Hands up if you feel that you spend your life trying to get it under control. Do you feel you’re in a whirl wind that doesn’t stop? Have you noticed physical signs that you’re feeling anxious about life? If so, read on about taking control of life and feeling centred.

What does it mean?

If you believe what you see on social media, your expectation may be that life is always fabulous for others. That others really have things sorted. That everyone else has life under control whilst looking fabulous.

It may be that you were brought up with the expectation that life will be smooth. You’ll get a good job/career (maybe after university), buy your house, have your beautiful children and host wonderful dinner parties with all of your friends.

So, what happens when our reality doesn’t quite match up to this vision. What happens if we juggle work and home commitments? How is it that there is never quite enough time in the day? How long is your to do list and which items appear on it time and again? Is it like whack-a-mole where you never quite conquer all those pesky moles?

For some people, the pattern of their life in chaos simply becomes the norm and they live life in a constant heightened state.

Often, it can lead to a variety of feelings and behaviour;

  • feeling like we’re a failure
  • increased anxiety
  • withdrawal from friends
  • difficulty with aspects such as finance as our heads are in the sand
  • possibly behaviour such as over/under eating to try and get a feeling of control over SOMETHING
  • maybe even signs that you’re performing rituals time and again to make things feel right and safe

Taking control of life – what’s the reason?

There are a number of reasons why these feelings and behaviours might arise. Most typically, when we’re on alert, our bodies are flooded with those fight or flight hormones that we’ve explored before. The effects may be familiar – not able to concentrate, shallow breathing, heart racing, digestive problems etc. What our brains want most of all is to feel safe, which means more of those parasympathetic brain chemicals. We most often get them when life is calmer, going as planned and not as chaotic. So, if life feels like we’re on a rollercoaster, and we feel like we’re just doing it wrong, taking action such as ignoring things, withdrawing, focusing on only one area that we feel is good will give us that illusion that everything is fine. The thing is tho that the feeling is often temporary and as the effect begins to wear off, we’ll often try even harder to regain control.

So, what do we do?

There is a ton of advice on-line about solutions for taking control of life. And, clearly, sometimes we can’t ‘fix’ the perceived mess because that’s just how life is for now. So, how do we learn to sit with these, perhaps, uncomfortable feelings and manage our thoughts to help ride out the storm?

These are some of my go-to things that I’ve seen clients work with really successfully over the years.

  • be sure that it won’t be for ever. One thing we can absolutely be certain of is that things will change. Things will be different at some point, so being optimistic that it’s just for now will help you keep looking to the future.
  • challenge your perception about what you mean when you feel your life is a mess and not under control. Is it actually just one area? Is it something that you can simply ride out until times change?
  • just check your expectation about what ‘being in control’ actually means. If your expectation is that you can manage everything to happen just when and where you want, it’s possible you might spend much of your life chasing your tail
  • as we go through the stages of life (there’s another article…) our perception and approach to things will be different
  • make sure you do make time for yourself – easier said than done when you feel like you’re trying desperately hard to keep your head above water. However, finding that small area of calm will boost your brain chemicals which in itself allows you to think more clearly and find solutions
  • embrace the messiness – and maybe even share your situation. You might be surprised how many people say ‘yep, and me!’ This is one I’ve recently started practicing – being comfortable with messy.
  • If we’ve worked together, you already know some calming breathing techniques, don’t you. Regular practice will have a surprising effect.
  • if you do use a ‘to-do’ list, choose just one to get done today – you’ll be amazed how motivated it makes you feel

Taking control of life – what works for you?

As always, I love hearing from you about what works for you when you’re thinking about getting life under control. Remember, it’s all about the feeling, so finding things that do help you feel good, including resting and seeing friends, are always useful to have on the list.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook to find out what we’re up to at People Excellence Performance

Taking Control of Life