3 Mindful steps to help regain control of your life

Trusha Khambhaita

“You cannot control the results, only your actions.” – Allan Lokos

“Why worry about things you can’t control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you?” ~Unknown

We have all had moments in our life where we feel as though we have little or no control over what’s happening to us or around us. 

Life's stresses can leave us feeling overwhelmed.

Mindfulness techniques can help you gain control of your emotions, reduce your stress level and enjoy a higher quality of life.

Mindful.org explains that mindfulness means to be acutely aware of your surroundings and your circumstances, including where you are and what you are busy doing. At the same time, mindfulness includes not being overwhelmed by your current environment.

Here are 3 steps to mindfully help move us from overwhelm to empowerment. 

Step 1 – Breathe

To quickly regain control of your thinking, pause and focus on your breath.  This will help to you connect with the here and now. 

Simply, close your eyes, breathe in deeply through the nose, hold your breath for a beat and breathe back out.  Keep your focus on your breath and continue this exercise at least 10 times.

Think of this as a breathing meditation version of the literal expression ‘count to ten.’

Step 2 – The Serenity Prayer

The next step is to recognize what we can and cannot change and to accept that sometimes there are forces at play that we have no control over.

Despite our beliefs, this simple prayer holds wisdom on this point that we can all benefit from. 

“God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change,

The courage to change things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.” 

Use this prayer or thought process to become aware in any given situation of whether you can resolve a matter or whether you need to accept that the situation is simply, what it is and to let it go.

Step 3 – I have control over statements …

The third and final step helps to empower our thinking.

Instead of worrying about what you don’t have control over, focus your energy on what you do.  In this way, you will be able to regain control of your thoughts, feelings and actions.

I use this series of statements to help me focus on what I can control.  You can use these too or create your own.

I have control over (or in other words; I mindfully choose the following): 

  1. What I think about
  2. What I focus on
  3. What I listen to
  4. The words I speak
  5. How I feel
  6. How I love
  7. How I honor myself
  8. How I contribute

In summary, remember, in a moment of overwhelm or anxiety the easiest way to bring your attention back to the present moment is by focusing on your breathing.  This simple technique will help you gain control over ‘monkey mind’ (a Buddhist term meaning unsettled or restless mind).

Next, identify what you do have control over and let go of the rest. 

Finally, consider using the ‘I have control over’ statements.

Focusing my thinking in this way has really helped me manage stress, be more positive, stay focused on what is important, have a greater understanding of myself, have better self-awareness and self-worth and move forward with my goals and dreams instead of feeling overwhelmed or stuck in an uncontrollable situation. 

I hope sharing these simple ideas will help you too.   Please share below your thoughts, ideas and wisdom.

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” ― Dalai Lam

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