t is a very uneasy feeling not to have control. When something matters to us and it is beyond our control, it often induces worry and anxiety. But what did 105 year-old Edyth Kirchmeir say on the Ellen Show about the secret to sustaining her life? “I think positive… If something happens- I can’t do anything about it- so I don’t let it bother me.” Bascially, as Ellen later sums up, “Think positively and don’t let stuff bother you when you can’t do anything about it.” Sounds so simple. Sounds so difficult.
What it comes down to is distinguishing between that which we can control and that which we simply cannot. And more often than not, we are pretty capable of making that distinction. It’s once we make that distinction, and decide something is out of our control, that the real work begins.
Many of us ruminate. We cycle displeasing thoughts, fears, and worries over and over in our minds especially when things are out of our control. Maybe it’s in regards to something that already happened. Maybe it’s something you think happened. Maybe it’s something you think will happen. We give this stuff so much power and it has a tendency to take us over. But what about what Edyth said…” I can’t do anything about it- so I don’t let it bother me”…. How wonderful would it be if we could think that way? If we could relinquish ourselves from the confines of these negative thoughts.
The good news is, to a large degree….we can. If you’re up for it, try something with me now: take a deep breathe in and let it out and say, “I don’t have to feel this way. Feeling this way does nothing to change the situation. It’s only hurting me, and I am choosing to let it go.” You may or may not believe the words you are saying. but hearing them aloud or even in your mind is the first step.
Whenever the negative thoughts come into your mind…the thoughts revolving around something beyond your control at this point…tell yourself the aforementioned statement. It’s important to note that feelings of worry, fear, regret, anxiety, etc are all normal and do not need to be banished from the psyche. I am referring, however, to those instances in which these thoughts cross a line from healthy negative emotions to those that are hurtful and stunting.
You have the power to let go. It may take some practice, but if there’s anyone’s advice worth listening to, it’s that of someone who has made it past 100 years old, and most importantly… is happy.
Determining what you can control and reshaping your thought process takes purposeful effort, and psychotherapy can help. Your therapist at Alpha Psychotherapy Center will work with you in detecting where you can regain control in your life and how. They’ll also guide you in recognizing thought patterns holding you back and shifting towards healthy thinking.
Both Hal Brickman and Allia Brickman bring expert experience and knowledge to their work with clients. Hal’s contribution to the field of Psychotherapy has been embraced by psychotherapists worldwide and translated into six foreign languages. Allia has spent the last decade both working with clients and diving into the latest research on happiness, anxiety and depression-reduction, relationships, and more. She successfully applies this to her dedicated work with clients.