Do you struggle with anxiety-induced control? Are there times where you feel like a control freak when things don’t go your way? Is controlling anything you can, a coping mechanism for you?
Many of us struggle with anxiety in our daily life, and control can be our way of coping with this chaos.
Being a parent, a wife, and a writer alongside the to-do lists and household chores can send me into a fiery fluster. These are the moments I yell and demand until things are in order according to me.
You Are Not Alone with Anxiety and Control
I have discovered control is my way of coping with everyday anxiety and I know I am not alone here.
Often we are stuck in our incessant need to control and it sends splinters into different aspects of our lives. Anxiety can be a control-based coping tool that can make us feel alone and trapped in the darkness. The overwhelm created from anxiety makes us push away our family and friends and creates isolation.
Or on the flip side, there can be family or friends who can’t and won’t tolerate our quick control-based responses.
But, no matter how alone you feel, you are NOT ALONE in feeling like a control freak. There are many of us women who use control as a target to help soothe everyday anxiety.
With this knowledge, we can connect on a deeper level, shifting us into a shared human experience. Part of being human is allowing our humanness. And when we can know we are one of the seven billion people on this planet and many millions are experiencing anxiety and the need to control will help connect us; because we are not alone here.
Feeding the Control Freak Beast
Our need to be a control freak can be like an inner monster and the more we feed the ugly hairy beast the more it grows. Where our attention goes energy flows.
The more we feed our anxiety with control, the bigger and more out of control it will get.
With awareness of what we want to grow in our lives, we can choose new ways of reacting and responding to life.
What are our options when it comes to control-based anxiety?
Get big, and loud, yell, scream and demand until life goes our way. Yet the more we resist the more things persist. What if we can tap into new ways of thinking? How can we do this you may be asking? With an awareness of our need to cope with anxiety by controlling everything and anything we can.
You Are Not Anxiery or the Need to Control
This need to control life isn’t you, nor is this anxiety who you are. Anxiety and control both are what you are experiencing, they are not who you are. Remember being human means allowing ourselves permission to experience it all.
No matter what the inner monster is feeding you. It is our turn to know this anxiety and control are not who we are as women. These feelings are growing because there is something deeper happening. But what is it?
Here is where we can access noticing by bringing focus, attention, or awareness to what we are experiencing. With the help of these coping tools of attention, awareness, or focus we can tap into ways of coping to help us move from the need to control this anxiety.
How to Notice The Incessant Need to Control
- Bring your attention, awareness or focus, to notice what is happening inside of you first and second what is happening around you?
- Feel into the tightness, and tension.
- Take a step back. Physically move back.
- Question yourself? Is this happening because I can’t control this experience, situation, person or even animal?
- Sit, stand or be with the response.
- Ask. Is it necessary to control this experience? Or is this a chance I can exhale even if its hard and allow life to unfold on its own timing?
- Hold space, without trying to change you or think there is something wrong with you. Exhale into rising emotions, and come back to one if you need to and cycle back through these seven tips.
7 Ways to Cope With Anxiety Based Control
- Breathe- In and out, inhale and exhale. Tune into your breath, and rapidly begin exhaling. Long and strongly extend your exhale. Continue pressing the exhale down and out until you have completed eleven breaths.
- Self-Compassion- Give yourself compassion by saying, “I am feeling___________(e.g. overwhelmed, anxious or out of control) right now. It is hard to feel like this. I am not alone in these feelings.” Repeat this mantra three times. Here you can also add in tip three by hugging yourself as you mantra in the eye of your mind.
- Love Yourself-Hug yourself. Wrap your arms low around your arms wherever you are, and alternate gentle pats on arms (touch from yourself or others simulates oxytocin – the love and touch hormone bringing a biological shift into how you are feeling).
- Self-Kindness-When I am hard on myself I will acknowledge myself and be kind to me, I will treat myself how I would treat my best friend – with gentleness, kindness, and compassion. Whatever I would say to my friend I say to myself. Say what you need to hear.
- Journal with Heart-Write a letter to yourself, begin with Dear and your name and write how you are feeling and release on the page. Freeing your words allows them to lose some of their power over you. You can also write ways you will give yourself love and compassion.
- Move Your Body- Stand up and move in a way or ways that feels good for you. Change your energy by walking, running in place, getting close to the ground – into a child’s pose or downward dog. Movement helps trigger a response to the brain and can help shift our emotional state.
- Soften– it is okay – you are only human. This is your way of processing life, be kind to yourself.
Journal with Heart to Soothe My Inner Control Freak
Because I will never ask you to do something I haven’t done – here is a letter to myself.
I offer you love and compassion where it feels constricting. This letter is here to acknowledge you. Here I offer you love even when you feel like you don’t deserve it. I will awaken a part of you who will treat you how you treat your sisters and soul sisters. And when you are engulfed in life I will offer a hand on your heart and words, “I am feeling out of control right now because I can’t control this situation, and this is hard for me. I know I am not alone in feeling like this. Shelly, it is okay, breathe, slow down. I love you.”
I will acknowledge how you are feeling, I know you are being hard on yourself right now. It is okay when you can’t do everything. It is okay to ask for help. When you notice you are in control freak mode, pause and notice – ask yourself if I can let this one go? You can’t control everything even though you want to. I will say the things you need to hear and not the things you think you need to hear. I will comfort you and hug you. Sometimes I will say I have had enough and close my eyes because I know sleep re-centers you. I know you get exhausted and this need to control is a way of moving through it.
Everything is going to be okay; you are doing an incredible job. I am so proud of the woman you are today. I love you.
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