One of the most anxiety provoking and depressing things about any stressful situation or mental health issue is the feeling that it is outside of your control. Odds are your doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist may be able to give you an educated hypothesis about why your symptoms developed, but he or she will not be able to tell you exactly how you got this sick or what the cause was. You may no longer enjoy things you used to. You may find yourself feeling anxious in situations that you used to flourish in. You may begin to worry that you will never feel like yourself again. Because there are very few things about life that are within your control, it becomes important to learn to differentiate what you can control from what you can’t and to avoid trying to control things you can’t. Once you learn to differentiate, coping is still difficult. There are many different things you can try that may help you. I often find that people really benefit from and like the serenity prayer as a beginner’s coping skill. Though it has been stereo typically used by Alcoholics Anonymous, no matter who you are it can serve as a reminder to people who are struggling with accepting what is out of their control as such. If you aren’t a religious person, just take out the reference to God and it works just as well. The serenity prayer goes something like this: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Need help learning to tell the difference between things you can and cannot control? Or wanting to learn how to manage feeling out of control? Schedule an appointment for therapy or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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