We love control.
We crave it.
Our brains covet it.
We get a rush of dopamine when we feel like we have the power to make a choice.
Because our brains want to control — it actively seeks it out.
We all have our own strategies for creating some level of control in our lives.
Some of them are productive, some of them — not so much.
Productive strategies are like setting SMART goals that align with your life’s intentions:
Being physically fit = running a marathon.
Being a visionary leader = starting a business.
Less productive strategies are like wanting to control others: Family members, significant others.
The ongoing pandemic and its aftermath (global uncertainty) have put a ton of stress on all of us.
When everything feels completely trying and taxing. It’s during these times we need to shift our focus on what we can control.
Janet Jackson sang “It’s All About Control.”
We need to consciously build our belief about what we think we can and can’t control – our locus of control.
Your locus of control is the degree to which you believe that you have control over your life.
When you have an internal locus of control, you believe that you have control over your own destiny, and that belief changes the way you act, think, and live.
Having an internal locus of control is a huge contributor to your mental health.
When you have an internal locus of control you have greater psychological well-being, physical vitality, and grit.
You’re able to motivate yourself to take action towards your goals, even when things are hard.
When you do take steps towards your goals, it positively reinforces your belief that you have control in your life.
This in turn strengthens your internal locus, creating an upward spiral.
If you have an external locus of control, you believe that what you do doesn’t really matter.
When we suffer from debilitating depression and anxiety, we have a high external locus of control, which can lead to a downward spiral.
At any moment of the day, we shift between an internal and external locus of control.
Outside of your control can be things like the pandemic, the market, what people do or don’t do.
Inside your control are things like:
- doing what you say you will do
- taking care of yourself
- showing up intentionally for your friends and family.
We place a tremendous burden upon our brains when we ask it to control what we can’t.
You may be frustrated but you can choose what you spend your energy on.
Release your brain from this unnerving job to control things you can’t.
Use phrases like my friend Amy Eldon‘s favorite: “Bless and Release”.
Dr. Maria Nemeth says: “Duly noted”.
When you shift, you release pressure from your mind and free up powerful energy.
The energy that can be used for creating, and connecting.
Take the first small step and ask:
Where am I focusing today?
Take a deep breath, and shift.