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Coping when things seem out of control

The news recently has been filled with horrific stories of earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear power station explosions. 

Sometimes it makes you stop and think.

So much in life is outwith my control.  I can barely keep my own family happy, let alone protect myself or others from the host of things that can go wrong in life…

That kind of experience is common, and can lead to general feelings of anxiety and worry.  It’s true that if you focus on all the things that can go wrong, you won’t want to get out of bed in the morning!

This is where the issue of control comes in.  Many people find it helpful to be involved in things where they have a degree of control.  Being responsible for something, but importantly, also being in control of aspects of things, can lead to a sense of reassurance and comfort.  It’s why some people like to unwind with a computer game or puzzle or some kind of problem they can solve.

Taking it too far can lead to issues with control, however.  We need to take care that we can’t cope when things are out of our control – becoming control freaks if you like.  Life is always about balance, and we need to learn to take ownership and control over some things, but also to learn to relax and cope with some things that are out of our control.

There is a sign up in a local nursery that says “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”.  In many ways, this sums up what we’re talking about.  We can’t control the weather, so we shouldn’t try to.  Complaining about it won’t make it go away.  Instead, we can prepare ourselves to be able to cope with it and work with the issue, rather than fight against it.

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