Why Do We Feel The Need To Control Things

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Ever felt like things are spinning out of control? It must have been an unpleasant experience to say the least… We as humans have a deep need for a sense of control. When we feel out of control, we experience a range of powerful and very uncomfortable emotions, including tension, feeling powerless, of being unable to do anything about it. In reality, we do not actually have to be in control of things all the time; what we really seek is a sense of control. For example, when our parents controlled us when we were younger, we perhaps felt content because we trusted them to provide us the control we were seeking in our lives. Once we leave the nest, we continue to seek some sense of control by looking for advice from professionals, experts, and people in authority. When we experience a sense of control, we experience a sense of certainty, an understanding how things work, we are able to predict what will happen next, we are able to complete things, and hold on to the belief that people are consistent in their action.

Control is embedded in most of what we do. Think about rituals. Not only they are everywhere but they are intended to reassure us that everything is as it is and provide familiar framework for our daily lives. In addition to that, social norms and values tell us what to do, how to do things, what is right and wrong, what is good and what is bad. When everyone in a group follows the same norms and values as you do, you feel a sense of control. When you feel the sense of control, not only do you feel better, you feel happier.

I value the importance of having a sense of control because it has been linked with physical and mental health. People who feel in control of their lives report to feel happier, have better health, experience less physical aches and pains, recover faster from illness, and live longer. In conclusion, it is very important for us to feel in control even if we are not. Therefore I want you to ask yourself: “What I am in control of?” and “What are the things that are outside of my control?”

 

All the best,

 

Aneta

Spring Cleaning: Emotions Edition

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Spring brings the urge to clean, purge and get rid of the excess junk piling up in that corner of the room. You know exactly which one I am talking about 😉 However, I encourage you to think about a different type of cleaning. Spring brings the craving to refresh and have a sense of renewal.  It is an opportunity to let go of what is getting in the way, mentally or emotionally. It is difficult to get rid of that mental clutter. How does one simply get rid of something that has been around forever? In this instance, how does someone rid an old belief that is perhaps negative? Or something that has been occupying you for quite some time?

 

We start by releasing those negative thoughts. And with that we must really begin to identify and clarify our wants. Is it that easy? Not really. It is challenging because we are constantly evolving in our thoughts from our to do lists to things that are not that urgent. How do we become more connected to ourselves and our wants? Allow yourself to truly relax and just be. Stillness allows connection with our deeper selves. Meditation can help you with this.

 

As a therapist, I am preaching on a mountaintop about how important self-care is. No, I am not going to tell you to join a yoga class or go get your nails done. Don’t get me wrong, that is considered self-care. What I am really challenging you to do is give your mind some mental clarity by allowing yourself to sit and do nothing. I call this my “stare at the wall time”. Sometimes, you just need to sit back and really allow yourself to be present in that moment and refine your thoughts. Inhale the positive and exhale the negative.

 

With that being said, when stillness is present, we see more clearly how we want to live.  We can then set our intentions for how we want to live: having more positive relationships, focusing on your health, surrounding yourself around good energy and people, etc. Essentially, we are creating the life desired to live.

 

Happy Spring Cleaning,

Jennifer

Healthy Communication

The Most Common Communication Mistakes Couples Make
And The Profound Impact a Small Shift Can Have on Your Relationship

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Think about the last argument, you and your significant other had…. What did you say? How did they respond? It may have sounded something like:

You never listen to me!”
“You’re always on your phone, you don’t care about spending time with me!”

We are all guilty of using statements like these. Statements that start with “you” and use absolutes like “always” and “never.” When we feel emotional or upset, it’s easy to blame our partner for the way we feel. When we communicate using “you” statements, we direct blame towards our partner, causing them to feel defensive. This form of communication can quickly escalate from an intention to communicate your feelings, into a class A, full-blown fight.

THE SHIFT: “I statements” and how to use them

“I statements” are a form of communication that help you take personal responsibility for your emotions- rather than falsely attributing them to your partner. They help you assertively communicate how a problematic behavior in your partner, effects you- without judgement or blame.

MAKING AN “I STATEMENT”:

Remember, the intention of an “I statement” is to express how you feel in response to your partner’s behavior. This includes using words that describe your emotions such as “angry, anxious, lonely, content, happy, excited”.
BEWARE OF “YOU STATEMENTS” DISGUISED AS “I STATEMENTS” !

Using statements such as ” I feel ignored, manipulated, controlled….” These are “you statements” and descriptions of your partners behavior. These are not words that describe emotions.
Another common mistake when using “I statements” is saying “I feel like you are ignoring me…” This statement implies blame and there is not a description of any emotions.

To better understand how to shift a “you statement” into an “I statement”, check out the chart below:

 

 

With a little education and practice, a fundamental shift happens. Partners learn to take individual responsibility in managing their emotions while accurately expressing themselves to their partner. Couples feel a greater sense of understanding for one another and this increases their bond in a profound way!

The Centered Life Team