Controlling Yourself & Dealing with Stressful Situations

May 2, 2023 By Admin

Throughout my 17 years as a counselor, I've come to realize that I may repeat the same phrases over again. I've noticed that I routinely question others "What can you control?"

As most people usually are stumped by this question, I follow it up by asking pretty specific questions such as: "Can you control the weather? Well, no. Can you control a newborn baby? No." Now, here comes the real question "Can we control others?" The answer is no.

The truth is that we can only control ourselves. We can control what we think in our heads, what we feel in our hearts, & what we do.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (AKA "CBT") believes that your thoughts effect your feelings, which then effect your actions. Thoughts are simply sentences in your head. Your thoughts can be of little consequence such as "I want a cheeseburger for lunch" or of a more internal belief such as "Nobody loves me." The importance of thoughts is nothing new. In fact, Scripture which was written over 2,000 years ago says in Psalms 23:7 "for as he thinks in his heart, so is he". So, pay attention to what you are thinking about.

Your thoughts then effect your feelings. A feeling is something you feel in your heart & it comes out in your body language. We learned as children that there are 3 major emotions: happy, mad, & sad. But, as an adult, we should realize there are many, many more including: excited, confused, worried, loving, and on and on it goes.

Actions simply are things that you do. In English class, we would call this a verb. This could include: hitting, screaming, crying, throwing things, & even doing nothing is an action.

If we can only control our own thoughts, feelings, & actions, we must then realize that so much of what happens in life is beyond our control.

Additionally, if we feel that we cannot control these 3 elements of ourselves, then one may consider seeking counseling and/or taking psychotropic medication prescribed by a physician in order to gain better control of ourselves in these areas.

It is important to acknowledge that while we can't control others or things outside of ourselves, it may still impact us.

Imagine that one person in your home goes to the AC thermostat and switches it from cold to heat. That one person's actions will impact everyone in the home. So, it is in life. While many things may be outside of your control, you may still be impacted.

Now consider your choices. Can you change the situation? If yes, then be brave and take action to correct the situation.

If you can't change the situation, the only thing you can change is how you deal with it.
Change your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Laura Langley, MS, LPC-S was born & raised in Southeast Texas. She earned both her Bachelor’s & Master’s degrees from the Psychology Dept at Lamar University. After graduating with her Master’s in 2005, she joined Samaritan Counseling Center in 2006 in order to complete her internship to become a Licensed Professional Counselor. She gained experience serving children, teens, adults, & couples. When her internship was completed in 2008, Laura began working with kids & teens in the foster care system as she accepted a job with Buckner Children & Family Services. In 2011, Laura moved out of the area & gained supervisory & management experience working for a local mental health authority (formerly known as a MHMR). Laura returned to Southeast Texas in 2015, where she began working for Family Services of Southeast Texas for the next 6 yrs. There she continued to provide counseling to individuals as well as lead classes in Parenting and also Anger Management. In October 2021, Laura returned to her roots by rejoining Samaritan Counseling Center. In addition to her 15+ yrs of experience, Laura brings with her welcoming personality, an eagerness to laugh, a desire to see people change while also meeting people “where they are”.

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