Don’t you just hate it when you feel out of control?
It leaves you feeling completely helpless and hopeless. A terrible feeling that makes you believe your entire world is about to end.
It also makes you feel really stressed, frustrated, and feelings of anxiety.
Typically when you feel this way it’s because:
1. You’re focusing more on the negative than positive of a situation
2. You’re focusing on what you can’t control
3. You’re trying to fix and change what you can’t control (things, situations, or people)
Which by the way none of these three is a good idea.
As we go through I want you to continuously keep something in mind: Your focus determines your emotions.
Focus on good, then you create good emotions. Focus on bad, bad emotions. It’s that simple.
Recently I had a conversation with a very good friend of mine. She was telling me about a particular situation which I had been aware of for some time. It’s one of our typical counseling/guidance sessions whenever we each need that friendly advice.
Throughout her story I kept hearing the same theme being repeated over and over again.
- She’s focusing on the negative
- Focusing on what she can’t control
- Trying to fix what she can’t control
Even when I gave her the same advice repeatedly of recognizing the truth, because she has no control over the situation or the people in that situation she shouldn’t worry.
Finally, she accepted the truth: there are some things you have no control over so don’t worry about it.
So my advice to you as you go through this article is to recognize the truth…
You have no control over it so don’t worry about it.
Now that I’ve cemented that truth let’s talk about sone practicality of actually reducing the stress, anxiety, and frustration that you’re feeling (I love practicality).
I’ve had many challenges with these three devils myself. Overtime I learned how to realize when it’s happening, and quickly pivot and shift my focus to reduce them (at times eliminate them completely).
6 Steps to Reducing Stress Anxiety and Frustration
How I’m going to approach this is in the order that you typically create these feelings.
The first thing you should know is everything starts with your focus.
1. The situation comes up (trigger)
2. You focus on the negative aspects of the situation (thoughts)
3. You begin to feel the negative emotions of stress, anxiety, and frustration (feelings)
4. Those negative emotions are projected outwardly through your body, in terms of your behaviour, reaction to others, or even feeling physically tense in your body (your state)
So we have to start from Number 4 and work our way up.
Step 1: Talk to Yourself
The first step is talking to yourself. Now if you’re one who thinks that talking to yourself means your crazy, quickly get rid of that misconception.
Talking to yourself is a powerful way to rewire and recondition your subconscious mind (which is the foundation for every other thing that you do in your life).
In this case talking relaxes your mind and body, reducing the tension that you feel. Think of it as a thermostat that is regulating your emotions and bringing them back to a normal state.
Repeat “Everything is okay, everything will be fine. Just relax and breath“. Do this several times while taking deep breaths with your eyes closed, until you feel a sense of calm and your body feels more relaxed.
What you are doing is releasing the tension and manifestation of negativity in your body. It’s kinda like a mental and physical massage in one.
This first step calms and quiets your mind and relaxes your body, releasing you from the manifestation of the negative emotions you feel.
Step 2: Focus on Being Grateful
Why is being grateful important? Because it allows you to reshift and refocus your mind away from the negative that’s happening in your life, and towards the positives.
Recall three things that you can be grateful for (even more if you can). Then verbally express your gratitude for these things by repeating, “I’m so happy and grateful (thing you are grateful for)“. Be sure that you say them loud enough that you can hear yourself speak.
By going through this exercise it shifts your focus, and places you in a more positive and empowered state. This is so you can be more effective in coming up with solutions.
If there is no solution, at the very least it will help you be able to release the things you have no control over, instead of stressing over them.
Step 3: Become Aware of the Problem
Do an assessment of the situation (and yourself).
Is this something you can control and do something about, or can’t?
Is the situation as serious as you think, or are you making the problem to be greater than it really is?
Is the negative feelings caused by the situation, or are you doing it to yourself?
All these questions are important. Awareness is the first step to solving any problem.
Be honest with yourself. If you know deep down you have no control over it then stop trying to.
Take note of the things that you have the power to do something about. Also, take note of the things you have no control over.
Step 4: Let Go of What You Can’t Control
Recall what I said earlier about the three reasons people are usually stressed.
Two of which are focusing on what you can’t control and trying to fix what you can’t.
This is where letting go is very important. Focusing and trying to fix what you can’t is like trying to carry two elephants in both hands up a mountain. It doesn’t matter how much you believe you can do it, there are just certain laws of nature and physics that’s going to make it impossible for you to do.
I wish I could give you practical advice for how to let things go but I can’t (I’m just being honest). I know it’s easier said than done, especially for those of you who are stubborn and control freaks like myself.
This is just one of those things you have to decide to do on your own. You can allow them to weigh you and your life down, or give them up so you can get up and move forward.
The best advice I can give is think about the absolutely worst that can happen if you continue to hold on to this negative situation. Look at how terrible your life is now, and how much worse it will become if you don’t let go.
Hopefully, one day you’ll realize as I did that there are just some things that’s beyond you, and trying to change that is pointless.
It’s a matter of acceptance. Just accept that YOU…CAN’T…DO…ANYTHING…ABOUT…IT…
So let it go like Elsa!
Side note: Blame my daughter for overrunning my life with Frozen that resulted in that reference.
Once you are able to let it go you are releasing everything that’s weighing you down.
You’ll be at peace with yourself, and eliminate the stress, anxiety, and frustration you are, and will feel in the future.
Step 5: Focus on What You Can Control
Now that you’ve let it go, you now have the power to do something about what you can control.
Focus ONLY on that!
Again let me say again what I said earlier: Your focus determines your emotions.
Therefore, focusing on what you do have control over allows you to regain your sense of control. This feeling of being in control reduces your feelings of stress, anxiety, and frustration, and replaces them with calm, reassurance, and peace of mind
Now you can go to work to get shit done, kick ass and take names.
Identify what resources you have access to currently that can help you solve the problem or fix the situation.
If it’s more about something internal that you need to do something about, such as being in a place where you worry less, then think about what you could do to worry less.
This is where become aware of what’s causing the problem is important. It’s knowing what triggers the negative emotions you’re experiencing to learn how to avoid them or eliminate them in the future.
Step 6: Take One Simple Action Immediately
The final step is to take action.
It makes no sense to sit and complain, worry, or stress about the situation. Do something about it (assuming you can do something about it).
Identify something you can do right now that can move you closer to resolving the issue that’s stressing you, frustrating you, or making you anxious.
Using my experience for example of trying to find a job mid last year into this year.
I knew I needed an extra income to expand plans I have for 5Y2M that was unavailable to me at the time. I also figured the best and most suitable solution would be to get a job, so I went out to do that.
Problem was every job I applied for I kept getting No’s. It was stressing and frustrating, and made me anxious. However, rather than complaining about how unfair it was, the solution I came up with was I needed to become more valuable in my skill set. Also, I needed to be able to better communicate this value to interviewers.
So I went out and did certifications in the area of Digital Marketing, just to learn and refine my skill.
This would be that one action step I took.
Applied for more jobs, still got No’s. This time I would ask the interviewers two questions:
1. What made them short list me for the interview
2. Why they decided not to go with me (even though everyone told me how impressed they were with my skill set)
I took the critique graciously, and went back to working on 5Y2M. All the while refining my skill set and technique.
One year later I got the ‘Yes’ I was working towards (Phase 1 complete).
The point of this story was to help you understand two things:
1. I let go what I wouldn’t control
I couldn’t control that the interviewers chose not to go with me, so I didn’t stress or focus on the negative. I just saw it as an indication that maybe I needed to improve to show greater value.
2. I focus on what I could control (my actions), and did something about that
In this case it was learning and refining my skills.
I know all of what I just went through sounds a whole lot easier than it is (it really isn’t).
It took me years to develop the mental and emotional toughness and stability to be able to emotionally detach myself from the situation and any undesirable outcome.
You may not get there overnight, but if you follow the steps outlined, and follow through consistently, you can eventually retrain your mind and emotions to have the same level of toughness.
My best advice for you is to focus on the positive and what you can control.
In the end you can only control your words and actions, not the situation or person.
To your success my friend!
Know someone who this could really help to reduce their stress, anxiety, and frustration? Then be a friend and share it with them.
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