That Th!nk You Do Chapter X+1 – Taking Back Your Life, part 2

Following up on last week’s That Think You Do Chapter X – Taking Back Your Life, part 1, we now offer part 2.


The whole key to taking back control of your life is allowing yourself to feel good about yourself. I’m surprised at how few people have this ability any more. Being pulled in many different directions often only serves to pull us off balance, to cause us to forget who we are and why we’re doing what we do.

Personal Philosophy Alert: We’re here for each other.

For what it’s worth and (hopefully) for your pleasure and enlightenment, here are six more simple ways neuroscience and psychology tell us we can take back control of our lives.

Decide If It’s Worth the Effort
Is something upsetting you? Take a moment to decide if what’s upsetting you is worth the energy and effort you’re devoting to it. Chances are what’s upsetting you is out of your control, isn’t what you think it is, is a miscommunication, and so on. You can laugh or rage at what happens in your life and either one can leave you in tears and gasping for breath. Given the options, putting the energy into laughter makes your heart and mind stronger.

Take Time to Play
Staring at the computer waiting for something to load, someone to arrive, an email to be returned, does nothing but increase your blood pressure. Really, do you feel good about it? So play when you have to wait for something to happen. My choice? The guitar, clarinet or piano. I know some people who are wizards at solitaire or keep a good book handy. Little moments of play in the middle of busy days keeps your mind alert, your emotions on keel, and allows you to focus when you do get back.

Recognize When You’ve Had Enough
This is an amplification of #2 and can be thought of as “Know when to stop.” Sometimes simple discussions can get out of hand and the reasons aren’t always obvious. Take a moment to get yourself out of the moment (so to speak) and analyze what’s going on. Maybe it’s time to take a break. This applies to discussions, work groups, house chores, anything and everything. A reframe of this is “It’s okay to get tired and take a little rest.” Lots of people will work or talk or think beyond their internal exhaustion point then get frustrated at the poor results, so recognize when you’ve had or done enough, stop for a while and come back later, refreshed.

Stretch or Move Whether You Need to or Not
Our bodies and minds weren’t designed to work in offices or in small spaces. Given enough time, they’ll rebel in one way or another and usually the end result is not good. When you start to feel signs of mental fatigue, get up. Walk. Stretch. Get some one, five or ten pound weights and keep them under your desk (or whatever). Are you on the phone a lot? Do curls or tricep extensions while you talk. Stand up and touch your toes while waiting for a program to load or an email to open.

Slow Down
More and more people are becoming slaves to their digital servants. Part of this modern malaise is that people can’t keep up with all the demands coming at them from their email, their cellphones, their this and their that. I know the old adage “Never put off ‘till tomorrow what you can do today” and let me offer a healthier alternative “The world can’t end today because it’s already tomorrow in Australia” (I know the reframe loses something for Ozian readers). Increased interconnectivity is creating an unhealthy interdependence that we are designed to deal with neither effectively nor efficiently, so learn to recognize what’s truly important. You might end up in digital remission. It’s a happy place to be.

Drink More Water
I laughed at this until I started doing it. Lots of people hit their wall mid-afternoon and usually get a cup of coffee. Drink a glass of water instead. Usually our bodies are busy digesting our lunches by mid-afternoon and go into a mild dehydration state. A glass of pure water (then a cup of coffee if you must) allows our metabolisms to balance.The whole key to everything here is to decide (yes, you must decide or at least become aware that you can make the decision) if you feel good about what you’re doing. If you don’t, ask yourself why you’re doing it. If there’s no goodness involved, stop it.

I mean, really…you do want to be in control of your life,
don’t you?