Posts

Taking control when life feels out of control

There are things that we can control in our lives and there are things that are out of our control.

Since COVID-19, I have been closely observing and listening to people’s reactions to what is happening in the world – including my own. I have been met with anxiety, panic, grief, sadness, anger and even rage! Some of these have been my own reactions 🙂

We can’t control the current current pandemic but we can control how we deal with it.

Our internal narrative is what drives our reactions to situations and our feeling of being ‘out of control’. These internal narratives are always based on the beliefs we have about ourselves, others, the world and future.

Julian Rotter was an American psychologist who developed the locus of control theory which looks at the extent to which individuals believe they have power or control over what happens to them.

In this video I share a little more about this and how we can apply it more consciously to current times. WATCH VIDEO HERE

Those with an internal locus of control tend to attribute what happens to them to their own skills, capabilities and reactions. Their internal narrative goes something like:

“I can make things happen”

“Who can I help today?”

“What can I do to feel better?”

These people are more resilient optimistic and healthy.

Those with an external locus of control tend to believe that they don’t have much control over what happens to them.  Their internal narrative echoes:

” What’s the point?”

“It’s too hard”

“People can’t be trusted”

These people are more likely to become depressed, experience ongoing relationship problems and be immunocompromised.

While we are facing very challenging and testing times, I believe these are times of great opportunities for making conscious decisions about how we chose to live our lives. These are also times about owning who we are and what is within our power to change or make a difference, however small.

How can you become a more empowered agent in your own life, right now? 

The following questions are designed to help steer you in this direction. Take the time to go through these questions, staying present as you read them and trusting the answers that come:

  • What will help you feel more creative, inspired or hopeful?
  • Do you need to put down boundaries in relationships?
  • What is really important to you right now? What do you value right now?
  • Have you slowed down the pace of your life? What are you appreciating about it? If not, how can you slow your pace of life?
  • Are you finding new ways to connect with others?
  • Is this an opportunity to show patience, grace or selflessness in your relationships?
  • Most importantly, can you be more compassionate to your own needs? What can you do differently to honour yourself and your needs at this time?

I’m certain we are all being given opportunities to live our lives differently. More consciously, more openly yet more grounded than ever before in who we are.

If you’re interested in learning how to navigate the world of emotions, I have released a brand new self-guided course called Master Your Emotions Activate Your Brilliance . For information about the course, CLICK HERE.

Keeping your perspective during challenging times

Our emotional and physical health can be highly affected during challenging times. Whether it’s keeping up with social distancing, overwhelming feelings from media overload or learning to live with family 24/7, are all situations that can make us feel like we are going to ‘lose the plot’.

One way to bring calm or balance back into our lives is through maintaining our perspective on a situation. We can do this by choosing to acknowledge the challenge and what we may be needing to learn from it. This will help us look at the bigger picture.

This week I’ve recorded this video for you which explains four ways to help you keep your perspective.

1. Acknowledge

When we are going through changes or uncertainty, we need to acknowledge how we feel about it. Acknowledge the situation, name it and own it. How are you feeling right now? Say it out aloud! Name all of the emotions you have trapped inside your body, own it but let yourself feel it.

Often times we try and keep a facade of “I’m ok” because we think we have to be strong for everyone. In fact, this can only happen if you are honest with yourself about how you are going and what you need. Only then can you be more emotionally and physically available to others.

2. What’s working?

Look at what is working in your life. Gratitude is one way that can help us change our perspective from focusing on the problem to looking at the bigger picture. A friend of mine has started a gratitude poster where everyone in the family writes down one thing every day that they are grateful for. They’ve seen a significant shift in the energy of the house simply by focusing on what’s working for them right now. Try and incorporate a ritual gratitude into your daily life.

3. Focus on your purpose

What do you do well? Are you doing it? If not, find a way to be on more aligned with what comes naturally to you. Embrace your strengths and be creative about how you can bring them to life. For example, if you used to love coaching and mentoring people at work but find that people are not accessing you as much or seeking your support because you are all  working from home now, then reach out and make contact to see how they are going and ask if you can offer support to them.

4. Envision the future

What do you want to see change or happen after you emerge from isolation or social distancing? How would you ideally want things to be different in the world or your community? What can you do, on an individual level to start effecting change?

Start by choosing to look and accept both the difficult and the good that comes with our current situation. When we continue to develop our capacity for opposites, we  tend to experience more peace, ease and balance in our lives.   When we are more balanced, we can better effect change.

In my video I recommend the book “Man Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl. I think it’s great content to read during self-isolation and I love this quote from his book:

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

We can’t change the fact that we need to self-isolate or social distance to protect ourselves, our family and the greater community, but we can change the way we think, feel or sense. And this can help us connect on a deeper level to ourselves and others.

Quieten the Chaos

There is no doubt that this moment in time is a turning point, both globally and individually.

When everything around us is feeling out of control and chaotic, how can you quieten the storm within? The news is full of fear and uncertainty, peoples’ behaviour is questionable at best and buying groceries is a mammoth task.

This week I wanted to share my personal message for you in this video. I am thinking of you.

Now is the time to go internal, to quieten the noise around us and process what’s going on. I’ve been spending time being mindful of what serves me and what doesn’t. I encourage you to do the same – to be careful of what you allow into your space right now, as this is something that you can control.

How much media are you watching? Media uses emotionally laden language which can trigger us into polarised thinking. If you notice yourself doing this it means the reptilian part of the brain is driving your behaviour. ie Fight or flight. This heightened state of emotion is not healthy for sustained periods of time.

What kind of conversations are you having or listening in on?  Are these conversations uplifting and positive? Or do they serve to fuel the anxiety of what is happening?

This is not to say that we have to try and omit all negativity from our lives entirely. We still need to process and embody our emotions so that we can learn how to experience, feel and express our emotions in a regulated way. I have a great resource on this topic that I will upload to my website soon.

With this in mind, here are a few practical tips on making it through these challenging times with a renewed sense of purpose.

Find something you can ground yourself in

Getting out in nature is a beautiful way to ground yourself. A brisk walk around the block will help with a sense of perspective. Also finding something you believe in that will give you hope such as faith, religion, prayer or meditation.

Channel the anxiety

In time of unknown, channel some of your anxiety/stress into creating a positive change. This week I cleaned out our home office to make it more conducive for our kids’ home learning.

Practise acceptance

Yes, these are challenging times for us all, but accepting the situation will allow us to let go of the stuff that just does not serve us. It doesn’t mean that we have to agree with what is happening! But acceptance creates more space for ourselves, so we can more easily start to feel more at peace, or create that sense of peace.

Focus on your emotions

Right now there is a greater need for processing, grounding and clearing our emotional highways. We be even more conscious of practising meditation, breath work, writing, movement or whatever it is that helps us feel and shift our emotions.

Use the situation to set new intentions

Now is a powerful time for setting intentions. It can give you perspective into what is important in your life, what matters and how you wish to see the future.

There is a lot for us to process and many other people in our lives are feeling the same way. Give yourself the space and time. Your future self will thank you for it.