You only have so much time and energy to spend each day. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to exhaust your resources on anything that you can’t influence. Worrying about the rain won’t make it stop. Being annoyed by the fact that you’re only 5’ 2” tall isn’t going to cause you to grow.
However, we spend much of our time and energy in negative emotional states over issues that are beyond our control.
Most of the negative thoughts you have each day are analogous to being upset over the weather. There’s simply nothing you can do about it. You’re only upsetting yourself needlessly.
There are really only two things you can control:
- Your actions
- Your thoughts
The time you spend “doing” and “thinking” is all that you can manipulate. You can choose what food you put in your mouth and how much you exercise. You can choose whether you watch TV or clean the house. You control whether you apologize to someone or not.
You can choose to think happy thoughts or thoughts that make you unhappy.
When you focus on what you can influence, you’ll find that you can accomplish so much more!
Use these strategies to keep your attention on what you can do today:
- At the beginning of each hour, ask yourself how you can best spend the next 60 minutes. How can you use the next hour to your advantage? Asking this question will keep your mind in a productive mode. Ask yourself what you can do today that will matter.
- When you catch yourself worrying, ask yourself if this is something you can control. If you can’t do anything about it, steer your attention to something else. Learn to either focus on solutions or to let go of the situation. This approach just takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets!
- Be aware of your goals. Without something to point your focus toward, you’re more likely to spend your time worrying about things beyond your ability to influence. Knowing your goals will help you determine how to spend your time wisely.
- Know the difference between influence and control. For example, you can influence others, but you can’t control them. Use your influence wisely but recognize the limits.
- Center your thinking on solutions. Are you seeking answers or wallowing in your problems? Mentally rehashing the past accomplishes little. Using your incredible brain power to solve challenges is a great use of your time. When you catch yourself thinking too much, ask yourself if you’re thinking wisely.
- Review each day. Each evening, reflect on your day. How much did you accomplish? Were your thoughts and actions productive? Or did you waste time on things beyond your control? When you spend time on this important activity, you’ll notice your behavior and choices beginning to shift.
Much of life is beyond your control. From the decisions made by the CEO of your company to global warming, there are many things in life that you can’t control to a significant degree.
However, there are a few things that you can control completely. This is where your time, thoughts, and energy can do the most good.
Avoid focusing on circumstances that you simply can’t influence. Why upset yourself further when no solution exists? The greatest gift you have is your attention. Put it to the best possible use.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.