You Can Control More Than You Dare to Believe

(Read in :03)“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” ~Steve Maraboli

Raise your hand if you think life is hard sometimes. Say aye if you’ve ever had your dreams shattered. Take one step forward if you’d like to change something that happened to you or could take back a choice you made. I dare say almost 100% of us raised our hand, said aye or stepped forward. Most of us could even answer yes to every question.

As much as we hate to accept it, life isn’t fair and that reality isn’t ever likely to change. Sometimes things just stink and there is no way around it. In fact, there is really only one thing that can change and that is the person staring at us from the mirror.

“You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt with. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding.” ~Cheryl Strayed

But wait, there’s more we can control

When we say we can control our response, it sounds like there’s only one thing we can do when life deals us a bad hand. Not true, there are lots! Admittedly, they aren’t always easy but we have the power to take charge of our thoughts and actions.

Our habits. We always have the ability to choose the better way. We can choose to skip the donut, eat the salad, go to bed earlier, enter every check, do the dishes, call our mom. Or not. But why not?

Our breathing. Feeling stressed? Focus on your breathing. Inhale deeply, exhale completely. Do it again. Deep cleansing breaths are often a quick way to re-center yourself.

Our monkey mind. We all have the constant babble of internal chatter going on and it’s almost 100% negative. We can train ourselves to let those ugly thoughts drift by without acknowledging them. Soon, they’ll have disappeared down the river. Furthermore, offer some self-kindness in your thoughts. Tell yourself “I am enough, I’m loved, I feel calm.”

Our words. Practice taking a breath and pausing before you spout off in anger. There’s an old adage that says three things cannot be retrieved; a sped arrow, a missed opportunity, and a harsh word. You’ll seldom regret saying less.

And that’s just the start of what we can control

Our body language. We can almost immediately change our entire outlook by standing up straight, shoulders relaxed and squared, chin up. It conveys confidence and somehow it mysteriously makes us feel more confident. Give it a shot! Put your hands on your hips to add authority to your stance.

Our facial expression! As I sat in a restaurant recently I was absolutely horrified when I looked at the faces around me. I’m not kidding. Most people, even those sharing a meal with family or friends looked angry, irritated, depressed or bored. There is solid scientific research that proves smiling makes us believe we’re happier and almost magically our brain chemistry actually changes. Try it! It takes being intentional about it but it’s amazing! I’ve experimented with it and the difference is unbelievable. And fun! “Smile and the world smiles with you”… it works!

In truth, the list of what we can control is actually much longer than we think it is. What else can you think of that can turn things around for you? The right music? Being outdoors? Exercise? Wait! I didn’t mention spending time with people who make you a better man or woman, but it’s huge! Some days you need one, other days you can be one!

“Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.”~Emory Austin


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