Is your need to control everything affecting your health and if so, what can you do about it?
It’s understandable to feel that nothing is within our control at the moment. Our current circumstances are creating such uncertainty, that we may feel that we have no control over our lives. As a consequence we may overreact and try and control the things that we can.
Control is a normal response. If our happiness is affected or our safety is threatened, we automatically try and control the situation. If danger is involved, we go into our ‘fight or flight’ mode. Even if it’s not a life or death situation, stress levels can be activated. Our current situation since the pandemic began, is a huge example of this.
When we activate our stress response, for whatever reason, our levels of cortisone and adrenaline rise. Our body prepares to flee the situation. This is a primal survival response that has served us well. However when this stress response remains elevated, we stay in this high alert state and that’s when health issues may result.
Chronic stress can lead to illnesses such as Hypertension, Heart Disease, Stroke, Digestive problems, Diabetes, Asthma, High Cholesterol, Lowered Immune Function and Chronic Fatigue.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Lung and Colon meridians are related to control. The Lungs relate to how easily we ‘Breathe’ through life, whether we need to control everything or whether we feel we have no control. The lungs also hold grief and how we control our emotions and whether or not we have processed or dealt with grief in our life. In many lung conditions, we actually have difficulty controlling our breathing.
The Colon or Large Bowel is also about control. If we are always in control or tightly controlling of ourselves and others, this may result in constipation. If on the other hand, we feel we have no control or allow others to control us, diarrhoea may ensue. Just think of a situation where you are extremely nervous because you have little or no control, such as a job interview or before an exam. You have no control over the questions that may be asked. Very often you have to make a few trips to the toilet and your bowels may be upset.
Our fears around control may stem from childhood or our experiences throughout our lives. We may have had controlling parents who never gave us freedom or perhaps life’s circumstances threatened our safety, so we learnt to control everything that we could. Our reactions are never wrong. We always do what we can to survive and make the best of whatever life presents. Panic buying is just one example of us trying to control our lives. If we are restricted, at least we can control what food etc we have at home. Panic buying helps us to feel safe. It gives us some control over our situation.
What do we do about our need to control everything? And what if control is beyond our reach? What if always being in control no longer serves us?
What I have realised myself, is that I need to let go. I need to ask for help and I need to allow myself to receive. I have had to admit to myself that I cannot control everything, no matter how much I may want to. I allow myself to feel all the emotions, such as anger, frustration, sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, fear and whatever else may arise. Having no control brings up many emotions such as fear and it’s important to recognise this. Look at your fears and decide if they are rational and if your life is in danger. If not, try and let the fear go.
Accept all the emotions that you are feeling. It’s okay not to be happy about your situation. The circumstances may not be what you want, but acceptance reduces the stress. If you can change your outlook and your actions by choosing a different way of doing or looking at things, they may not seem so insurmountable. Perhaps you can’t do things the way you normally do. Does that really matter? Maybe there is another way. Maybe new opportunities will present.
We all have choice and we can all choose how we cope under current circumstances. Ask for help if you need to and recognise if things are beyond your control. Allow others around you to make their own choices. We can’t control their decisions and we shouldn’t try to or judge them for their opinions. We all cope in different ways.
If we try and always stay in control, or fear that we have no control over our lives, we will always stay in a stress response. If on the other hand, we try and accept the things that we cannot change and alter our outlook, we may find that we are a lot calmer, happier and healthier and better able to cope with whatever life presents.
I know which one I would prefer.
If you are feeling fear or anxiety, these facial nerve points may help. https://solevitality.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Fear-and-Anxiety-Wellness-Package.pdf
References: Photo by Patrick Mallert on Unsplash
Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.