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Are you wasting your energy focusing on things you cannot change? Thinking too much about situations where you have no control or experiences that have already happened? Oftentimes, we get so wrapped up in what’s happening in the world and political systems, in what the neighbors are doing, and in the mistakes we’ve made, that we lose focus on what we CAN DO right here, right now to help make our lives and those around us better.

Focusing on that over which you have no control (the past, the state of the world, and the drama of other people’s lives…to name a few) is a common cause of stress. This type of thinking makes us feel powerless, leading to feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and depression, which are all key players in the game of stress. I could go on and on about the myriad of the side effects from stress, but you can check them out for yourself while we focus on what you CAN DO to switch your thinking from what you should have done to what you will do now.

This week, I want to challenge you to pay attention to what thoughts are taking up real estate in your mind.

When you are ruminating about people and situations over which you have no control, jot down a quick line about the issue at hand. Over the course of the week, what patterns are you discovering? What is the content of your predominant thoughts? How do they make you feel?

Now, make a plan to Do Something. If it’s politics that sets you into a tailspin, volunteer for a political campaign, get to know the issues, VOTE. If it’s an ethical or world issue (e.g. animal welfare, bullying, the environment, researching/living with/preventing/curing a particular disease), volunteer for an organization focusing on that particular agenda.

Now, to the biggie. How often are you ruminating about the past? When you find yourself living anywhere but in the present moment, ask yourself why you are still holding onto the past incident or regret. Try to break down what really happened. Once you have established the facts around the scenario, dial into what you are meant to learn from the experience and use that information to inform your decisions now.

Remaining in a state of frustrated helplessness takes a toll, physically and emotionally. You can relieve stress and feel more empowered by getting into action. Being part of the solution instead of stressing about the problem will contribute to your ability to build a more peaceful and productive life. You have the power to change your life and your perspective. Do not give that power to politicians, lawmakers, your neighbors, or anyone else. Most of these people you do not even know, so why be dominated by their choices? And the ones you do know most likely do not want to have power over your thoughts and feelings. Keep your side of the street clean and use your special talents to make life better. Interestingly enough, you will make others’ better in the process.

Share your thoughts and comments with us. Let’s start a rich dialogue with the focus on what is possible rather than what is wrong. I am curious to see what changes you notice physically and mentally when you become aware of your thoughts and flip the script.

I hope you have a meaningful week, filled with positive action, and, as always, take care of you.

Love Love Love

Terri


Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Tune Up Tips and follow her on Twitter.

*Photo Credit: Erin McGuire via Compfight cc