Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Feeling Helpless?

My routine was dragging me down the other day. I was sat on the bus waiting to get off at the familiar bus stop when I thought of something. Why didn't I change the routine? Why didn't I walk a different way home?

Yeah, OK, so I admit it: making the decision to change my journey slightly has barely any significance to my routine- I thought the same at first until I thought about it further.

By changing that one little thing, that one little part of my journey, I was making a conscious effort to do something different- I was making a conscious effort to take hold of the situation and change it.

Image from www.emotionalcompetency.com
Helplessness like any other emotion can overwhelm us if we don't recognise it for what it is and take steps to protect itself against it. Whilst it is important to recognise that it is impossible to not feel helpless at all we can adopt an attitude or plan of action to help us take steps to overcoming it.

When we feel helpless we forget that, the majority of the time, we are there by our own omission or by making a conscious decision to be in a situation.

The truth is, the majority of the time, we can take control again.

How? Remember that you are in control of your own life and, therefore, in control of your own decisions.
  • When you applied for a job, did you select the job?
  • When you cooked yourself a meal, did you decide what you were having? How you were going to prepare it?
  • When you got dressed this morning, did you choose what you were going to wear for yourself?
Each of these is a decision that you have made by yourself. Each of these are an instance where you have made a conscious effort to take action, even if it's something as seemingly insignificant as choosing what to have for breakfast.

You have taken control and navigated all of these situations in the way in which you wanted.

So how do you take the power back? How do you find a way to feel less helpless and take matters back into your own hands?

Here's a few tips:
  1. Try and take a step back and think about it logically. Now, this isn't always easy to do- especially when you're in an emotionally charged situation and there seems to be a lot at stake- but sometimes the best way to find a solution to something is to look at the problem at a new angle. If you're in a job that you don't particularly like but need to stick with for the moment, is there something you can do to make it more enjoyable such as starting a project or learning a new skill from it? If you have a hobby you enjoy to do outside of work, can you introduce it to your job or find ways to bring it into your day?
  2. Bring something new into your day. Why don't you treat yourself to something different on your dinner break and have a favourite meal or, if you're on a budget, how about just going to the park or reading part of your favourite book?
  3. Shake it up. If you start the day doing one thing, see if you can do something different instead. Say the first thing you do is check your emails, why don't you finish a document or piece of work first and then check it? Or if you have a shower first thing in the morning, why don't you have a long hot bath at night?
Don't forget, it is all about you taking control of the situation. You can take charge, you can make changes- you are in control of your own life. You are the most powerful person in your life as it is down to you where you go with your life and what you do with it- not your boss, not your partner- you!

Do you have any other ideas on how to feel less helpless, leave your suggestions in the comments!