Having the right amount of control is what helps keep you balanced. Feeling that you have no control can lead to anxiety or depression.
Take action to feel more in control.
- Be prepared to make changes in your life
- Brainstorm ideas to make your first step for change
What Is Sense of Control?
After completing your heart stress screen and receiving your Stress Profile, you may have results that indicate you have a Moderate or High Loss of Control. You are likely wondering what this means and what you can do about it.
Your sense of control is how much control you feel you have over your life. You may feel you have a lot of control, or you may feel you have very little. Having the right amount of control is what helps keep you balanced. Feeling that you have no control can lead to anxiety or depression.
When you have deadlines, conflicts in your life, or unexpected setbacks, you may feel you are losing control. Your sense of control may be affected in one area of your life, or in several. Your sense of control may be affected at work, at home, in relationships, or in financial matters.
Moderate loss of control
When you feel you are beginning to lose your sense of control, stresses are usually piling up and you may feel you want to give up. It is important to focus your efforts on getting back into control. This can be corrected by starting to take action today.
High loss of control
When stresses are high and you feel hopeless, you procrastinate or put things off and begin not to care. You likely feel you have lost your sense of control. This will affect your mood and how you think. To gain back your sense of control will take time and effort. Being ready to make changes in your life is important.
How Does Losing the Sense of Control Affect My Heart?
If you feel you do not have control in your life, you may feel vulnerable. You may always expect something bad to happen, even if it never does.
Feeling a loss of control can have the same effect on your heart as actually having the bad things that you fear happen.
Your body responds to feelings of loss of control in the same way it responds when stressful events happen. It responds by:
- increasing the amount of stress hormones in your body
- increasing the amount of Inflammation in your body
- increasing your heart rate and/or irregular heart beats
- increasing your blood pressure
Steps to Feeling More in Control
1. Be prepared to make changes in your life
- Be ready to challenge yourself to break the patterns that got your heart into trouble.
- Remember a time when you felt you had control in your life. What were you doing to feel that way?
- Make the decision to do something today and complete the Brainstorming exercise below.
- "Feel your fear, and do it anyway".
2. Brainstorm ideas to make your first step for change
Focus your attention on one area of your life that makes you feel helpless now, but didn't make you feel that way a year ago. Choose an area where you have been able to achieve positive results in the past.
Complete the following brainstorming exercise:
- Take 15 minutes and write down ideas about how you can change this problem you are facing.
- Do not criticize or judge any of your ideas.
- Rate each idea from 1-10 for how likely you are to try the idea in the next week.
- Pick one idea and try it this week.
If you struggle with completing this exercise on your own, ask someone you feel close to to sit down with you and guide you through it.
After you have chosen your one idea to start with, tell a friend what you are planning to do, and keep them posted on your results. When you have success with the first step, return to your list and take the next step.
- Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life (1998). Martin Seligman, Free Press: New York
- Life Makeovers: 52 Practical and Inspiring Ways to Improve your Life one Week at a Time (2000). Cheryl Richardson, Broadway Books: New York
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