Back to Blog

How to Stop Worrying About Things You Can't Control

There are so many things that happen in your life that you have absolutely no control over. Some of these things may bring you happiness, joy and excitement, and others may not be so positive. It’s easy for anxious thoughts and worries to take over when you feel like you are not in control of a situation, especially when there will be personal repercussions. But there is no use worrying about things you can’t change or control, right? You’ve heard it before, and everyone knows that it’s a lot easier said than done. These tips are here to help guide you onto the journey of reducing those thoughts and feelings and being able to work through them when they do occur. 

What Can You Control? 

Instead of focusing on the things you can’t control, think about all the things that are in your control and that you can make choices about. If you wake up with negative thoughts, make that choice and consciously decide that actually, you are happy today. You can control your attitude, and using this control will minimize any invasive anxieties. The mind is a very powerful thing. You need to begin working with it to develop a mindset that doesn’t involve worry. It may take time, and you may not be successful every time you try, but progress will not be linear, and that’s okay.

Work Through Your Worry

When you feel those worries creeping in, don’t ignore them or try to push them back into the darkness. This will only let them fester and grow until they become completely uncontrollable and lead you towards unhappiness. You have to grab them by the scruff of the neck and work your way through them. If you sense a niggling worry emerging, begin by assessing the situation. The first thing to do is ask yourself: Do I have control over the outcomes of this situation? If the answer is yes, think about what actions you have to take to achieve the outcome you desire. 

If the answer is no, consider the possible outcomes. Think about how you would feel if each of the scenarios occurred and why you would feel that way. It’s the answer as to why you have those feelings that should determine your actions. For example, you have an interview for a promotion at work, but you don’t think you will get it and that there is no point in trying. Here, you’re worried that your colleagues will think you are not good enough and you don’t want to be disappointed. You feel this way because you don’t feel adequately prepared. This is then what you have to react upon.

Reacting with Intention

Getting deep down into your worries and finding the root cause then means you can react to this in a way that is going to be beneficial to you. You need to consider the best route to your ideal scenario, and this usually involves talking to someone. Communication is key when working towards a desired outcome. In the example, you have realized that you are having these worries because you don’t feel prepared, which is what you then need to do. Talk to your colleagues and manager to get advice and tips. Take this information and use the internet to build on your knowledge further until you feel and believe that you deserve this promotion. 

This is a good method to use within your relationships too. When someone else does or says something that brings up feelings, use this method of working through them, finding the root cause and then reacting with intention. In personal relationships, this usually involves you setting boundaries. For example, if you feel hurt, you react with the intention to prevent it in the future instead of reacting emotionally. By working through your feelings and unhappiness, you are creating an element of control which will cause you to worry less and less.

Alter Your Internet Diet

The internet can be a deep dark hole of negativity that sucks you in for hours on end with mindless unproductivity. But there are also many positive things and knowledge that you can gain from the internet. Your mind and body work in similar ways. Just like exercising and eating healthy helps you grow stronger and feel better, so does working and feeding your mind. Start replacing online games, shopping and reality news for self-development. Instead of reading about all the unhappiness in the world, read something that you can learn from. 

There are so many inspirational people that you can find on the internet to help you come out the other side without all the worries and unhappiness. Ed Latimore is a great one to start with. He plunges even further into the world of emotional mastery, giving you and your mind those street-smart skills to be the best version of yourself. Use the internet to develop yourself by reading Ed Latimore’s notes on unhappiness and learning to live with a more positive mindset.

Social Media Detox

Sometimes it feels like social media has taken over the world, and it goes hand in hand with that bad mental diet if not used for the right reasons. When you find yourself scrolling, try and take note of how certain posts make you feel, and if there is any negativity in there at all, cull it. Unfollow that toxicity, and instead find accounts that only make you feel positive, or those that you can learn from. 

There are so many online movements that have been created for people to come together and make each other feel good. You don’t need to compare your life to perfect looking influencers and celebrities that make you feel inadequate. Because firstly, you aren’t, and secondly, it’s not real. By filling your feeds with positive and inspirational people that you can learn from and feel good about, you are reducing your intake of worry and anxiety provoking inputs. Even better, try ghosting out on social media and not using it at all. You’re guaranteed to see a huge effect on your mindset and attitude to life!

Positive Affirmations

People find it really difficult to talk about themselves, and especially when finding good things to say. You are the only one of you, and you are the only person you are going to have with you for your entire life. If you aren’t going to big yourself up, how can you expect others to? Adding positive affirmations into your daily routine will boost your confidence and reduce your stress and worries. It’s hard at first, but telling yourself that, “I am strong”, “I am confident”, “I have got this”, or whatever it is that you need to hear, at least once a day, actually makes you start to believe it. The more you do it, the more you will see your attitude begin to shift and your worries fade away, because you know that you have got this, and everything is going to work out. 

Life has a habit of throwing things at you, but giving you absolutely no control over the situation at all. When this happens, your mind can work against you, leading you to worry and stress. However, by working through these feelings and altering your attitude, you can nip these worries in the bud quickly and efficiently, so you can get back to living your best life.

MIKE VENY'S WEEKLY EMAIL 

FREE dose of exclusive wellness and D&I insights for HR leaders.