“Destiny is as destiny does. If you believe you have no control, then you have no control”.
We have all experienced that horrible feeling of being out of control. We can feel overwhelmed, defeated, useless and when a problem (or problems) seems so big, we just don’t know where to start. When this happens we can start to hear all the self-defeating language that we often engage in and constant worry seems to plague us night and day.
But, the more we feel that we can shape and influence what is happening around us, the more likely we feel that we can make a difference and achieve what is necessary.
Studies tell us that the less people feel they are in control, the more stress they will feel.
We have to ask ourselves the question…. Do we believe we have sufficient control over the factors that influence our behaviour and our performance for us to believe we are capable of achieving what we set out to achieve?
Do you believe your success is up to you and your attitude toward the task? Or do you believe someone or something else has that control? Do you believe that you have control over your emotions, or do you feel that your emotions are driven by another person or the situation you find yourself in?
So what steps can you take toward getting back in control and move from being a “worrier to a warrier”?
1)Recognise what is within your control and what isn’t.
There’s an old Chinese proverb that says: “If you have a problem and you can control it, then you don’t have a problem. If you have a problem and you can’t control it, then you also don’t have a problem.”
Think about undertaking a simple exercise. Draw two circles, one within the other. In the outer circle, write down all the things which you have no control over, or you cannot change about the issue. Now in the inner circle, write down all the things that are within your control, or you do have the control to influence. Now consider…. Where are you spending most of your time when worrying and thinking….. in the inner circle or the outer circle? Which would be more productive?
2) Take one step forward
Now that you have recognised the things you can control that are within your inner circle, choose one issue to work on. Break this issue into parts and start problem solving and listing all the various options you have for resolution to this issue.
Go Wild – think of all the options that are within your arsenal to manage this issue. Now consider the best options out of your brainstorming and write a goal for yourself. What is it that you want to achieve?
Remember, a goal is just a dream until you write it down.
3) Manage Your Procrastination
There are some very common reasons why many of us procrastinate including:
Poor time management – we are unable to prioritise or we feel uncertain of the priorities.
Difficulty concentrating - too many distractions, or we are bored.
Fear & anxiety – We may have a fear of failure, and/or success.
Personal problems - financial problems, family issues, etc.
Perfectionism - unrealistic expectations of ourselves.
Dislike the task – make out the task is not really that important.
Negative beliefs – we lack confidence in our abilities; feel overwhelmed by the task/tasks, or have difficulty dealing with setbacks.
Ask yourself if you recognise the reason for your procrastination and how could you take proactive steps to manage the reason rather than the procrastination itself.
4) Frankie says “Relax”
Often when we feel overwhelmed, the thoughts we have can trigger our fight/flight response and we can trigger a number of physiological symptoms of anxiety. So try one or both of these exercises.
4 Square breathing – breathe in for a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 4, breathe out to a count of 4 and then hold for 4. Repeat 4 times.
Or try this relaxation exercise. Sit comfortably with a straight back. Tell yourself that you are going to give yourself an opportunity to relax. Slow your breathing and allow a few moments to let muscles relax. With your arms down by your side, make a tight fist with your right hand. You should feel your arm muscles tighten. Hold it for 10 seconds. Release the fist and feel the tension drain away (wait for 15 seconds). Repeat this with your left hand, making a fist and holding it for 10 seconds. Release the fist and feel the tension drain away (wait for 15 seconds).
I always get this song (Peanut Butter Jelly) stuck in my head whenever I think about visualisation – gets me groovin’ every time too. And when I run training sessions, I ask people to get up and have a groove – take a look and listen to the song if you need a pick me up and I dare you not to groove along. See if this song can cement in your head as a way to remember the importance of visualisation.
Basically if you visualise yourself doing a task and achieving the outcome you want to achieve, you also can start visualising the steps that go in to the achievement of this task. So “seeing is believing”.
Want to know more about getting in control and developing your Mental Toughness? If so, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner. Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing.