Friday, 14 January 2011

Is it Within Your Control?

Everyone gets into situations where they are frustrated, angry, anxious or upset about something that is happening.

Sometimes those apparently negative emotions can be a positive impetus which gets you take useful action and to do something to change a situation for the better.

On other occasions, the thing that you are worried about may not be something within your control. Indeed it may be something over which you have no influence at all.

If that is the case then continuing to focus on the problem which you can do nothing about may simply fuel your negative emotions.

So sometimes when you are feeling angry or anxious about something three practical questions to ask are:

1. What are the outcomes I would like from this situation?

2. Is it within my control to achieve that outcome?

3. If it is not within my control, is there still something I might do to influence the outcome or increase the likilihoood of it happening?

If you can influence the outcome by your actions, then it makes sense to assess the likely advantages of taking action against any downsides and decide on that basis whether to act.

However, if you don't think you can influence the outcome by your actions, then it may be more practical to ask yourself what you can do to achieve a different outcome: the outcome of dealing with your frustrations or coping with the situation if it persists.

This might involve focusing on something else other than the situation to take your mind off it, or it might involve reminding yourself to be patient or asking yourself if there is a different way in which you can look at your situation (for example, you might start to view it as a challenge or an opportunity to practise your skills of patience or to build relationships with people who feel the same way as you about the situation). Or you might decide to seek external support for yourself in the situation.

Why bang your head against a brick wall if it is not improving the situation?

Additional Coaching Resources available at: Coaching, CBT & Self-Help Ideas

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