So, you’re a control freak?
Join the club.
Our culture us filled with people who look to what’s going on outside them as second nature, reach to problem solve before being asked, have their surroundings on lock down and a permanent antennae up. I can spot these people because I am one of them. I am a control freak. My thoughts go to things outside me plenty, I just don't act on them nearly as much as I used to. I have had my fair share of hyper vigilance and control it all, even if I don't understand what it is, tendencies. I mean plenty. I have also been wound tighter than the world's largest yoyo. I know how uncomfortable and addictive being controlling can be.
When thoughts of what they’re doing, or more often than not, what they’re not doing start ramping up and you’re doing for others what they can and probably should be doing for themselves, you can be sure you have entered the control freak zone.
Being a control freak means you mind other people’s business, you worry about what might not even be happening, count their drinks, keep a mental tally on the please and thank you’s of every conversation, the list goes on. I’m sure you know it well.
All these behaviors point to many things:
You are loving by nature.
You are responsible and capable.
Fear has taken your mind hostage.
While it comes in handy to get things done (and who doesn't love someone who loves?) these behaviors can drive people away and are simply exhausting to keep up. Managing the world is a grand task. Even Superman didn't succeed.
Are the down sides of being a control freak outweighing the ups?
If you are nodding with me already, here’s the bottom line: Anxiety has taken over.
Being a control freak in the world outside of you means the world inside is out of control. Anxiety and worry, aka Fear, are not being managed like they could be.
This is good news.
Scratch that, great news.
Anxiety is treatable.
Learning to manage thoughts and emotions is key in living an empowered and prosperous life. It starts and ends with simple steps. Establishing safety within is key, a place to start and finish. Here are a few how to’s in getting and staying out of the control freak danger zone.
Anxiety is calmed when a feeling of safety is present within. When breaths are shallow, the brain and body aren’t getting what they need. Once fight or flight kicks in, the mind and body become prime territory for anxiety and worry.
Acknowledge the thoughts and emotions.
Keep a small notepad nearby or pull up the notes section on your phone.
To start becoming more aware of your feelings, name them periodically throughout the day. When something more intense shows up, that’s an invitation to pay attention.
As you become more practiced with this emotional naming game, write the thoughts that show up with the feelings. Thoughts influence feelings. Recognizing both, how they’re independent of each other and very much linked, is powerful information to have. Naming what’s happening inside your body and mind means you can claim it and let it change. Putting words to experience takes the power out of it, hence anxiety has less fuel to run on.
When your impulse is to take over, give your two cents, or make an assumption, just pause. Wait five seconds (breathe) and if you still feel compelled to act, then by all means, do. Creating space between compulsion and behavior is part of the healing process. Refrain from the default for just a handful of seconds, and see what happens. The anxious thoughts might get louder. They’ll fade. Give something new, the less anxious more peaceful and effective thinking and doing, a chance in the limelight.
Try these simple to practice tools and techniques on for size. Do you see how your attention shifts from what’s going on around you to what is possible within you? Dreams come to life when the spotlight comes back to you. Take center stage and let everyone and everything you've been keeping track of do what they’ll do. Stop counting their drinks and start counting your breaths. Learn to be with the energy in you so it can work for you. Turn the control freak into the thriving zen master who gets things done and enjoys the benefits.
When you learn how to manage your anxiety and channel that energy into something more empowering, you actually become better able to handle things that come, effectively and fuss free. Trade in anxiety for effectiveness and ease. The people around you will probably want to be around you more, too.
Those sound like an appealing options to me.
Give these a chance & Get in touch with me for more one on one coaching and control freak remedies.
Loosen up & thrive on,
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas