should have or could have played out is a terrible one! It isn’t helpful at all to us! We can also become very sensitive to replaying repeatedly the worst outcome that could happen and what you would do if it were to happen and BAM you are now consumed. None of this is productive, you need to change the channel in your brain., Acknowledge the thoughts and move on. Don’t ignore them, otherwise without you being aware they will linger in your mind and wait for you to acknowledge this terrible tragedy that could occur (not, LOL!) But as important as it is the acknowledge, it takes the discipline to then quickly switch it over to what you can control.
Now you have acknowledged it, you can either change the channel or you can problem solve. If you get down a few steps and then there is nothing more you can do, move over!
6. Create a plan when managing stress
There are so many things you can do to help eliminate stress and that may be custom to you. However, the most beneficial actions to minimize stress is to give your body a full 30-60 minutes per day to do something solely for you. This may be exercising for 20 minutes and then a 10-minute meditation session. Or this could be 30-minutes preparing a nourishing meal for yourself and taking the time out to enjoy the food you are eating. Many times, what happens is when we are stressing about things we cannot control, we forget the really basic things we can control which makes you feel really good.
Try one of the below ideas the next time you begin to feel stressed:
- Journal, write down your emotions, stresses, and ideas;
- Meet up with your funniest friend – I promise, a good belly laugh can change your whole day;
- Engage in a hobby you absolutely love, whether that be painting, dancing or signing;
- A 30-minute power walk while listening to your favorite podcast or song;
- Cook a warm meal with all of your favorite ingredients, you don’t need an excuse to do this either – make it for yourself, nobody else; and
- Go to bed when the sun sets and wake up when it rises.
If you pay attention to your stress levels, it is amazing how much better you can cope and de-stress with just a few little tweaks of your lifestyle. When you put time and energy into things you can control, so many shifts and changes can just change your whole life.
7. Develop healthy affirmations
It is so important to support yourself in times of stress. Simply reminding yourself, that it is okay and you need to relax or reminding yourself of the main outcome will help you develop trust within yourself to be the happiest you can be. When you are reminding yourself about these affirmations, it is important to physically say these out loud. A few affirmations I make myself say which instantly aligns me is
- Make it happen – This one reminds me that I am in full control of my actions;
- I hope I do okay today – This takes the pressure off me, it is okay if I don’t do okay today but I really want to do well!
- I can handle it – What’s the worst that can happen?
When you begin to get into the habit of breaking down and reminding yourself that it is okay, it will be okay. Whether it be work or home, these quick phrases will keep you from wasting time on things you can’t control. I write a list of healthy mantras that suit the day or the tasks I am completing and repeat them before I leave the house – it sounds funny but it is like anything, if you hear it enough times it will stick.
I hope this has helped you take a different approach to stress and really minimize what you should be putting your precious time and energy into. Listen to the full podcast below.
Have the best day!
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