News • 26 May 2020

Four steps to gain control of your mental health

Four steps to gain control of your mental health

For the past three months, things seemed to be entirely out of control. When the world around you might not be in the best shape, it’s a chance for you to regain control of your own mental health and wellbeing.

There are many things in life that are out of our control—from the small annoyances to the larger tragedies.

While we can’t control what others think, say or do, we can control our own reactions and emotions. 

Loss of control can make you feel overwhelmed, powerless or helpless.

However, showing control is essential to your mental health as well as your primary motives, behaviours and environmental awareness.

Having control in the most uncontrollable circumstances—such as right now during the COVID-19 pandemic—will make you a stronger person, mentally.

Here is your chance to take control of your emotions and live a better life.

The link between control and mental health

Having control is an innate human ability. It’s ingrained in our everyday life to be in control of our environment, behaviour and competencies.

Having too much control, however, can lead to overstimulation and a potentially debilitating mental state. This is seen in some people’s overwhelming need to always be in charge.

This constant need to be in control of yourself and those around you can often lead to feeling depressed, frustrated or incapable.

Minimal control—or the feeling of autonomy, whether in the workplace or in your personal life—can lead to boredom and unfulfillment.

The balance of feeling in control of your close proximity and your mental wellbeing exudes an aura of confidence, self-assurance and dependability.

Acceptance and control of your mental health

Speaking up and accepting you might be going through a tough time mentally is a challenging feat. 

The notion that you’re unable to control your mental state is a discriminatory and crippling emotion to feel.

Awareness is an effective trait in lessening the symptoms or outcomes of mental health.

Therefore, although you may not be able to control the fact that you have anxiety, for example, you can control your own life and happiness by awareness of the issue and the interventions that benefit your wellbeing. 

Don't fixate on what's out of scope

It’s demoralising to know we can’t control everything—those situations where there’s nothing we can do.

The world—especially now—and our personal lives have plenty of those moments and the constant worrying of what’s outside our scope is absorbing too much mental energy.

Don’t fixate on what you can’t control it.

Don’t get caught up in trying to find the perfect answer or solve the problem.

If there are situations that have you feeling hopeless, take a step back, move a little slower and take a breath.

Your mental state is not permanent

A few weeks back, we identified the best practices to acknowledge your emotions in order to react, empathise and take control of your mental state.

Developing an emotional intelligence is an imperative step in seizing control of your feelings.

Therefore, if you’re feeling anxious, stressed or panicked, the sense of calm will eventually return.

Recognising how you’re feeling, and how that isn’t normal, reflects on how that emotion will pass.

Escaping the anxious feedback cycle and letting go of searching for constant mental reassurance will give you back control and allow you to return to a normal mental state.

Regaining control

We’ve discovered that there’s no point in trying to control the uncontrollable. Instead, why not focus rebuilding control in your own mind?

It could mean different things to everyone—whether it’s affirming a more positive mindset each day or relinquishing the physical need to be dominant over someone else’s emotions.

A good practice to take is to create a list of things that have kept you from doing the things that you wanted in the past but your mental state possibly prevented.

A list keeps you accountable for your actions while tracking your progress in regaining control of your mental wellbeing.

Further, think about your own core values. What are the traits within yourself that mean the most to you, and are you abiding by them?

To stay up-to-date on COVID-19 (coronavirus) and Open Minds, visit our health alert page. This page will be continually updated as new information becomes available.