How To Gain Control When You Feel Like Your Life Is Out Of Your Control

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This last week my life unexpectedly took a turn and I felt like my life was out of my control. My daughter was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. Sometimes life throws us a curve ball that we may not have been counting on. Maybe there is a sudden shift in your job situation, you have a falling out with a friend who has been a great support for you, or maybe you get an unexpected phone call that catches you totally off guard.

In this instance, I had my 16 year old who could not communicate with me so that I could truly understand. I’ve had pneumonia so I know the pain, and I still had a hard time truly grasping the magnitude of the situation. This brings me to wonder how can a person really gain a sense of control when something unforeseen happens. Thankfully my daughter is now home and feeling so much better! So, when in a situation that feels unmanageable or you feel helpless, here are some ways I came up with to gain some control within myself.

How To Gain Control

Breathe                           breathe

First, I reminded myself that even though it seems I don’t have control, I did have full control of myself and how I handled the situation. To help me with this, I took a few good deep breaths (like I’m always telling my kids and clients to do), and I brought myself back to the present moment. I couldn’t predict the future, so it was no use ruminating over what was going to happen. In this moment I knew I could help my daughter express to the doctor what she was experiencing, and the medical treatment she received thus far, and be a calm presence and support for her.

Stick to the Facts

Secondly, by being able to stick to the facts, I could focus on the here and now. I was also able to provide the emotional support my daughter needed. When you can take the emotional piece out of the difficult situation and focus on what is actually happening, it helps to decrease your anxiety. Often times it is our emotions that overtake us and cause anxiety. So, if you could remember to stick to the facts, you’ll be in a better emotional space to provide the support to the person you are with.

Get Support   get-support

Lastly, I was able to reach out for support. The important thing here is not to wait until you are in a crisis or emergency situation to make sure you have a good support network. Utilize your friends and family, and let them know they are part of your support network if you need to. It is often in times of crisis that we reach out to those we would like to get support from, but haven’t communicated this to that person or group of people. Sometimes people think “well I’m weak if I need support.” Quite the opposite! Having a good support network at all times helps provide you with a feeling of comfort, reassurance, and allows you to reciprocate and provide support to others as well.

If you are feeling that you are in need of support or are interested in seeking therapy, please feel free to contact me. I’d love to help you grow your support network and begin on your journey to live an authentic life!

12 replies added

  1. Danielle February 4, 2017 Reply

    Great tips! I take a few deep breaths when things are spiraling out of control and it seems to help me calm down.

  2. Natasha February 4, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for sharing! These are definitely very useful steps! I suffer from anxiety and I know how important every step is!

  3. Lianne February 4, 2017 Reply

    Scary situation! Thankfully she’s better now. I find that in crisis situations, I tend to stay calm, while in normal situations I can totally freak over the smallest things. Maybe I should think of your tips when I’m freaking out about a not-working computer 🙂

    • norine@engagetherapy.com February 5, 2017 Reply

      That’s interesting, Lianne! It’s funny that it is often the small stuff we freak out over 🙂

  4. Margaret February 5, 2017 Reply

    This is a great post, and are things that I think are relevant to everyone’s lives. It is hard to be in control when you feel like your life is spinning out, but you made good suggestions on ways to combat the stressors of feeling our of control.

  5. Shevy February 21, 2017 Reply

    Wow as a parent it must have been hard to cope with this situation with your daughter. However thank God she is recuperating well. Sticking to the facts is very important. I have been in that place before a few years ago when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. It’s amazing how we get the strength to keep going even when we don’t know where it will come from. Thank goodness for supportive friends and family as well. Keep strong. Wish your daughter a speedy recovery and continue being there for her.

    • norine@engagetherapy.com February 21, 2017 Reply

      Thanks, Shevy! It sounds like you have been in that place too. I hope your mom is doing well. I’m glad you found this helpful for you!

  6. Tendai February 21, 2017 Reply

    Nice and short. Great points too 🙂

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