The biggest moment of your life is right now.
What makes right now so important? You have a choice to make-The choice is to decide.
The word control comes with a lot of responsibility, sometimes more than what we may be aware of. Knowing what exactly your intentions are with the word “control” as well as being aware of the consequences of all actions, are a few of many different ways to master the “impossible”-your life- and be the person you want to be. Ask yourself the cliche question, “Would I have any regrets if today were my last day?”. If there is even a hint of yes, some evaluating might be a intelligent long-term decision for you.
There are several areas of life that we will describe, and although they are numbered in a list, there is no order to carry them out, if that is indeed what you wish to do. For optimal efficacy, all parts should be covered and focused on equally. But first, let us ask ourselves some questions.
Who are you right now? Who do you desire to be? Is the answer to both of those questions the same? Is there any area of your life in which you are not content? What are the aspects of your life that cause you discomfort or nervousness? Have you ever considered where you might be 5,10,30 years from now?
After reading some of these questions over, if you feel any confusion, you are in the right place. If your answers to these questions are crystal clear, then this may be some pleasure reading. Either way, it can’t hurt! Let’s begin.
- Revise your definition of control.
We tend to use the word control in a lot more areas than we may think: what and how we drive a car, what we wear, what we eat, what we read, what we listen to, and what we spend our time doing. While we “control” all of these things, really all we control is the ability to make a choice. And by “controlling the ability”, we actually only control which choice we make, not the ability to choose itself; that is embedded in our nature. Yes you can choose what and how you drive, but you never got to choose that what cars are available, and the mechanisms behind a moving vehicle. Narrow down the word to how you choose to respond to the life you have been given.
- Find balance in your body.
Not only does this apply to actual balance-how well you stand on one leg or do a side plank, but the amount of sleep, how well you eat, and the quality and amount of exercise you partake in are several crucial parts to finding balance. Time management within these areas, as well as every day, are very important to finding balance. Spending all day eating-or not eating- is not balanced, nor is sleeping for 14 hours or only sleeping for 4. It is beneficial to exercise, but running a marathon the second day of starting to run is probably not the smartest choice. How much time you spend in front of a screen, how much time you spend talking and listening (more time listening than talking), and the quality of what you are absorbing (5 senses, who you surround yourself with, what you spend your free time doing, etc.) are all key factors in finding balance.
- Become aware.
Bring your best effort to every task you are doing, whether it be washing the dishes, pumping out that paper or quota, or getting to sleep. In order to know that your best effort is present, become aware of your body. Your thoughts. Your mood. Every single movement and action that you do, all the way down to your the depth, speed, and volume of your breathing. Notice every little twitch and blink, every muscle contraction and sound going on inside your body. Notice how fast you chew, how far apart you step, where you place your hands when you talk or sit or stand. Sound impossible? Do not fret, we will discuss that in a minute.
- More exercise.
Exercise cannot be emphasized enough, it does wonders for our consciousness and bodies, releasing endorphin’s, balancing out serotonin/dopamine, and improving our mood. Try different practices of yoga or Pilates, martial arts, different forms of meditation, and breathing exercises as well. It is much easier to be in control of your actions and make choices that are beneficial when you are happier, and in a better mood. Feeling trapped is common when sadness and depression wash over us. Going on a walk, jog, or doing push-ups or sit-ups can completely change your whole day with just a few minutes invested. I have got into the routine of doing at least 25 push-ups every single day, and immediately I feel better. Now that I know that I will feel better, I do them whenever I feel stuck.
Physically writing out your issues, or what is bothering you, or even just your thoughts, is extremely beneficial. Yes, typing them out can be just as helpful, but writing with a pen or pencil (and this is subjective, do what works best for you) gives clarity and a deep understanding of why thoughts become so troubling. It will not help if you think about doing it but never actually do it.
The biggest key to taking control of your life is to take action.
Doing it, whatever “it” is, is the only way your life will change the way you would like it to. You cannot control what the person at the stoplight in front of you is doing. You cannot control where you are born or who you are born to. In a partial sense (meaning until we learn to control our reactions), we cannot control our thoughts. We cannot decide that a certain event triggers a certain memory, we cannot control what someone else will say or feel. All that we can control is how we respond to what we have been given.
Only once we have mastered our bodies-its easier than you think-can we then completely control what thoughts bubble up into our minds.
Consider this for a second: Since we are all human beings, and all of us are pretty much built the same (yes there are exceptions, but even then they are still in the realm of human being), can it not be true that we all have the same potential? Because we all need to breathe, all need to eat and sleep in order to survive, and since all of us have been sad as well as happy, (no matter how big or small) do we not all have the ability to be in control of our lives?
This is not the egotistical version of control, where everything needs to behave a certain way, or only things that pertain to our controlled liking will exist (i.e. tornadoes). We have been given life, we have been given the choice and free will in which to succeed or fail, and while either one can happen, why wouldn’t you pick the positive?
A quick Google search can help you find a plethora of helpful tools and tips on how to find balance and help make healthy choices, this here may help as well.
After reading all of this, you might think, “wow, that’s a lot to manage, that is too much for me to handle, I am overwhelmed now that I have started to become aware of myself” etc. Firstly, part of the reason of becoming aware of your body is to stop the incessant thinking that you were previously doing. If the thought does not pertain to right now, or if it does not affect your short or long term future, why worry about it? The other purpose for becoming aware of your body is to simplify your life.
Focus on this and watch that and be aware of all of these things is supposed to be simple? Yes of course. The reason your first response when reading posts like this is overwhelmed is because you have been trained to think that way, whether it be by others, yourself, or a combination of both. If you weren’t overwhelmed when reading this, you probably are already be a master of your life, and hence would not need to read this!
The act of noticing your whole body is simpler than you think. Start with your breathing. Every meditation, every exercise and teacher will at some point emphasize on breathing, if not the very first thing to notice. If you can notice your breathing, you can notice everything. The secret lies within yourself: we are already programmed to do all of this. A large majority of what your body does you aren’t even aware of. Your body simplifies most all of your processes, allowing you to focus on everyday life, each present moment.
If you are paying attention to your breathing, everything else will fall into place. Your worry of worrying or whatever it may be will subside, if you focus on your breathing. This does not mean stop doing everything and only breathe for the rest of your life. It means that rational and simple thought processes are created when you are in control of your breath. When you realize that you are only ever having one thought at a time, that you can only ever give full and complete attention on one task or item at a time, you will find that there is no need to try and multitask, thus giving you control over your life.
As in any aspect of life, balance is key.