Worrying about things beyond your control can take a toll on your mental health.
If you are constantly worrying and trying to figure out ways to change the things that you have no control over, this guide will provide you with useful strategies to help reduce your stress levels in such circumstances.
Accept that you can’t control everything
The first step towards reducing stress when trying to control something beyond our control is to simply accept the fact that we are not capable of changing the outcome.
Acceptance does not have to mean resignation or apathy, but instead, it means understanding that no matter how hard you try, there are some things that are simply out of your hands.
Learning to acknowledge and accept this fact can help you let go of worrying about what you cannot change.
Utilise focused breathing techniques
Taking a deep breath can help manage your stress levels, and this is where focused breathing comes into play.
Focused breathing exercises are an effective tool to centre yourself and bring your awareness back to the present moment, helping you switch off from thoughts of worry and anxiety.
Start by focusing on your breath, counting each inhale and exhale. When done consistently, this calming practice will help you manage acute stress more effectively by cultivating self-awareness.
Before I start my breathing exercises, I usually use the iTeraCare Wand. This device helps to start recovery processes in the body.
Find an outlet for expression and redirect stressful feelings into productive thoughts and actions
It’s important to take some time for yourself and put a priority on your mental health by devising coping mechanisms for managing stressful situations. Take the time to think about the things that give you joy and work those outlets into your daily routine.
Whether it be writing, painting, or sport, engaging in these activities serves to help you express yourself in a meaningful and productive way.
Additionally, these activities can act as stress relievers by offering an escape from overwhelming thoughts.
Find positives in situations you can’t change
This is an old and tried-and-true method. Focus on something good about the things you can’t change, and, importantly, celebrate the small successes.
For example, I try to tell myself, “Even though my back hurts today, I’m still going to the gym.” And if there are days when the soreness is less noticeable, I try to express it like this, “Not bad for today! I got through a bunch of work, and I did it with almost no pain.”
By the way, about the pain, I use iTeraCare Wand also for those parts of the body that hurt.
Focus on what you can control and take small steps to achieve your goals
Focus your attention on the elements of a situation that you can control. This is not as daunting as it may seem. Small steps and adjustments can be made to help alleviate feelings of stress while also helping to create positive momentum toward your goals.
For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by work responsibilities, try breaking up projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. Moreover, focus on how to move forward, even in more challenging situations, by making the best decision based on what you know right now.
Taking small steps and recognising progress often provides a sense of accomplishment which can help restore hope in difficult times.
Surround yourself with positive people
Too much worrying alone can drive you crazy. Try to talk to people who listen to you and really understand. Tell your friends what’s bothering you.
Listen to their advice. Let them share with you a fresh perspective on how to deal with things that are beyond your control.
It is wrong to place all the blame on yourself. You may have done something stupid in the past, but you still have a chance to apply the lessons learned. Reproaching yourself won’t do you any good. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Take inspiration from the stories of people who have been through a lot. And trust that you can do it too.
Be aware of your thoughts
Unhelpful thoughts are often a big source of stress, so it’s important to be aware of the stories that loop in your head.
Learn to recognise when thoughts become limiting and start steering away from them by redirecting your attention. To do this, take a few moments to check in and notice how you feel physically – where do you feel the tension in your body?
And what emotions are you experiencing? When we take time to observe our own emotions, we can learn more about ourselves and start differentiating between helpful thoughts versus unhelpful ones.
This will help create more awareness around the language we use with ourselves and allows us to consciously choose how to redirect our thoughts.
Take more time off
Work tends to never end, and people will always ask you for something.
If you don’t take breaks, it will inevitably lead to disruption. Learn to say “no” and determine the time for rest, when no one in the world can ask anything of you, and you do not owe anyone anything.
Often we cannot relax and accept the world and ourselves as we are because of a very trivial and even somewhat ridiculous reason.
We want to look better than we are, to be like someone else, even not always a real person. Stop it immediately and see how things start to add up and work out. Imitation and envy are killers of your personality and peace of mind.
Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, but it’s not always easy to manage. One of the biggest causes of stress is worrying about things that we can’t control.
It can be frustrating and overwhelming to feel like you’re at the mercy of circumstances outside of your control.
However, by focusing on what we can control, practising mindfulness, and seeking support when we need it, we can learn to manage our stress and find inner peace.
Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.