We have an epidemic of busy-ness. If you’re not bothered by it, then, congratulations, you probably haven’t been caught up in it. On the other hand, if you are like a lot of us in feeling that there are just so many things you ‘have to do’, or that you are not in control of your life, then read on.

By the way, it’s possible to be caught up in this epidemic without realising it. Some people experience it through their feelings, not their thoughts and realisations.

Signs and symptoms

Frustration, impatience and irritability, feelings of regret and having ‘missed out’, resentment or even hopelessness can all be signs that a person is swamped by events and feeling unable to be in charge of their own life.

The cumulative effects for some people is that they can find it harder to make decisions, they may even feel that their confidence in themselves begins to wane.

One of the harmful effects of constant demand and life’s pressures is that we lose touch with ourselves; we start behaving mindlessly and automatically in an escalating cycle.

Take back control

You can take back a sense of control by consciously deciding to. You may not be able to influence events, nor the demands other make of you, but you can change the way you react, and the way you feel. By making a decision to punctuate your day with a little ritual that’ll keep you grounded, you will be able to better stay in touch with yourself and regain a sense of control.

I recommend doing this five times a day. All you need to do is find a quiet spot, and focus for two minutes. Ask yourself questions that connect you with the here and now. For example

  • “How do I feel this moment?”
  • “How is my day going so far?”
  • “How does this fit with my overall aims for the day?”
  • “Do I feel grounded and in control?” 
  • “Do I need to alter my priorities for the day?
  • “Do I need to re-plan or change my schedule?”

The power of this approach is that it can shift you from mindless running about to a more focused and purposeful way of going about things.

It isn’t foolproof, and if you come up with a load of excuses, feel stupid, or worse feel even more out of control, then you need more than this advice (if it was me I’d seriously consider therapy, going to the pub, or better yet, both).