If you are still trying to figure out how to deal with stress and anxiety effectively I have the single most important strategy. Ready? Here goes….
Focus On The One Thing You Can Control
The Only Thing You Can Control
There is only one thing in life that you can truly control and that is yourself. If you don’t believe me make a list of all the things and people that you think you can control. What you will find is that the people you think you have control over are actually choosing to co-operate with you. You might think you have control of your finances, but a pandemic, a bush fire, or a health emergency can upset that perceived control very quickly. You only have control over your car while you are driving it safely but even then someone could cross over into your lane and wipe you out.
I would have saved myself years of wasted effort if I had known this while I tried to control my ex-husband.
Are you wasting your precious time stressing out and becoming anxious over things that you have no control over? Even though you know logically that your upset and angst is not going to change a situation one iota, do you seem to believe that your response is justified and maybe even required?
Responding to a situation with excessive stress and anxiety does have some rewards. It may be a matter of principle for you. If you see injustice and violence you may have an underlying belief that requires you to be deeply affected because that is how you believe a good, righteous and caring person would respond. So you are behaving in line with your thoughts about yourself, even though those thoughts are causing you to feel awful emotionally, and maybe even physically.
Another payoff for your chosen behaviour, and yes, all behaviour is chosen, is the sympathy and attention you will elicit from people who care about you. You can even join groups on Facebook and have strangers engage with you sympathetically.
But I do Not Want to Feel Life This!!
Feelings do not occur in a vacuum. Feeling are created from behaviours and one of your most important behaviours is your thinking. All behaviours are chosen to meet one of the five basic needs, that everyone has to varying degrees: Survival, Love and Belonging, Fun, Freedom and Power (acknowledgement and achievement). The good news is that if you don’t like the way you are feeling, it is possible to change your behaviours and especially your thoughts.
Let’s Put it into Practice
So the question is: what is the primary need are you trying to meet by stressing and becoming anxious over something that you cannot control? Take the Pandemic for example.
If you are stressed out and anxious over the pandemic, it is possibly because your survival needs have been threatened. There is nothing you can do about the pandemic, but there are things you can do about your survival needs during a pandemic: –
- You could stay home as much as possible;
- You could maintain social distancing, wear a mask and hands when you are out;
- You can do everything you can to pandemic proof your finances;
- You can be vigilant over your thoughts to remain optimistic, peaceful and grateful for all that is still right in the world;
- You can maintain all your good physical health practices especially exercise because of the endorphins it produces.
It Is Enough
Only being able to control yourself in a great big world might not seem like much but it is plenty. Understanding what your biggest needs are and learning how best to meet them is the key to maintaining your wellbeing no matter what is going on around you. You may not be able to have everything you want but you can generally have everything that you need. There are so many different ways to meet your needs once you understand what they are.
Check out our course: How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively.
Thanks for reading 😊
As always if you have any questions, comments or feedback we would love to hear from you in the comments below. Your comments help others by your sharing and they also help this post to rank in Google where people can find it amongst all the online noise. So if this is something you think is valuable please take the time to leave a comment below before you go.
Thanks for this lovely article. I really needed to read something like this right now.
I’m trying to read this more often because my girlfriend has anxiety almost all the time haha. I know it’s not funny… But I’m really trying to figure out the way I can help her deal with it.
So thanks for your strategies. And that really make sense.
I’ll tell my girlfriend about that, and hopefully it’s going to be fine.
Thanks for your comment Warren,
It would be a good idea to download the needs profile in the sidebar so you could work out what is out of sync for your girlfriend.
Wonderful buddy and thank you very much for this lovely article. I needed to read something like this right now everyday.
I’m trying to read this more often because my by best friend and workmate has anxiety almost all the time at work. I know this will help her as I learn more about this information. I would like to share this with her as well as a way to help her deal with it. Thank you a lot for your strategies and for sure they really make a lot of sense.
That’s great 😀 get her to download the the needs profile from the side bar 👍🏻🤗
It’s a very strong but also very true statement that the only thing you can control is yourself. We have no control over certain situations and certainly not people, but we can control our own reactions to them … My ex was a very difficult person to deal with, due to his tough past which he vented on me. I tried to help him, but in the end there is just so much one can do, and as much as it pains me, I decided to step away months ago. I am not seeing him anymore, because I think that I cannot help him if he does not want this help. He has to come to that conclusion himself, and I have to live a life that has less stress and anxiety which was mostly caused by his unpredicatble behavior.
Not having enough money for food (which happened recently) is stressful and depressing for me, that’s the only situation where I struggle to control my reaction, but I am learning. At least, the financial situation got solved 🙂 If you have any tips on how to control your reaction to situations like lack of money, I would be grateful to learn them.
Thanks for being so open in your comment Christine. I appreciate it and I know it will help others. Food poverty is a hard thing to come to terms with but a lot of it driven by our thoughts. It brings up a lot of fear. I have never suffered from it but I know when I’ve had hard financial times my survival needs kicked into place and I had lots of worrying thoughts driven by my quality world picture that this shouldn’t be something I should be dealing with. In the developed world it is difficult to starve, there are lots of food support organisations that provide food and there are our gardens. Learning to eat econ
omically is also something that isn’t difficult. Very successful people have had time living from their cars and in poverty: JK Rowling and Lizzo just to name a few. The important thing is to hold onto the vision and work the areas that need work. I’m pleased your money situation eased and these tips are useful.
Hello there! this is an amazing review you have got here. I am sure this post will help others as it is helping me at the moment. My most interesting part of the article is the part that talked about understanding what your biggest needs are and learning how best to meet them. I have indeed learnt a lot.
What an excellent article. I suffer from C-PTSD since serving as a cop. PTSD is an anxiety order and reading this reminded me of some of the therapy I have been through. Recently I have had a relapse and this article has refocused me to take positive action and do something positive. Thank you.
Thank you Castle I hope you continue to improve :0
I have been feeling anxious and stressed during this pandemic. This is a hard time to deal with especially with the cabin fever. I think the article is sooooo honest and really makes you think and reflect on your life and meaning in the world. But as you said, you have no control over the pandemic, therefore control what you can. Your balance is important and this is post is so timely in my life.
Thank you so much for this!
Thanks Jasmay I’m glad it was helpful