How to Stop Being a Control Freak
As a former firefighter, Griff understands that we live in a stressful world, and now as a qualified meditation expert who holds popular seminars teaching us how to love ourselves and others, he wants to help you nourish your soul. Beyond that, he’s also a nutritional and emotional guide and strongly urges everyone to seek their optimal best.
We frequently get MindEasy users asking us, well almost everything…and we love it! So we’ll do our best to answer your questions. Feel free to contact us if you want to ask Griff… anything!
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I’m finding it really hard to stop being a ‘control freak’. I literally feel like I need to control everything and everyone around me, and it’s making me exhausted. What can I do?
Gillian, London, UK
The desire to have a level of control over your life and others can become a compulsive disorder, so it’s really important to know how to manage these excessive desires to control.
However, I’d also like to point out that it’s very common for us to want to feel like we’re in control – we’re busy people, often with chaotic lives, so wanting everything to be in place and neatly in order, is also very natural. It’s the degree of our reaction, which really determines whether it’s a problem or not.
So let’s pinpoint your need to control everything.
What was your childhood like? Some people grow up in an unstable home environment , perhaps from a broken family where a parent has left – this feeling of abandonment and not being able to control the moving parts of a household can leave us, as adults, feeling compulsive about control.
Or perhaps it stems from another situation which has left you feeling insecure – has your marriage broken down, did you lose your job, has a loved one passed away…?It’s worth looking through your past to figure out what has made you feel you need to control everything.
Ultimately, I imagine you’re feeling a mixture of anxious, angry, frustrated and stressed. So let’s see how we can help manage these negative feelings so that they don’t dominate your entire life.
A good way to manage an anxiety disorder is to take time out. When you feel you’re out of control, it’s worth taking a big breath – this will physically give you a second or two- to recognise you’re not in control and take the next step. You’re obviously an intelligent person, remain calm and think about your response.
Try this exercise to help:
Take a deep inhale through the nose, exhale through your mouth, and note how your body feels. Are you sweating? Do you feel tense? Acknowledge any tight feelings in your muscles and try to relax. When your body is tense, your heart rate will increase and it’s likely your mind will be racing with a million thoughts.
Keep breathing and as your breathe deeply, ask yourself what a reasonable reaction to the situation would be…what can you do? What’s the worst that can happen if I’m not in control? It’s worth having a couple of reactions to hand.
Exercise is also a really good way to help the mind calm down, if you have the opportunity, try going for a walk or run. When your body is active, it’ll give your mind time to think and consider: how should I react?
Remember that we are not perfect and it’s important to have compassion for people, so it’s important to react to whatever is happening in an agreeable manner. I believe it’s your desirable goal to manage this control- craving, so it’s worth looking at the bigger picture. Sometimes, you need to stop looking at smaller and less important things in life, and realise that it’s better to focus on more macro situations.