“I will not stress about things that I cannot change.”
The quote above is important. Read it, learn it. Because, if you can accept it, you can lessen the weight that anxiety puts on your shoulders.
One of the top reasons that people feel stressed is a lack of control. It seems obvious that, as people, we would worry about our place in this world, and what we can do to change it. But, for some people, this anxiety is a hindrance. It hurts, it doesn’t help. You have to be willing to give up those things you can’t control, if you want to give up the stress that comes with it. But how exactly do you know what you can and can’t change? Follow this simple guide, and you’ll be happier for it.
Things to Let Go
There are many things to let go of, and many reasons to do it. Most of these reasons are painful, or stem from some problem that we see in ourselves. It isn’t easy, deciding to let go of what you can’t change, but you will be glad when you’re no longer as stressed as you used to be. Remember: It’s painful, but for the best.
Stresses caused by nature include sickness, death, aging, the weather, and everything else that can occur in the natural world. This can be a hard stress to give up. After all, death, sickness, and aging are concepts that humans have always found frightening. Especially because we learned early on that we can’t control it. It doesn’t even have to be ourselves that are affected. Everyone worries about family, friends, and even pets falling ill and dying. But, hard though it may be to accept, there is no changing it. You, as a person, cannot change nature. This is why you need to let it go.
Time is another cause of stress for people with anxiety. Things that fall under time include things that have or have not happened in the past; things that may or may not happen in the future; and not having enough time left to do what needs to be done. People, being social creatures, tend to worry about what we have or haven’t done, which leads to becoming preoccupied with something already done and in the past, or something that we want in the future. And, when we’re not focused on one of those, we often times look forward and feel frightened that we don’t have long left. It needs to be let go. Time can’t be changed, and changing will only cause you more anxiety.
This is the big one. It can be hard, if not impossible, to accept that you can’t change other people. We’ve all heard it, sure. You can’t change other people. It’s an old Hollywood trope. But it’s a good one, and it’s true. Trying to control how other people think, act, or feel can not only be detrimental to your anxiety and mental health, it can also be a strain on ever relationship in your life. And it is a fight that everyone will always lose. When it comes to other people and their beliefs or feelings, it is always best to let it go.
Things to Hold Onto
Here’s the bad news: This list is very short. There aren’t a lot of things that you can control, that are worth holding onto. Now, here’s the good news: It’s the only one that matters. You can only have control over one thing in your life, and you can still be happy and do good in this world. The best part? You’ll cut loose of so much anxiety!
That’s right. Out of all the people, all the things, all of the abstract concepts, you are the only thing that you can control. Everything else in this world is outside your realm; you can’t rule out there. But, through your own actions, you can have a firm sense of control over yourself. Having control of yourself may not seem like much, especially after the list above about what you don’t have control over. But having control of yourself is everything. So take control of yourself, where you are guaranteed results. Knowing that you do have a way to make a difference, that you do have control, will help you through a lot of stress.
How to Let Go
So, how do you get away from the constant stress that not being in complete control can leave you in? It’s an easy thing to say, but a difficult thing to do: You have to let your worries go. You have to focus on what you can change (you) and what you can’t change (everything else). There are ways, though, to remember and move on from these worries. There are different ways to take back control from a stressful, frightening world.
It’s not a walk in the park. Or, it could be. Every time you begin to feel anxious because of a lack of control, take to the park for a walk, or just for some sunshine and fresh air. Or go for a swim. Yoga is a good exercise for people who suffer from anxiety, because it helps promote calmness and mindfulness.
Meditation will also work. There are several different options here. One of the best, easiest ways to remind yourself of your lack of control is to pick a mantra that states as much. Such as the quote at the top of this page. Or any other quote about accepting change that you happen to like. While taking calm, deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth, repeat your mantra in your head. Tell yourself that not controlling everyone is alright, and keep breathing until you are calm.
Eventually, though, you should move on to a tentative grasp of the idea. You’ll begin to realize that it’s true, that you can only control yourself. It won’t be permanent (it never is; everyone backslides at one point or another), but it will help through the worst of the anxiety.