Illusion of Control: A Limiting Mind-Set
Have you ever noticed that things almost never turn out the way you expect them to? It’s a funny phenomenon. Our brains are constantly forecasting future events and possible problems; but most of the terrible things we spend our time worrying about pretty much never happen, at least a favorable percentage anyway.
The tricky situations we confront are far more difficult and painful to think about than they are to actually experience. This is because the solutions to any problem are always much more obvious in the present moment than they are before we actually encounter them.
Safe and Secure
The human mind loves to be in control. It makes us feel safe knowing that when we get out of bed each day, we have the power to make our own decisions and have control over how things play out..
This means that in order to feel safe we have this mechanism built into our make up that is constantly trying to figure things out — have you noticed? When we don’t know we assume. Ironically enough, it is this need to always be making assumptions that can be dangerous.
Illusion of Control
If you look back, you will realize that there has never been a situation that you have not been able to deal with so far. So armed with this knowledge, why do you even waste energy trying to make sense of the future?
The answer is something called `illusion of control`. As humans, we sometimes carry the mind-set that we are in control of critical aspects of our life. This makes us feel like we are the ones responsible for how life unfolds.
Even though this state of mind is designed to help us feel safe, it can actually become the root cause of anxiety and stress in most people.
When we try to put ourselves in control of everything that takes place in our life, we are imposing an impossible task on the subconscious mind. This forces our brain to work overtime trying to put everything in order.
What ends up happening is that the brain gets tired and eventually burns out, which causes stress and anxious feelings within the mind and body.
One of the main things that triggers anxiety is the loss of control — the mind is unable to handle chaos. We tend to worry that if we give up control, bad things will happen.
Illusion of control can become an unhealthy mind-set which can sometimes cause panic and negative energy in our life.
It is a scary thought to give up control and allow things to flow naturally, but just remember that life is meant to be experienced by the moment. There is always a solution and answers become obvious when we face things naturally.
It is a very healthy practice to focus on the things you can control in your life and build some momentum around some positive habits. Aside from that, enjoy the ride and embrace the unknown!
Releasing Yourself From Illusion of Control
- Meditation — Awareness is the first step in eliminating unnecessary thoughts while bringing your attention back into the present. This helps slow down our thinking by literally creating space between our thoughts. This practice is known to help us step away from emotional reactions — giving us the clarity to respond appropriately to situations. Effective meditation can help train your mind in an extremely positive way, in the same way exercise can strengthen the body.
- Challenging or creative activity — Engaging in activity such as writing, drawing, exercise, reading or doing something that you are extremely passionate about is an easy way to enter a state of ‘flow’. This is the mental state of mind where you feel completely immersed in the present moment, fully engaged with energized focus and joy. While you are in this state of mind, you tend to be less occupied with what might take place in the future. Instead, you will be overwhelmed with feelings of well-being and contentment.
- Gratitude — Being thankful is a powerful way to put things in perspective. Practicing daily gratitude might be the most effective strategy for eliminating limiting thoughts by focusing our attention on the positive things that we tend to overlook. Studies have proven that those who practice grateful thinking feel better about their lives as a whole, and are more optimistic about the future.
- Breathing Exercise — Practicing deep breathing is one of the most effective ways to trigger the relaxation response and release stress. Breathing is our connection with pure life. By focusing on the breath and bringing intention to how we breathe, we are cultivating a stronger energy into our awareness.
When we learn how to gain clarity over our thinking and how we react to situations, we develop awareness. We become less driven by our fears and better able to function in a more positive and productive way.