Health, Podcast

What to Do When Life Feels Out of Control

March 24, 2020

This podcast is brought to you by the Mail Tribune.

We are in a pandemic and it doesn’t feel comfortable. It is scary, anxiety-inducing, worrisome and there is a lot of unknown.

In this episode of Happiness in Progress, Danielle talks about what we can do as we have very little control of the external parts of our lives.

Danielle talks about how she gained control in spite of her diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

How OCD Works in My Brain

Disclaimer: I want you to know I have controlled my OCD. I learned many tools and tips when I was first diagnosed in college. I was once paralyzed by OCD. I am no longer controlled by it. Please do not tell me you are sorry for me. I’m completely fine! I believe everyone’s brain works differently. This just happens to be the way mine is wired.

Basically my brain tells me all actions I take, will end in my death.

My brain will say

If you turn left here, you’ll die.

If you put your baby in those pajamas, they’ll die.

If you don’t flip the light switch ten times, you’ll die.

To deal with this constant conversation from the brain saying YOU ARE GOING TO DIE – I have had to release the outcomes of nearly every scenario. Yes, that means sometimes I say to myself – well, if turning left here means I’ll die – so be it.

Someone with OCD wants to control things so much that their brain tells them if they switch a light switch up and down a certain amount of times, spaced with perfect timing — all will be well.

The reality is people with OCD do not have control. In fact, ALL PEOPLE do not have control.

Do what you can control. Let go of the rest.

I have had to learn how to let go of controlling outcomes – and focusing on what I can do. 

In a pandemic, this looks like figuring out what I don’t have control of. You can start doing this by realizing what it is you’re really afraid of. What is causing you anxious, uneasy, worried, fearful?

Is it lawmakers’ actions, the virus itself, the economic situation, a job loss, an elderly family member?

Once you have figured out what is causing your anxiety or concern – you can figure out what you have control of and what you do not have control of.

For instance, you might not have control of what your governor is doing.

When this first began, our governor had not canceled school.

I had no control over what our governor was going to do.

I did have control over my ability to send her an email – which I did.

I did have control over choosing to pull my son out of school – which I did.

Are you worried about the economic situation?

You do not have control over whether you get to keep your job.

You can control where you put your money.

You can control canceling a subscription here or there.

You can control calling your mortgage and asking for help.

You can control choosing local over big box stores.

Do what you can control. Let go of the rest. Click To Tweet

Letting Go of Outcomes

You now know what you have control of.

You know what you can do. You know what you can’t do.

Now it is time to let go of the outcomes. You have done all you can do. You have control of what you can control.

I want to share a powerful visualization that can help with this.

Close your eyes.

Imagine you’re holding a balloon.

That balloon is what you’re trying to control.

Imagine how those feelings are making showing up in your body. Feel the feelings. See the balloon being the outcome you don’t have control over.

Then imagine your hand. See it, holding tightly onto the balloon.

Slowly imagine opening each finger as you prepare to let go of the balloon. As you open each finger, release the anxiety that outcome is causing your body. Feel the anxiety leave your body.

You will ultimately let go of the balloon – watch it float away. Feel the anxiety leave your body in this moment. You understand you do not have control. You are releasing that control.

What else you’ll hear on the podcast

  • What a checkpoint person is
  • How a checkpoint person can help you relieve anxiety over worst case scenarios
  • Examples on how to figure out what is causing your pandemic related stress and how to figure out what is causing your anxiety

For a limited time only, the worksheets that come with the $20 patreon level are available for free. To sign up to receive the worksheet for this podcast episode and future episodes click here.

Remember, you can listen to the Happiness in Progress podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, online, the Mail Tribune’s website, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Youtube — and you can even ask Siri or Alexa to “Play the Happiness in Progress podcast.”

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