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Seven Ways to Feel More in Control of Your Life

Control stimuli

Acting independently begins with what you let into your mind—meaning what comes in from your environment. If you are lacking agency, it’s likely your attention is being hijacked and you need to figure out how to restore it.

To help you increase your control, practice going to quiet and screen-free spaces to escape overstimulation.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Seven Ways to Feel More in Control of Your Life

Seven Ways to Feel More in Control of Your Life

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/seven_ways_to_feel_more_in_control_of_your_life

greatergood.berkeley.edu

7

Key Ideas

Control stimuli

Acting independently begins with what you let into your mind—meaning what comes in from your environment. If you are lacking agency, it’s likely your attention is being hijacked and you need to figure out how to restore it.

To help you increase your control, practice going to quiet and screen-free spaces to escape overstimulation.

Associate selectively

It’s impossible not to be affected by those around us—it’s easy to “catch” their emotions and our brains tend to synch up when we associate with other people. 

We should set boundaries with difficult people, disentangle yourself from negative online interactions, and be more conscious of how you might be vulnerable to “groupthink”—pressures to behave or think in ways that are contrary to your values.

Move

Physical movement can lead to greater self-control—the ability to defer gratification.

If you’re in deep at work, set a timer to go off every hour and remind yourself to take a moment to assess your mood. If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed, get up and move. And, if you’re having any issues at work, discussing them in a walking meeting (instead of a sitting meeting) may help mitigate conflicts.

Position yourself as a learner

This requires nurturing your curiosity and allowing yourself to explore new ideas, skills, and people.

This isn’t always easy. Practicing a growth mindset—where you recognize that you are a work in progress, capable of learning and changing—can help combat the fear of failure or judgment that often come with learning new things

Manage your emotions and beliefs

Increasing your awareness of how your emotions and beliefs drive your thinking, influence your behavior, and affect your judgment will help you navigate life with greater confidence.

While uncovering these inner thoughts and emotions may take effort, being more self-reflective helps you keep yourself grounded by slowing down your thinking process.

Check your intuition

Think of intuition as deep inner knowledge that is comprised of millions of data points that our brains have observed over the course of our lives. 

When used wisely, it can be a tremendous boost to our creativity and help us make important decisions.

Deliberate, then act

When making an important decision, it’s helpful to stop and deliberate first:
  • Focus on the issue at hand enough to clarify your primary objective and what is at stake. 
  • Generate lots of options at first, making sure that any strong emotions or biases aren’t driving your thoughts.
  • Draft a plan for yourself based on those options, putting your thoughts and decisions into writing.
  • Set your plan aside and come back a while later to reassess it, making changes as necessary.

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Reduce impulse buying
Before purchasing non-essential items ask yourself:
  • Can I live without this item?
  • Based on my financial situation, can I afford it?
  • Will I actually use it? Do I have space for it?
  • How did I come across it in the first place? (Did I come across it after wandering into a gift shop out of boredom?)
  • What is my emotional state in general today? (Calm? Stressed?)
  • How do I feel about buying it? (Happy? Excited? Indifferent?)
  • How long will this feeling last?

one more idea

What Self-Reflection Is
What Self-Reflection Is

Is the process of thinking back on previous events and interpreting them through your experience. 

It’s about taking a step back and reflecting on your life, behavior and beliefs....

The Importance of Self-Reflection
  • It improve self-awareness.
  • It allows you to understand and see things from a different point of view. 
  • It allows you to respond, not react.
  • It facilitates a deeper level of learning.
  • It improves confidence.
  • It makes you challenge your assumptions.
The Process of Self-Reflection
  • STOP: Take a step back from life or a particular situation.
  • LOOK: Identify and get perspective on what you notice and see.
  • LISTEN: Listen to your inner guide, the innate wisdom that bubbles up when you give it time and space to emerge.
  • ACT: Identify the steps you need to take moving forward to adjust, change or improve.

4 more ideas

System 1 Thinking

The main function of System 1 is to maintain and update a model of your personal world, which represents what is normal in it.

Consider driving your car from home to work on a...

System 2 Thinking

System 2 thinking informs how you focus on a particular task by using expert knowledge and focusing or applying conscious effort.

Consider driving to work and encountering an accident. This unexpected change demands you pay attention to your environment and monitor your behavior.

How to Use System 1 and System 2 Thinking Together

If you feel a gut reaction after meeting a hire, it's probably System 1 thinking.

But you can mitigate the risk of hiring the wrong person by engaging System 2 thinking. Check their references. Ask probing questions. Validate your gut reaction with other members of your team.

The trick is to be aware of switching from one system to the other. It’s useful to understand when you are thinking on autopilot, when you are paying attention and what's inside your mental toolbox.

Controlling your emotions

The ability to recognize, own, and shape your own emotions is the master skill for deepening intimacy with loved ones, magnifying influence in the workplace, and amplifying our ability to turn idea...

Own the emotion

You can’t change an emotion you don’t own.

Accept responsibility for its existence.  Because an external event always precedes your experience of an emotion, it’s easy to assume that the event caused it. But as long as you believe it was externally caused, you are going to be a victim to your emotions.

Name the story

Emotions are the result of both what happens, and of the story you tell yourself about what happened.

  • A victim story: it absolves you of your responsibility for what happened.
  • A villain story: it exaggerates the faults of others and makes them responsible for what happened.
  • A helpless story: it convinces you that any course of action is pointless.

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Finding happiness at work

Not only is it possible to find happiness at work, but that doing so is unambiguously good. 

Happier employees do better on all fronts, from day-to-day health to productivi...

Portrait of people who are happy in life
  • They have an easy time feeling good and recovering from adversity
  • they have close, supportive social connections
  • they believe that their presence in the world matters.
4 key pillars of happiness at work
  1. Purpose. Our purpose is a reflection of our core values, and we feel more purposeful at work when our everyday behaviors and decisions are aligned with those values.
  2. Engagement. Prioritise some fun. Take ownership of decisions that affects you. Adopt a flow at work.
  3. Resilience. The ability to handle, adapt to, and productively learn from setbacks, failures, and disappointments.
  4. Kindness. Being kind at work involves treating others with dignity and respect, extending empathy and compassion, practicing gratitude, and constructively managing conflicts.
Making Decisions

People usually make impulsive decisions and take shortcuts while stressed out. A 16th-century Catholic mystic, Ignatius, provides us with some methods of discernment and decision-making, which are ...

Gain Control Over Your Mood
  • Label Your Emotions: There are times that you might feel different emotions. Pay attention to what's really going on inside you to help you take a lot of sting out of that em...
Mood Control = Positive Outlook

Emotions are powerful and managing it is tough at times. But by gaining control over them makes you mentally stronger.

You'll gain confidence in your ability to handle discomfort while also knowing that you can make healthy choices that shift your mood.

Brain, Body And Consciousness

Consciousness emerges from brain function, and we often experience consciousness to be located in the brain, but bodily feedback clearly contributes to a wide variety of subjective feelings. Bra...

Pain And Evolution Of Consciousness

Emotion-related inputs from the body to the brain could have generated the first traces of consciousness in our early ancestors. Being able to feel pain gives a survival advantage to animals, as they could have withdrawn from dangers and rested to promote recovery when injured or ill.

The development of awareness of body-related harms might have ultimately paved the road for the emergence of more advanced forms of conscious thought and processes, such as language, thinking, and reasoning. 

Emotional Expression And The Evolution Of Consciousness

Our bodies signal our internal states to us, but it also often externalizes them too. And being able to track others’ inner states and goals might be one of the more advantageous capabilities.

Humans and many animals are adept at reading each other’s intentions, feelings, and goals from their behavior such as facial and bodily expressions. This promotes social cohesion by exchanging emotions and other mental states and presents evolutionary advantages a purely private consciousness wouldn’t have.

Maximize Opportunities
Maximize Opportunities

Lucky people do not wait for things to happen to them.

They take notice and act upon the opportunities that they find.

Luck and Intuition

Lucky people act on their intuitions across many areas of their lives.

Intuition is when your body and brain have detected a pattern before you have deliberately considered it.

Expect Good Fortune

You are more likely to be successful if you are optimistic about your opportunities.

When you think things will work out, you are more apt to persevere. You are also open to new opportunities.

one more idea

We have this moment only to work on what's important
We have this moment only to work on what's important

Death illuminates the fact that this very moment is all we really have in this life.

We have only this moment to work on what gives us meaning and to tell the people we lov...