If you want real control, drop the illusion of control. Let life live you. It does anyway – Byron Katie
As a self-confessed ‘control freak’, if I had my way I would like to control everything in my life. As an example, I remember having planned a perfect beach day with a picnic and everything and thought it would be a lovely way to spend a Sunday with friends. When the weather was overcast and a little windy and my friends were running late I was furious and upset. Looking back, it saddens me that I was unable to enjoy the day with my friends, accept that they may have been held up as I was too fixated on what was not going according to my plan. Not only is this exhausting it prevents me from living in the moment as well as creating unnecessary stress when things don’t go my way.
Obviously, I can’t control most things such as the weather, or other people’s actions, however, I have come to realise that there are some things that I can control.
9 Surprising Things You Can Take Under Control Immediately
1. Your Self-Talk
Most of us are not even aware of our own self-talk until we make a conscious effort to start paying attention to it. Often our thoughts come from decisions that we have made in the past and they still linger in the present having a hold over us. You have the power and can control your thoughts, the way you speak to yourself and about yourself in a nice and kind manner.
2. How Often You Smile
According to Charles Darwin’s ‘Facial Feedback Response Theory’ even if you don’t feel like smiling, the fake it until you make it approach works as the mere act of smiling will make you feel better.
Smiling has been linked to reducing stress hormone levels such as dopamine, adrenaline and cortisol. You can control how often, where, and when you smile.
3. A Number of Times you Are Thankful
There is this book that I’ve read ‘365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life’, which got me thinking about how I express gratitude to those around me. The way this author expressed his gratitude was by writing personalised ‘Thank-you Notes’ to people in his life who had helped him when things were not going so well. What I discovered when I started writing thank you notes was that it made me feel better because I was able to sincerely express my gratitude and thanks to the person who had done something special to me and also they got a kick out of receiving a personalised letter in the mail (which in turn then made me unexpectedly feel good).
As there were days when I had no letters to write, I started a gratitude journal which also helped me appreciate some of my own qualities. The best time for me to do my gratitude journal is just before going to sleep as it helps me finish the day off on a good note.
4. What You Eat
We all know which foods are considered to be healthy and which foods we perhaps need to avoid. Eating well is not just about our weight, it is about feeding our mind. When you fuel your body with nourishing real food (as opposed to processed food) you naturally feel better. I need to be prepared with what I am going to eat throughout the day otherwise I can end up making choices that don’t make me feel good about myself.
5. How Much Sleep You Get
We all know how much better we feel after a good night sleep and the negative impact it has on our life when we don’t get quality sleep. For those who struggle getting to sleep or staying asleep there are a few basic tips that are within your control:
- Limit the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume
- Avoid late meals
- Establishing a sleep routine/schedule
6. Your Level of Physical Activity
When you eat well, you are able to sleep better. With a good night’s rest combined with sensible eating habits, your energy levels will be optimised enabling you to have more motivation and stamina to exercise. Even half an hour a day of exercise such as walking will help you feel better.
Personally, I prefer to exercise in the morning as it sets me up for feeling great throughout the day.
7. Your Own Behaviour
In order to be in control of your behaviour, one must be aware of his actions and reactions. Once you have developed a sense of awareness, you will be able to better control your emotions i.e. your actions and reactions.
When something happens, you can control how you immediately react towards that person or situation and how you subsequently behave in the future.
One of my pets passionately hates to be stuck in traffic so I have practised sending all the driver love and patience! When you come from a genuine place of kindness, you will find that you will attract kindness in your life.
8. Living in the Moment
It is very easy to get caught up living either in the past or in the future, however, when we do this, we are missing out on appreciating and living in the present.
“Monkey Mind” is the term the Buddhists refer to when we are not living in the moment as our mind goes from one thought to another – just like monkeys swinging from tree to tree. When we become more aware, we understand that we are not our thoughts; rather we turn into observers of our thoughts from moment to moment stripping them off any judgement.
9. Expectations You Have on Yourself and Others
As a natural overachiever, I expect a lot from myself and from my friends. Due to the pain of having unnecessary and unrealistic expectations of myself and others, I have been forced to change my thoughts around this.
Rather than saying ‘have to’ I have shifted to ‘choose to’ or ‘would like to’, I have realised that you are able to shift your way of thinking from ‘shoulds’ to ‘wants’ this automatically helps you let go of your expectations of how others should behave and how you ‘should’ be. This shift will help prevent you from feeling frustrated, disappointed and angry and there is no one letting you down and it will also help you live and be in the moment.
Let’s start living in the moment focusing on the things we can control in your life!