PhD Self-Care Project: The Need for Control

I wouldn’t say I was a ‘control freak’, per se, but I do like the security of feeling that I have most things not only under control, but in control. I think most of us enjoy some level of control in our lives. Sadly, that isn’t the case. As a psychology researcher, I am very aware of how our brains are wired this way to protect us and keep us safe. It likes predictability, patterns, and control. Still, I can’t control a lot of things and this is something that I’ve really had to work on. Getting stuck by worrying about things I cannot change or control only leaves me anxious and upset, and that is not in alignment with my commitment to better self-care.

I know that I am not alone in this. I have a couple of friends who’ve recently expressed feeling very down about work lately. They discuss the many details about their job that’s currently making it very difficult to feel happy. The problem is, some of the central things about the issue are out of their control. There are some aspects about the job that they cannot change or control for the time being.

What was very helpful for me was that they both recognised the aspects that they couldn’t change. What’s even better is that, after recognising that fact, they also gained some perspective and found that what they can do is actually manage their perceptions and even their mindset of the problem. This all sounds rather vague still, but it is truly something I need to work on in my own life. I’ll find out how to approach this and get back to you all on a future post.

What can I do to improve my feelings and / or my behavior when I am feeling paralysed by things that I cannot control?

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