Am I Really in Control?

In Control

Do you feel stressed and anxious because your life seems out of your control? Believing that you are ever really in control of your life is a fantasy. There’s only ever one thing in life that can you control, that’s you and that’s enough.

We often measure wellbeing against how “in control” we feel. That’s fine as long as we remember that the only thing we can really control is ourselves.

When life is peaceful, predictable, and going along nicely it’s relatively easy to be in control of your thoughts and emotions. But it doesn’t take much for that control to jump right out the window. The pandemic is one of those things that has thrown many people off course. The impact of other people, illness, or maybe even your own ambitions can throw your control of yourself off course.

Your Time is so Precious

Your time is the most precious thing you have. Without time you have nothing else. So why would you waste any of it stressing out about things that you have no control over?

The idea that your stress levels and emotions are the direct result of your thoughts, is relatively new. It’s easy to blame situations and other people for your emotions. You may even think it’s justified. But by taking responsibility for your thoughts and the emotional results of those thoughts, you’ll have so much more control over your life.

Knowing that upsetting yourself with things outside of your control is unwise, is one thing. Being able to manage your thoughts so that you aren’t upset is another.

Take Responsibility for your Thoughts

Taking responsibility for your thoughts is the first step to increasing the control you have over yourself. The next step is even more challenging because it requires consistent work. Work that ultimately only you can do.

Decide which thoughts serve you and will get you where you want to go. Hang onto those thoughts tightly. Put them up on post-it notes around your workspace or on your fridge. This is evidence that you can use to create more positive thoughts.

You may be surprised when you start observing your thoughts. They’re likely to be far more negative and critical than you expected. Sometimes you’ll want to give into them. But what will help you take control of your life is to challenge them. Challenge them with thoughts that are believable. You probably won’t be able to believe that you’re amazing at something. And there will always be people that are better than you. But you can believe that you’re good enough.

What if I’m Not Good Enough?

This is the underlying thought that undoes so many people. Don’t let it undo you. It’s a thought that won’t serve you. Keep reminding yourself that you are good enough. Keep reading your post-it notes, with all your evidence displayed right where you’ll see it. But if the thought persists, at some point, you’ll need to confront it if you want to have as much control over your life as you can.

Of course you’re good enough, everybody is. And good enough for what anyway? This thought is probably coming up for you in just one or two areas of your life. Take some time to evaluate the thought. Imagine an old-fashioned set of scales. Put this thought on one side and all the evidence you have to the contrary on the other side.

If your scales continue to tilt towards the side of “I’m not good enough,” then re-evaluate what you’re trying to do. Ask people who you trust what they think to make sure that your perception is valid. Maybe there are things you could do that would increase your confidence in yourself? Ultimately there’s no point pushing ahead with something that you have a strong underlying belief can’t work.

Pushing Forward with your Best Thoughts

The scales are a great visual reminder of what’s true for you. Maybe with more information it will no longer be true. That doesn’t matter. That’s something for the future.

Right now, if your scales tilt towards the positive evidence that you are good enough to do or have what you want, then align with your thoughts and get going. You can re-evaluate later and maybe change course if necessary. But right now, use your evidence to create more thoughts that put you in control of whatever you’re trying to achieve. If not consider one of our life-changing courses.

Life-Changing Courses from Choice Theory Online

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How Do You Deal With Anxiety and Depression?

You Can't Feel Good When You Think Bad

You Learn How to Deal Effectively With Stress

Yes, it’s actually that simple. Learn how to deal with stress effectively and you won’t have to deal with anxiety and depression.

But what if you’re already anxious and depressed?

It’s not too late! Learning how to deal with stress will hugely improve your depression and anxiety. Sign up now for our quick stress quiz to see how well you’re doing that right now. This gives you are starting point so you can see what you need to work on.

… Things That Will Help

Don’t Do Things You Hate If You Can Help It

In fact, don’t do anything you don’t want to do. Find another way, negotiate, teach yourself to enjoy whatever it is, compromise if you must, but don’t keep doing something that you really don’t want to do. It’s very stressful.

Get Some Decent Shut-Eye ….Preferably Without Pills

When I hated my job and I was dealing with anxiety and depression I didn’t sleep well. Sometimes I didn’t sleep at all. Not sleeping at all is dangerous. So is regularly not getting enough sleep. It can lead to all sorts of problems.

When you have buffalo running around in your head and you can’t shut them down.  Sometimes the only way to get any sleep is to take some meds. But there are downsides… they can give you a weird sleep, make you drowsy the next day and give you a dry mouth the next morning. They are also addictive. Use sleeping pills sparingly and learn some alternative strategies asap.

  • Keep your bedroom cool and as dark as possible
  • Don’t work late into the night. Put work away at least an hour before bedtime
  • Say goodbye to coffee after lunch
  • Reduce your alcohol use. It might help you crash at times but it also causes you to wake-up. Alcohol is a depressant so it just adds to depression and anxiety in the end
  • Set a routine for going to sleep and waking up
  • Stay away from computer screens before bed. If you must use screens at night use f.lux to adjust your screen for night use. It’s a free download
  • Relax your body, focus on your breathing and try to clear your head
  • … if that doesn’t work, get up and do something relaxing
  • If you have problems that are keeping you awake get up and write everything out. Including solutions

Learn to Manage Your Thoughts

You Can't Feel Good When You Think Bad

Your thoughts have a direct impact on the way you feel. You can’t feel good when you think bad.

Don’t allow thoughts that make you feel angry, sad, depressed or anxious.

Change negative thoughts to thoughts that are kinder and more positive. “I have no friends I’m a loser” can easily change to “I’m grateful for the people in my life. I’ll reach out and work on making new friends.” Ask someone you trust for their ideas. They will see you much more positively.

If the negative thoughts keep coming, distract yourself by doing something that you love and that needs your focus.

Some gentle exercise every day will give you lots of helpful hormones. No excuses …Do It!!

Don’t Sweat What You Can’t Control

You can only control yourself. You will cause yourself a lot of unnecessary anxiety and depression by resisting things you can’t control or aren’t ready to.  There is huge peace in accepting what is. You can still work to change what you’re doing. But you will be so much happier if you work towards change from a point of acceptance rather than resistance.

Is there anything in your life that you’re resisting and which is causing you to suffer as a result?

As always if you have any questions, comments, or feedback I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Your comments help others. 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 again


PS: If you haven’t already completed the Stress Quiz give it a go. It really will give you a great idea of where you need to start getting on top of your anxiety and depression.

Free Stress Test – Really Quick!

Free Stress Quiz

Free Stress QuizHow Well You Do You Handle Stress and Anxiety?

There is a wide variance in the way that people handle. At one end of the scale are people who thrive on stress and actively seek it out. Extreme sportspeople and people who work in high-stress environments are just a couple of examples.

At the other end of the scale, there are the people who will do everything they can to avoid stress in their lives. The rest of us fit somewhere in between.

So stress isn’t inherently bad. Even though when you’re feeling overstressed it can feel very bad.

What’s important is how you manage the stress in your life and why you are in fact creating it.

Why Is Managing Stress Well So Important?

How you manage stress and anxiety is an important key to unlocking your potential. Do it well and you can grow to the point where you operate in your “zone”.

This “zone” of perfect stress is also known as being in a state of “eustress” and is the state that top achievers aim for. In this state you optimise your productivity, your output feels effortless, everything just works.

If you don’t learn to manage stress properly you will soothe yourself with different behaviours. Some of these behaviours are positive; like mindfulness, gentle exercise and doing activities that bring you joy. We call this stress first aid, they are helpful, but they don’t address the underlying causes of stress and anxiety.

You may also choose destructive behaviours like drinking alcohol for stress relief, overeating, gambling etc. The video below shows how this works.

Make An Investment In Yourself Today!

You can learn everything you can about stress and anxiety but in the end, to change how you feel, to feel better, you will have to take some positive action. You have the chance right now to take a quick five-minute quiz and start a journey that could change your life!

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 again


Online Stress Management – 50% SPECIAL BECAUSE YOU’RE SPECIAL

Deal with Stress & Anxiety Effectively

Deal with Stress & Anxiety EffectivelyI originally wrote this post for the solstice and because of the difficult times but it seems that there is a demand for this course at this price that has gone beyond the solstice. So I’m extending it as a special gift and thank you for taking the time to visit this blog. As a writer having an audience is important and I’m a writer, not a You Tuber or podcaster so if you will keep reading I’ll keep writing.

By all accounts, people continue to suffer from unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety. We know the material that Jeff uses with his counselling clients works and so we know that our course How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively will work to put you into the healthy stress zone that we call Eustress.  This is the “zone” that top-performing athletes find when they are giving their very best.

This course is different from any other Stress and Anxiety Course we know of. It’s also different from most counselling therapy that you may have had. Here’s why: –

  • It goes further than simply advising you on how to reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety, it gives you a solid plan for tackling the underlying causes of your specific stress and anxiety.
  • You will not have to dredge up your past. You are feeling anxious and stressed in the present and that’s where it’s most beneficial to deal with it.

This short video explains the difference between stress first aid and really getting to the bottom of your stress and anxiety once and for all.

Click here and let Jeff tell you all about it himself.

AND receive a 50% discount by entering the word SPECIAL into the coupon field.

This offer will give you 24/7 access to support material, videos and activities for less than half of the cost of just one counselling session.

PLUS you can contact Jeff via the course comments and he will reply asap (not 24/7 😊 )

PLUS a number of the modules deal with Choice Theory Basics. This is learning the basics of Choice Theory in a  nutshell, something most people spend days of face-to-face training doing. We have seen through Jeff’s offline work just how transformation applying this material is.

Give it a go, you will be very pleased that you did.

To your improved wellbeing 😊💐

Deb & Jeff


Deb and Jeff


Symptoms of Stress and Anxiety

flight response

symptoms of stress and anxietyThe physiological symptoms effects of stress and anxiety can be scary, especially if we don’t understand what’s happening to our body. By understanding what’s happening in our body when we’re stressed or anxious, and where it comes from, the effects are much less distressing. We realise that the physiological effects are perfectly normal and developed as survival mechanisms to keep us alive when we were under threat.

External Threats

The trouble is that our stress responses developed in relation to external threats. They developed to keep us safe from anything outside of ourselves likely to impact us and perhaps directly threaten our survival. In ancient times that might have been a wild animal, in modern times it could be a car coming towards us that we think might not stop, or an intruder in our home.

These kinds of threats trigger the primitive parts of our brain, which are responsible for our survival.  The modern parts of our brain, are much slower to react.  Our modern brain can analyse and plan but it is too slow to respond when there is an immediate threat. When we’re exposed to a serious and immediate threat the primitive brain takes over with the flight, fight response; that’s all it can do.


Flight/Fight Response

flight responseWe fight when our primitive brain thinks we can win, or we are cornered and have no choice.  We will flee when our primitive brain thinks that we can’t win. In reality, fight/ flight are the same thing, like a coin that you flip. Heads or tails are still the same coin. Do we deal with our problem by running away or by fighting? Whether we choose to flee or fight the physiology is the same and are the symptoms of stress and anxiety.


The symptoms we experience when we are severely stressed are not a sign that our body is collapsing under the weight of all the stress and anxiety, but a sign that our old brain is in charge and gearing up to deal with an external threat.

  • Rapid heart rate and breathing, (pounding heart and hyperventilating) – Our heart is pumping and we’re breathing more quickly and heavily,  helping to move nutrients and oxygen out to your major muscle groups.
  • Pale or  flushed skin, our blood flow is being redirected to where we need it most, so we might appear pale. Alternatively, we could appear flushed as blood and hormones circulate throughout our body.
  • Dilated pupils. pupils may dilate to take in more light so that we can see better.
  • Edginess, we will feel on edge because we are in a state of hyper-vigilance. Unfortunately, we see this with young children living in violent and abusive situations, they are always looking and listening for threats.
  • Confused thinking, occurs when we are operating from the older parts of our brain. This symptom is particularly upsetting for people who are stressed at work because their performance drops which make them even more anxious, stressed, and lacking in confidence.  Memory can be affected in order to protect us from, particularly disturbing events.
  • Tenseness or trembling. When Stress hormones are circulating throughout our body, we might feel tense or twitchy, like our muscles are about to move at any given moment.
  • Nausea and inability to eat. Under threat, our body winds back or switches off the digestive stem because it uses a lot of energy.  The blood supply to our stomach is reduced, reducing our appetite and leaving us with an empty, hollow squirming feeling.

Any of these symptoms can be disturbing and increase our stress and anxiety even further if we don’t understand them. The only thing that is actually wrong with us is that our body is treating our stress and anxiety as if it is an external threat rather than an internal one created by our fears and perceptions about what is going on around us.

If the threat was external, if we had to fight or flee from something, the physical activity and the sense of victory or relief would turn off the fight/fight response because our body would be flooded with endorphins and oxytocin. When the threats are internal we remain in a state of fight/flight.

Internal Threats

Internal Stress
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

When the threats in our life are internal, they are the result of our needs not being satisfactorily met. We all have five basic needs:  survival, love and belonging, freedom, fun, power. When those needs are under threat; when we can’t meet them or something is happening that might take them away, the primitive brain responds in the same way it would if we were under physical attack.  The primitive brain doesn’t know the difference between something that is internal or external and the only responses it has is to fight or to flee. The same physiological short-term effects or symptoms are triggered but we can’t run away from ourselves.

Long Term Effects of Stress

  • An enlarged heart, coronary heart disease, caused by continual overworking of the heart.
  • Muscle pain, tearing, or atrophy. In chronic stress, muscles may remain in a near-constant state of tension, which eventually leads to pain, tissue damage, and headaches. If we respond to this pain by reducing physical activity, muscles may begin to atrophy through lack of use, and obesity may develop with all its associated health impacts.
  • A Compromised immune system, due to our body being continually fired up to fight infection.
  • Poor brain function. “Pathological anxiety and chronic stress are associated with structural degeneration and impaired functioning of the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which may account for the increased risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and dementia,” said Dr. Linda Mah, clinician scientist with Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute.
  • Menstrual problems  and sexual dysfunction due to ongoing hormonal imbalances

The list above is in no way comprehensive. The long-term effects of stress on the body are so vast that they are outside the scope of this article. If you have concerns about your own health outcomes and how they may be linked to stress, you would be wise to research the particular condition you are suffering from.

Short Term and Long Term Stress Relievers

Most of the information available about stress relief deals with short-term stress relievers, such as mindfulness, meditation, exercise, diet etc. We call this stress first-aid and while it is useful in the overall management of stress it will generally only deal with the symptoms of stress and not the underlying causes. This short video clearly illustrates how important it is to understand what is actually causing our stress so that we can take action to address it.

Take Action

Deal with Stress & Anxiety Effectively
Online Stress and Anxiety Course

The cumulative effects of constant short term stress, which are not dealt with effectively, lead to serious and sometimes irreversible physiological changes. Our online course “How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively,”  helps you to further understand what those changes are, and begin the process of developing a tool kit to identify the early warning signals of distress. Dealt with early and effectively you can avoid the worst of the effects, and even if you already have long term effects, many of them are reversible with more effective behaviour.