Life feels out of control sometimes. We all have those times when things seem to be coming apart at the seams and there’s nothing we can do about it. Worry takes over and causes us to feel more out of control. We ruminate on past events, which we obviously can’t fix, and feel more and more out of control.
Worry and ruminating are attempts to control things that are not able to be controlled. Worry is an attempt to control the future. Ruminating is an attempt to control the past. Neither of them work – at all. We know the future isn’t here yet and the past has already happened. Yes, we know these things rationally. However, we still feel the need to do something about the out of control feelings we have. Feeling out of control is usually the product of being too focused on either the future or the past.
Worry magnifies the unknown and clouds the known. When we worry, the thing we are fearing becomes huge. It’s as if we believe if we focus on it long enough, there will be a different outcome. The truth is, I can do some things to modify the future outcome in some situations. Other things are simply beyond my control. How do I make sure I’m doing the best thing(s) to have a better outcome?
Focus on today. Reality is that even if things feel out of control, I can only act today. If I focus on right now, I can do the next right thing and let it be. If I focus my attention and energy on the present, the next right thing is a lot easier to see. Doing the next right thing in my present circumstance really is all I can do. Worrying about the future causes me to forsake the present and focus on a set of circumstances that are speculation, at best.
If I focus on right now, I can do the next right thing and let it be.
Regret, guilt, and shame are connected to the past. We may have made mistakes. All of us can see things we could have done differently to produce a better outcome. Based on today’s information, it is rather easy to see how we may have done things better yesterday.
Ruminating is being preoccupied with past events. This often leads to feelings of being out of control due to us now questioning our abilities to make decisions (regret), feeling bad for mistakes (guilt), or even questioning our value because of things we did wrong (shame). This focus on the past does a similar thing as worry. It takes our focus off of right now. Our attention is not in the present moment, so we judge everything from past events.
Getting Back in Control
When life feels out of control, try examining right now. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. What is the next right thing you can do? This takes worry out of the picture. It gets rid of ruminating too. Right now is what I can control. Focus on that.
Determine what is within your control. We can’t manage everything – nor should we want to! Some things simply aren’t for us to manage. Ask yourself what is your responsibility and what is not. Focus only on what is your responsibility. Leave everything else alone. It’s not yours to manage. Do the next right thing you can do and accept the outcome(s) as it is.
What things have helped you end your worry and ruminating and feelings of being out of control? Feel free to comment. We would love to hear from you!