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How to Release Control and Let Things Go

How to Release Control and Let Things Go

Rachel Harder, M.A., LMFTC is a therapist, life coach and couples counselor who helps you find passion and joy in yourself and your relationships. She supports you in creating meaning and happiness, and not only facing your challenges — but triumphantly overcoming them.

The Control Crisis

Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of the advice “Just let it go!” or “There’s nothing you can do about it, so why worry?” How difficult is that to hear!? This is especially true if you’re a proactive person who is good at thinking through different scenarios. Shouldn’t you do everything you can to avoid possible problems, or have things go the way you want them to?

So when people tell you to back off, you might start to wonder; “Don’t they understand what I’m going through?” Maybe you even start to think, “There must be something more I can do.” You probably notice worry, anxiety, and stress start to build, as you rattle over your different options, accounting for all the unknown variables.

The Relationship Between Anxiety and Control

I commonly hear folks discuss intense worry and distress because of circumstances we can’t control ranging from that friend who just won’t take your helpful advice to family members who don’t respect your boundaries. We are constantly being confronted with unpleasant situations that we often have little to no control over. This is especially true in relationships. What do we do with the anxiety this produces?

First, you might start to notice the paradox that takes place: we attempt to control circumstances to alleviate anxiety or stress, but in holding onto control (especially when we try to control what we have no power over) it only serves to increase anxiety and stress.THEN to compound the situation, the circumstances we most deeply desire to control are usually the ones we can’t! What a mess! [More on this: Are You Stuck in a Codependent Relationship?]

Well, here’s the good news: First, you’re not alone and secondly, there are some things you can do about it! I want to share with you three quick tips to let go of control (and in letting go of control, you may actually start to feel more in control… I know it sounds crazy).

How to Let Go Of Things You Can’t Control

Tip 1: Identify Situations Where You Have Control… and Where You Don’t

The What: An easy rule of thumb is: you are in control of yourself. It may also be helpful to create the distinction between what you can control and what you may be able to impact.

For example, you can’t control if your coworker is willing to be a team player, but you may be able to impact this behavior by voicing your needs (i.e. you are in control of how you want to respond and how you want to manage the stress your coworker’s behavior causes you). [More about Emotional Intelligence in the workplace].

The How: You might try doing a check-in with yourself when you notice stress is on the rise. Ask yourself what am I in control of right now? I sometimes encourage folks to actually write out an exhaustive list of their concerns and go through each item and identify what they can control. Once you identify the “uncontrollables,” you can start to practice the next tip!

Tip 2: Give Yourself Permission to Let Go

The What: Sometimes we feel worrying is one way we can control for the uncontrollable. (As in, “If I worry about it enough, I’ll be prepared,” or “Worrying is better than doing nothing.”) Instead of churning in worry, try giving yourself permission to let go. Let go of the need to hold on to the unknown. Remind yourself that you will know what to do if a crisis arises. Trust yourself. You’ve got this! Even in moments where that feels impossible.

The How: Try reciting mantras such as:

“It’s okay for me to let this go.”

“I don’t need to hold onto this.”

“I have done everything I can do.”

You can also ask a loved one for support with this. Sometimes we might need reassurance, that we have indeed, done everything we can do, until we’re able to provide this reassurance to ourselves.

Tip 3: Radical Acceptance

The What: When we are unable to reframe or change the experience, we may need to rely on radical acceptance. This concept tells us there may be times we need to accept circumstances that we don’t like. (I know, yuck!).

The key with this is knowing that acceptance does not mean approval or giving up. Simply put, it means we can see the circumstances for what they are. In doing this; we reduce the suffering we experience. (I get that this sounds counterintuitive).

The How: Try slowing down (for example: deep breathing) and creating room for the reality of the situation to exist as well as the idea that accepting that situation is uncomfortable (there’s room for both of these things to exist).

Think of it this way: If you’re stuck in traffic maybe you start to feel angry, and you notice yourself questioning “Why isn’t that car moving!?” Or perhaps you try switching lanes or honking. You might notice your pulse is quickening and the frustration is surging through you.

OR if you embrace Radical Acceptance you could try saying to yourself, “I’m doing everything I can do, I can’t control the car in front of me, and I’m stuck in traffic right now and that stinks.”

Which experience results in less emotional stress? (Pssst…it’s the one where we accept what is, while simultaneously acknowledging it’s not enjoyable).

Managing Anxiety + Releasing Control = Inner Peace

The key with all of these tips is to practice, practice, practice and go slow. It can be incredibly challenging to let go, especially in situations that aren’t comfortable. Take your time, and give yourself credit for what you’re already doing. I hope through using these strategies you may find yourself regaining control by relinquishing it.

Remember- everyone is doing the best they can in the moment (this includes you!).

All the best,
Rachel Harder, M.A., LMFT-C

The Art of Self Care

The Art of Self Care

Self Care Ideas: How to Take Care of You

Let’s check in with you: What is overwhelming you at this moment? Who or what is occupying all the space in your
head throughout the day? Is it one person or thing? Are there multiple people and things vying
for your attention? Do you ever feel that you’ll never be able to slow down and just enjoy life? Maybe a
relationship went south and you’re going through a breakup. You’re in a high-stress career with a job that is inundating you with to-do lists. Perhaps your child may have special needs. The list can go on and on. You may feel more like a human-doing instead of a human being.

Many of us feel like our value and worth comes from the titles we hold, relationships we have, and the events on our calendars. Our seasons of life are measured by these things and let’s face it, some seasons are better than others. You may be in one of those “off seasons” right now.

When we feel overwhelmed, disconnection from the people and things we love often follows.
This is where self-care comes into play. Have you ever thought about what the word self-care
means to you? My definition of self-care is the discipline of actions that help me stay true to
myself. Now, your definition may be different from mine but take a moment to think about what
it means to you. When working with therapy and life coaching clients dealing with challenging situations I find that the
vast majority of them are greatly lacking in self-care. They can’t identify the things they love to
do and their relationships are not in the healthiest of places.

So how do you fit self-care into your life again? Here are some simple self-care ideas:

1. Think about the things you used to love to do (i.e. write, read, exercise, hang-out with
friends). Write them down.

2. Identify some new activities, things, or places you’ve always wanted to try or visit. Write those
down.

3. Master the 5 minutes. This is my tool for helping clients get on a routine schedule of self-
care. When choosing things you want to add to your life on a daily basis like reading, meditation, or exercise you start with a goal of 5 minutes per day. This may sound too simple but if you’re able to commit to 5 minutes you’re more likely to complete it than say
setting aside an hour every day. If you do more than 5 minutes, great! If not, at least you’re
getting in the habit. When you’ve consistently hit your 5-minute habit for one week progress
to 10 minutes. Slowly adding 5 minutes every week until you’ve hit a goal time (i.e. 1 hour
of exercise a day). Choose from the activities you listed in Step 1.

4. Research the class availability or schedule that relates to the activities you listed from Step 2.

5. Add one event/class/place from your list from Step 2 on your calendar for this month.

6. Make it fun! If you want to exercise but you hate the Stair Stepper, sign up for a dance
class. If you want to read more, choose a genre that you enjoy.

7. Get support and accountability! As we all know, it’s harder to keep commitments to yourself than it is to others. Enlisting the support of an accountability partner can help you follow through.

These are just a few self care ideas to get started on your journey. As you get in the discipline
of practicing the steps you’ve chosen you’ll find you may want to take on more. If you find it difficult to follow through, consider enlisting the support of a great mentor or life coach to help keep you on track, keep you creative, and keep you aware of sticking points or unrealistic
expectations that may limit you.

Blessings!

Sonya Jensen, M.A., LMFTA

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Stop Self-Sabotage This Year

Stop Self-Sabotage This Year

Are You Unintentionally Sabotaging Your Success?

Do you ever feel like your own worst enemy? Or feel frustrated that, despite having the best of intentions, you can’t seem to actualize your goals?

What I’ve learned from many years as a life coach and therapist is that when people fail it is NOT because of lack of motivation, or determination, or willpower. Most of the time it is because people are unintentionally sabotaging their own success… from day one.The worst part is that they usually have no idea that they’re even doing it.

The antidote is having awareness about the subtle forces that will pull you off track every time, and the practices that will help you stay on course.

Using the six strategies I’ll be teaching you about on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast will help you stop unintentionally sabotaging your success, and set you up to achieve your most important goals in 2018.

xoxo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Are You Sabotaging Your Success?

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Jane Weaver, “Modern Kosmology”

Subscribe to the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast on iTunes & Stitcher. Please rate and review if you enjoy the podcast!

Listen on Stitcher!

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How To Deal With The Winter Blues

How To Deal With The Winter Blues

What to Do, When The Dark Season Brings Dark Emotions

In the months leading up to the holidays, and in the months after, many people struggle with “dark emotions” such as depression, grief, and sadness. There are many reasons for this, including the reality of Seasonal Affective Disorder, changes to many people’s health and nutrition habits in the wintertime, and the fact that for many people the holiday season often brings with it unique stressors and emotional triggers. Many people dealing with hard life transitions like a breakup or divorce struggle during their first holiday alone. For others, bittersweet memories of years past and lost loved ones infuse the season with feelings of grief and loss.

All these experiences are normal, and natural. Many, many people are dealing with these feelings privately as they go through the motions of making merry. However, because these extremely common feelings are not often discussed publicly, many people experiencing them can feel isolated as a result.

On this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, we’re breaking the silence and talking openly about this common experience, and how to move past it. We’ll be discussing how to deal with dark emotions in a healthy way: when to lean into painful feelings, and how to work through them productively. We’ll talk about the difference between situational depression and the symptoms of major depressive disorder, how to get a handle on seasonal affective disorder, how to work through the stages of grief, and the natural remedies for depression that can help you feel healthier and happier.

Wishing you all the best on your journey of growth and healing,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

How to Deal With the Winter Blues

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: R.E.M., “Low”

Subscribe to the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast on iTunes & Stitcher. Please rate and review if you enjoy the podcast!

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast is Now on Stitcher!

How to Be Your Best Self

How to Be Your Best Self

Embrace the Amazing Person You Already Are.

If you’re like most of our life coaching or therapy clients, you’re intelligent, objectively successful, and a kind person who many people love, respect, and admire.
And yet… You might not feel like you’re really as amazing as you could be. You believe that you can do more, be more, feel more clear about who you are, and feel better about the way you’re living your life. Most importantly, you believe you can be happier, enjoy your life more than you do.
You believe there’s a higher, and more self-actualized version of you somewhere inside of you. And if you’re like most people, sometimes you feel frustrated or get down on yourself when you can’t be the person you know you can be, all the time. Here are some tips to help you intentionally make contact with the best part of yourself, and allow more of that “real you” to take positive action in your life:

Tips For Cultivating Your Best Self

l. Notice when you’re already being who you want to be.

You know that feeling you have when you do something healthy, good or positive? Like the way you feel when you leave yoga class, or the gym? Or when you choose the kale power-salad for lunch? Or get some amazing feedback from your boss or coworker about what a good job you did? Or when you spend a gorgeous day outside, or in the company of someone you love? Or when you’re totally absorbed in flow? Or exhilarating yourself to embrace a challenge, or learn something new? Yes?

You DO have those moments. And all of those are times when your happy, best self is at the front and center of your life already.

When you intentionally focus on what’s going right in your life, it shifts your perspective and your mood. It helps you to feel like the person you want to be, which in turn helps you intentionally cultivate more of the you that you want.

2. Stop Beating yourself up.

Do you scold, and shame yourself for every little thing? Do you call yourself names? Do you sweep aside all of the positive, good things you have going on and criticize yourself for the negative, instead?
You’re not alone. We’ all internalize an inner voice that lives inside us, and that narrates our experiences. Many people, sadly, have come to believe that the “key to staying motivated” is to be ruthlessly harsh, demanding or even demeaning to themselves if they’re not perfectly perfect.

However, what we know from decades of research into positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, and healthy human development, (learn more about evidence-based therapy) is that when people feel safe to learn from their mistakes, accepted and supported, respected and valued, they can grow and evolve. In contrast, people who feel that mistakes are catastrophic and who believe that they are intrinsically bad, worthless, or irredeemable will get stuck and paralyzed with shame and fear.

Decide to be an emotionally safe, supportive and respectful friend to yourself. (Read: “How to Love Yourself”) Cultivate an encouraging “growth mindset.” Learning how to accept yourself, and be affirming and compassionate with yourself just as you are, will (paradoxically), allow you to grow and bloom.

Want more inspiration for how to cultivate a growth mindset? Check out this video from Heidi Grant Halverson:

 

3. Stop comparing yourself to others.

 

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” — Plato

It is such a common mistake; to believe that no one else feels the way you do, or doesn’t wrestle with the same stressors or pain- points. Especially as more of our social lives are dominated by carefully curated posts and photos, it can be easy to trick yourself into believing that everyone else is happy and has all this stuff figured out already. At a distance it’s easy to imagine that everyone is as gorgeous, accomplished, successful, intelligent and confident as they appear. As you appear.

And yet every singe person walking this earth (including me!) has a mandate to learn, grow, and figure out how to live intentionally, responsibly, mindfully, and happily. Every day brings new opportunities for us to increase our capacity for love and compassion — both for ourselves and others. Everyone has good days and days they wish they could do over. Oprah Winfrey herself probably has moments where she snaps at someone, or says something she regrets, or feels frustrated… or cries. Yes, Oprah cries too. We’re all on a path of growth and personal evolution. And you’re just like everyone else on the earth, trying to figure it out.

Except that you are woke. Sadly, many people don’t even consider the possibility that they can do better, or be better. They just do what they’ve always done (even if it’s painful and unsatisfying, or leads to not-so-great outcomes) without ever having the thought in their head that they have the power to choose who they are, and what they want their lives to be about. They may genuinely believe fate alone created their circumstances, and that they have no control over themselves, the results they get, or their ultimate destiny.

But you do. You know you have the power to grow and to do more. That’s why you’re reading this article. The fact of that is evidence that you are self-aware, and already actively embracing growth, and are already moving forward on your glorious path of personal evolution.

Here’s to you,
Lisa Marie Bobby

Growing Self Counseling & Coaching