I think it’s safe to say we’ve all felt ”out of control” most of the time within the past two plus years. We find it difficult to trust information, people, places, and things. Our families, our jobs, our friendships, even our own bodies have been operating outside of our control, creating all kinds of havoc and stress.
But the reality is, we are always ”out of control.” We live in a world that is constantly filled with unknown because people do the unexpected and painful, relationships end, illness happens, car accidents create more tragedy, new technology launches every other month. Our world is filled with constant change, which is another way for saying ”out of our control.”
The desire to feel in control has more to do with being grounded, boundary and limit setting (and management), than actually having control of outcomes. Yes, we want to know what’s coming, but that’s impossible. We only know what’s right in front of us, our reality, our present, our now.
So how do you find a sense of control? Grounding is a great start. Grounding is doing things that literally ground you and help you feel more connected to yourself and your environment. Having a clean and organized space can be a form of grounding. Taking deep breaths or stretching can help you feel more in tune with your body. Having a structured schedule can help you feel grounded with your time and the tasks you have for that day. Clarifying your wants and needs. Doing activities, or even thinking about them, that bring joy or pleasure. Engaging with a close friend or family member that causes you to feel seen and heard. Journalling, reading, or putting a puzzle together. I like to think that the things that help make you you, are the things that ground you in your authentic self, allowing you to go out and explore the world with confidence, rather than fear. Here are some grounding exercises you can do anywhere!
There is a warning, however, of false grounding- activities that cause us to believe we are more grounded than we are, when in actuality these activities only increase our anxieties and our feeling out of control. Constantly hitting ”refresh” on the news or social media outlets are a prime example of this. I remember hitting ”refresh” on the news website and Instagram every 2.3 seconds in March of 2020, trying to convince myself I needed to know what was going on in order to stay calm, when in reality it was only making me feel more out of control and way more anxious. There’s a strong statement that says, “knowledge is power,” which yes, does have some weight, but too much knowledge, too much information, is the opposite of grounding. What are you actually supposed to do with all that information you’re getting? It’s just too much. You’re letting yourself get carried away (also known as being out of control) by that information, posts, and ”news,” but not grounding to your authentic self.
Grounding can also be found in your boundaries. What is and is not okay, what you do and do not allow in your life. When we just let everything in, when we don’t filter out the bad and let in the good, we become very ”out of control” and allow our circumstances, anxieties, ”what if” spirals, become the ones driving the bus. You get to decide what kind of boundaries you hold with your body, your time, your relationships, your thoughts, your responses to your emotions, your energy, your focus, what voices you’re listening to, how you teach others to treat you, and many more areas. You are in control of you. Always.
So when you are feeling out of control, ask yourself- what area of my life can I become more grounded? Where do I need to set or maintain firmer boundaries? For more on boundaries, I highly recommend this book.
Your external circumstances will always be outside of your control. But finding ways to gain back a sense of control in these areas (there are a lot more areas to find control) might be a helpful way to start.
I help clients find ways of gaining control back in their lives. Contact me for more information!