Within the past few months, I have been able to directly pin point one of the main feelings that induces my anxiety: the need to be in control. This could sound odd to some, but for many others dealing with anxiety disorders, control is a very important concept.
Wanting everything to go exactly as planned for fear of what could happen if it doesn’t, or maybe attempting to control the reactions and actions of everyone around you again out of fear of the potential outcomes. These instances are of great familiarity to me. Recently, after coming to this realization, I have confronted this issue directly by turning the focus solely on things that I actually can control.
This means that instead of trying to plan every second of everyday based on tasks I need to complete, I just make a simple list ahead of time so I know what I need to get done, without the use of time restrictions; I find they only further stress rather than help to reduce it. It also means that when I have an argument or tense words with someone in my life, I don’t get upset at them feeling whatever it is they feel even when it doesn’t agree with my own emotions.
The main idea here is that there are a lot of big things we have no say in. Other people will always do whatever they want to do or say whatever they want to say regardless of whether we like it or not. We have no say in the majority of things, except our own actions and reactions. Taking on this responsibility is something I recommend for anyone feeling like they just can’t get a handle on anything anymore.
By throwing the false sense of control out the window, I provided myself with the opportunity to channel my need for control to things that would benefit my life.
I began to work on my physical fitness by incorporating healthier eating habits and exercising habits into my life. I placed more importance on my school work. After evaluating the status of all of the relationships I value, I adjusted the effort I put in accordingly. I began making more decisions on my own, unless I really felt I needed further help. Overall, in every area of my life that has an immediate impact on my happiness and stress levels, I did only what I can to better those areas.
It’s hard in a world where human connection and time are such valuable things to not put everything on yourself when things don’t go right. It’s even harder to change over from a pessimistic outlook to an optimistic one. It is, however, the best way to release the need to be in control.
It may sound cliche to say that everything happens for a reason, or that you need to just go with the flow, but from my experience, it’s true. This process I just described helped me to better understand my anxiety. And the better you understand yourself, the better you can become at enjoying your personal journey.