18 Apr

INTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL & STRESS RELIEF

Do you have ‘locus of control’ of your life or are you propelled by whatever life throws at you?  Okay, you ask, “what do you mean by locus of control?”  The term ‘locus of control’ refers to whether you feel your life is controlled by YOU or by forces outside yourself.

Those with an internal locus of control feel that they have choices in their lives and control over their circumstances.  They feel they control their own destiny, rather than their fate being largely determined by external forces; conversely, those with an external locus of control feel more at the mercy of external events.

As you may have guessed, those with a more internal locus of control tend to feel happier, more free, and less stress. They also enjoy better health (likely because they experience less of the damaging chronic stress that can come from feeling powerless), and are more satisfied with life in general.

On the other end, those with an external locus of control are more susceptible to depression as well as other health problems, and tend to keep themselves in situations where they will experience additional stress, feeling powerless to change their own circumstances, which just adds to their stress load.

So I ask again, Do you have internal locus of control?  If you don’t, then am sure your life is more of a roller coaster – buffeted by all the ups and downs that you come across.
Your locus of control can be shaped by events in your childhood or adulthood (whether you were able to have a strong impact on your environment can lead to a sense of empowerment or of learned helplessness) and perpetuated by habitual thinking patterns.

If you feel your locus of control could use a shift here is a 5 point process to practice:

  1.   Realize that you always have the choice to change your situation. Even if you don’t like the choices available at the moment, even if the only change you can make is in your attitude, you always have some choices.
  1. When you feel trapped, make a list of all possible courses of action. Just brainstorm and write things down without evaluating them first.
  1. You may want to also brainstorm with a friend to get more ideas that you may not have initially considered. Don’t shoot down any ideas or suggestions right away, either; just write them down.
  1. When you have a list, evaluate each one on a scale of 1 – 10, and decide on the 3 that has the highest marks are the best course of action for you, and keep the others in the back of your mind as alternative options. You may end up with the same answer you had before the brainstorming session, but this exercise can open your eyes to the amount of choices you have in a given situation. Seeing new possibilities will become more of a habit.
  1. Repeat this practice when you feel trapped in frustrating situations in your life. In more casual, everyday situations, you can still expand your mind to new possibilities by doing this quickly and mentally.  (Do give me a feedback.)

More Tips:

  1. Notice your language and self talk. If you tend to speak in absolutes, STOP!
  1. Phase out phrases like, ‘I have no choice’, and, ‘I can’t…” You can replace them with, ‘I choose not to,’ or, ‘I don’t like my choices, but I will…’ Realizing and acknowledging that you always have choice (even if the choices aren’t ideal) can help you to change your situation, or accept it more easily if it really is the best of all available options.

3. Your attitude affects your stress level more than you may realize.

Be positive in all that you do and if you have any need for more help, do get in touch – email:laila@lailastmd.com

 

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