3 Ways to Cope When You Feel Things are Out of Your Control
When you’re going through a tough time and everything seems out of your control, you might feel like screaming in your pillow, or be questioning what you probably did to merit this, or thinking that your life will never get better…
Does any of this sound familiar?
It turns out, though, that a lot of useful ways to cope with things that are out of our control is to practise acceptance. Rather than seeing ourselves as victims or our state of affairs as negative, acceptance makes us feel empowered regarding the things we are able to do.
What’s the deal with acceptance?
Accepting one thing that’s lousy doesn’t mean you’re giving it a giant thumbs-up.
You accept your friends for who they are. You know you’re not chargeable for their actions, and you definitely can’t control them, thus when they do things you don’t agree with, you most likely just get over it.
It’s the same when you’re going through a tough period of time. Things can happen that are entirely out of your control – whether or not it’s a relationship break-up, extreme weather condition or the death of somebody you’re close to.
It’s fairly normal to feel sad, angry and seriously pissed off.
The issue is, if you refuse to just accept this stuff and staying angry, can just result in additional hurt and upset. If you’ll be able to manage to just accept what’s happening right now, your mind can focus on what you can do to make things better.
One thing without a doubt, acceptance isn’t simple or easy.
Think about one thing you’ve been troubled with, and give these three tips a go to check whether you can come to accept it.
1. Envision what a role model or respected friend would do in a similar circumstance
It’s entirely expected to be vexed if you don’t score that job you’ve applied for.
Yet, in some cases we get so caught up in being vexed, we lose sight of the actual situation. We can pass judgment on ourselves very-harshly in ways we would never judge a friend.
A more helpful response is to have a go at offering yourself the guidance you may give a friend.
What advice would you offer to help them out?
Would you judge them or accept them?
In the event that you’d accept them, try using that acceptance on yourself and treat yourself as your own good friend.
2. Record your thoughts
Stress can make us think negative thoughts about ourselves.
These might be things like ‘I always say the wrong thing’, or ‘I suck at this’. When you’re contemplating these things about yourself, it’s easy to think even more negative thoughts and to zero in on all the horrible stuff.
Understand that we are not our thoughts.
Thoughts may come into your head for a bunch of different reasons. By accepting that thoughts aren’t facts, they lose some of their capacity to agitate us.
Have a go at recording the words that are going through your head, especially when you’re in a tough situation. Then read them back as if someone else had written them. This can help you to realise that your thoughts aren’t you, and to accept them for what they are: just thoughts.
When you’re going through a bad break-up, it might feel like your heart is really scattering into multiple pieces. We’ve all been there, thinking stuff like ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’m going to end up dying old and alone with only cats for company’.
Recording these musings recognises that they are just thoughts.
You can even take a stab at reframing them with ‘I just had the thought that…’ beforehand. ‘I just had the thought that I’m not good enough’ is less upsetting but rather more honest than the thought itself.
3. Converse to others about how you’re feeling
It’s normal to feel a range of emotions (sorrow, bitterness, outrage, anxiety) when you’re confronted with stress. Now and again you can exacerbate it by judging yourself for feeling these emotions.
We may think, ‘I should be happy all the time’, or ‘If I’m sad, something’s wrong with me’. It’s not really surprising that this aggravates us to feel even worse. Conversing with friends, family, or anyone else you feel comfortable with can assist you with feeling less alone and that another gets it.
It very well may be difficult to begin talking. You may be worried about the possibility that those thoughts that are said aloud will make them real, or that the other individual won’t comprehend what has been said.
Often, though, once you start opening up, you understand that it’s absolutely fine to discuss what’s at the forefront of your thoughts.
Indeed, it might be a relief for the other individual, as well, since they may be feeling something similar. Understanding that others are experiencing something very similar can assist us with feeling like our emotions are normal, valid and alright for everyone to feel.
We have two options when something terrible and out of our control transpires. We can battle with it and suffer because we can’t control it, or we can accept it and proceed onward with one’s life. Acceptance is something worth rehearsing, similar to a musical instrument or playing sport.
The better you get at it through practice, the easier you’ll find it when something terrible occurs, and the better you’ll feel.
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