Taking control of your life can seem impossible when your environment feels chaotic. When you are stressed to the max, it is important to re-focus. Bring the focus of most of your attention back to what is manageable. Here’s how…
When your life feels out of your control, you can have symptoms of depression, like helplessness and hopelessness. What is the opposite of helpless and hopeless? How about capable and hopeful. That’s your goal, to feel capable and optimistic.
Helplessness often results from attempting to change what you cannot change. Let’s look at some specific examples and see how you can change from feeling helpless to feeling in control and capable.
Life situation #1: You feel helpless about your child’s behavior. Instead of dwelling on the problem, ask yourself “What CAN I do to be helpful?” Brainstorm ideas with a friend, if you can. Ideas might include having a frank conversation in which you share your concerns, beginning sentences with, “I’m concerned…” not “You do this or that.” Enlist help, bring in outside resources, if needed.
Life situation #2: Your significant other has left and/or you are still wounded from a divorce. Ask yourself, “What CAN I do?” Re-focus on yourself. This is the time to set a goal and move toward accomplishing it. For example, after my divorce in 2002, I decided to go back to school. Ask yourself, “What do I want to do?” Then, do it.
Life situation #3: You feel stuck. Each day melts into the next and nothing feels meaningful or interesting. This is the time to look around and notice people who seem fulfilled. The athletes overcoming struggles to get to the Olympics are inspiring, for example. What would it take to motivate you to accomplish a goal? Shake up your routine and schedule time to work on a goal. Go for it!
If change feels overwhelming, talk to a friend who will encourage you. Who in your life is a positive thinker? Give them a call. Once you take one step, the next step is easier. One step at a time. You can do it.
Focus on what YOU want to do. Go for it!