How do we cope with things we can’t control?

Keeping in mind last week’s post about boundaries, I’d like to chat about God’s pile (or whatever terminology works for you). That is, things that no one is responsible for but can sometimes leave us feeling overwhelmed, scared, and anxious. I’m referring to things like natural disasters, accidents, or illness. We can’t control whether or not these things happen, but if and when they do they can sure cause us a lot of grief. So what can we do about this? How can we ease the negative feelings around events that we have no control over?

Often when we feel like we don’t have control over something, we can feel helpless and disempowered. I find for a lot of people (myself included) that is where a lot of the stress comes from. What if instead of focusing on what we can’t control, we looked at what we can control? We maybe can’t change or control the situation, but we can control our response to it. For example, maybe we know we are going to be hit with a natural disaster. Living in Saskatchewan, I imagine a natural disaster to be a giant blizzard. I can’t change that the blizzard is coming, but I can take action to prepare myself. Maybe that means cancelling travel plans or packing a car safety kit. Maybe it means stocking up on essential cooking supplies or being equipped with an alternative power source in case the power goes out. Likewise, if we are diagnosed with an illness or a loved one is, maybe we want to shift our focus onto the things we can control, rather than what we can’t change.    

I love the idea of the piles and ensuring we are working on our pile, but that doesn’t mean that other piles can’t cause us hurt. It is a matter then of refocusing back on our own pile to figure out what we can control or be responsible for. Sometimes this might take a bit of creativity. Empower yourself in situations that seem overwhelming and I am confident you will feel differently about it.

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