When the world around you is chaotic and when you feel like you are losing control, switching up your locus of control is a quick way to tame the anxiety and get back to feeling confident. Unless you give your power away, only you get to control you feel.
Your locus of control is the “who” that you’re giving your power to.
Your locus of control is the “who” that you’re giving your power to. Are you allowing the outside world to control your thoughts and feelings? Or are you controlling them from the inside?
It’s an important question because if you are giving your power to the world around you, your feelings are going to depend on what everyone else is doing and feeling: If they feel happy, you’ll feel happy. If they are feeling anxious, you’ll also feel anxious. This can make anyone feel out of control, hopeless and uncertain.
Unless you choose to give your power away, only you get to control how you feel.
This is especially important when the outside world is in a panic, like when we’re in the middle of a disease outbreak, when there’s talk of war, and when the world is focusing on fear rather than love.
There is Always Going to be Contrast
Turn on the news, there is always something going on that you cannot control. If you choose to focus on it, it’s going to get to you. But if you choose to focus on what you can control—like your own thoughts, feelings, what you do with your time and what you expose yourself to—you will feel confident, empowered and positive.
The Two Critical Questions
There are two questions you can ask yourself whenever you catch yourself feeling lost, uncertain, fearful or hopeless:
- What is good?
- What can I control?
These two questions will bring you back to center and give you back the power over your own reality.
What is Good?
What is good about you? What strengths, skills and attributes do you possess that you feel good about? What do you know about yourself that is positive and true?
What is good about this situation? Even in the worst of times, there is always a silver lining if you’re willing to look for it. Maybe this is going to make you stronger, or bring you closer to someone you love. Perhaps this is going to open the door to a new opportunity or teach you a skill you didn’t have before.
What Can You control?
You cannot control the events of the world, what other people do or say or the thoughts and feelings they have. But you can always control your own thoughts, the way you behave and what you give your attention to.
If the news upsets you, don’t watch it. If social media triggers you, take a break from it. If there are people in your life that bring you down, take a break from them.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with thoughts of uncertainty about the future, stop focusing on the future. Instead focus on the present and pay attention to what you can control now. How will you spend today, the next hour or the next ten minutes.
Helping Others Shift their Locus of Control
When you’re working with clients who are getting caught in a negative thought cycle, use these two questions to help them shift out of emotion and into a logical mind state. When they are able to take a step back and see that they do, in fact, have some control over what’s happening in their life, they’ll immediately shift back to a place of confidence, hope and even empowerment with a readiness to take positive steps in a forward direction.
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