I am in love with podcasts. I discovered them a few months ago and am somewhat addicted. As you may know, I walk about 45 minutes every morning while pushing my daughter in the stroller. She dropped her first nap of the day forever ago, but she loves to rest in the stroller every morning during the time she used to nap. I get time outside and a walk (or run if I’m feeling feisty which I’m usually not), so it’s a win-win. I was tired of listening to news, and wanted something I could learn from and be motivated by while I walk. Oh my gosh! The sheer amount of podcasts out there is unbelievable, and there are so many great ones to chose from! I switch between business, motivational and spiritual, depending on my day and my mood. Seriously – greatest thing ever. If you haven’t discovered podcasts yet, check them out! Oh, and listening to YouTube channels is great too.
Ok, so I was listening to a podcast this past weekend by Joel Osteen and it was about letting go of control (I hadn’t quite taken the hint yet that this just might be about ME). He said that it’s hard to know sometimes if you are simply praying/meditating/brainstorming on a situation, or whether you have gone too far into stressing and being overwhelmed by it. The key is to ask yourself three things: Do you fall asleep thinking about it? Do you wake up thinking about it? Do you pray/meditate/brainstorm ONLY about that? If so, you might have a control problem and a need to let go. OOPS.
I’ve been dealing with two unique things in my life over the past 4 months. They aren’t bad things or big things, but they are the kinds of things that take up residence in your brain and don’t quite leave. Even when you think you aren’t thinking of them, you really are thinking of them. I wake up in the morning and before my eyes even open I think of another thing on my “to do” list. Usually, I pride myself on my ability to deal with whatever life throws my way, and to keep my eyes on what’s important. Recently, this has been combined with a big ol’ dose of nerves and anxiety, and I just don’t like it. It took a little impromptu stress and cry session last week and a podcast while pushing the stroller for me to realize I – ME – I’m the one who needs to let go of control right now.
If you are in the same boat at this moment, I understand how you feel! I really do. I’ll give you a few things that have helped me this week:
1) Release your grip. For me personally, I seem to have a problem letting go of control in areas that I really really care about. The more I love something, the tighter I seem to hold on. Then I end up holding tighter and tighter just to try and keep it close. It’s like I’m afraid I’ll lose it if I actually let go. So I have been visualizing my hand squeezing into a fist as hard as I can. I picture this thing – problem, decision, relationship, whatever – in my fist as I squeeze it. It gets no air, it gets no life – it’s being crushed when I try to hold on that tight. I slowly visualize my fingers releasing one at a time until my palm is open and I see whatever it is in my hand. It can move and breathe and change and do whatever needs to be done now. That can’t happen until I physically let go.
2) Do what you can, and then let go. Don’t think that all of this means you have no duties or responsibilities in what you want. We definitely have a job to do in our lives and we have an effect on what happens around us. For example, if you want a promotion at work, you can’t just visualize it and walk away. You need to get to work on time, do extra projects, volunteer, etc… So do what you can actually do, and then recognize when you just can’t do more. You can get yourself to the doctor, but you can’t make the test results come any quicker once you are there. Let it go. You can put in all your college or job applications with the best resume ever created, but you can’t determine if it ends up on the right desk or with the right recruiter. Let it go. You can call that friend you are trying to reconcile with, but you can’t make them call you back. Let. It. Go. You’ve done what you can, and sometimes that has to be enough.
3) Will this really matter in five years? This was advice my husband gave me when we talked, and it helped put things in perspective. He said when things seem overwhelming sometimes, he pictures himself in five years and asks, “Will this really matter then?” He said that, whatever happens, we will probably look back and laugh at being so stressed about this one little thing. Ask yourself if what you are trying to control really matters and actually will have an effect on your happiness and how you live in the future.
4) Get it out. I finally decided to talk to my husband and two best friends about how stressed I actually was. I highly recommend this for the sole reason that usually things seem much less scary when you verbalize them to someone else. We get so sure of something in our heads that we don’t even realize how it sounds when we actually speak it out loud. I also highly believe in the power of positive thinking and the thoughts you put into the universe. You can call this praying or meditating or anything else you’d like, but having one or two people who really love you who can put specific thoughts and vibes into the atmosphere for you can make big things happen. I truly believe that. If you don’t have someone you trust with your fears and feelings, write them down! Journaling helps me organize my thoughts tremendously, even when I don’t know what I’m thinking. You can email me if you’d like, and I’ll send out positive thoughts for you!
Thanks for listening to me today and letting me share some of my recent issues with control. I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going! Remember, life is a journey, so be patient with yourself and let yourself learn as you go. It’s part of the fun.