Stress: Who has Control?

This is the third post in my series of “are you plagued by stressful thinking patterns?” 

What are your beliefs about who is responsible for what happens in your life? Specifically, do you believe you have control over your life or are you being controlled by something or someone else?

We become stressed not because of the circumstance/event/situation, but because of our perception of it. If we firmly believe that we, rather than some outside force, have control over our lives, then we have internal control.  If we think that fate, luck, chance or others play a dominant role, we are externally controlled. Allowing ourselves to be controlled is giving up our power. This leads to stress. When we give away our power, it’s like waking up in the morning and asking someone else how we should feel.

Obviously we can’t be responsible for everything that happens to us but we can assume responsibility for our reaction to the situation. Acknowledging that it’s “up to us” builds self-confidence and a positive self-image.

To discover if you are externally controlled, go through this list and add up the number of times you answer “true”.  The more “trues” you have, the less you feel you are in control.

  • I need others to give me direction
  • I focus on external/material factors
  • I worry a lot
  • I feel controlled by others and things
  • The events in my life force me to be the way I am
  • I do not control my life
  • Luck and chance play an important role in my life
  • I drift through life waiting for something to happen
  • Others create the problems in my life
  • I don’t know how to do things for myself
  • I lack initiative
  • I feel a sense of helplessness
  • I feel empty and shallow
  • I eat compulsively
  • I am absent from work a lot
  • I don’t aspire to much
  • I feel demeaned
  • I experience inadequate intimate relationships

For more information about stress management techniques, contact me at evelin(AT) or visit my website

To read the first two posts in this series, go to:

Are you Stuck Living in the Past?

Do you Have a Poor Self Image?

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