Taking better control of your life can feel like a big feat. And, honestly, it is. From worrying about your physical health to practicing habits that are better for your mental health, there’s a lot to consider. Relationships and time commitments can quickly take over what little control you feel like you have. To break it down, here are three ways to start gaining control of your life.
1. Prioritize Your Physical Health
Your physical health is one of the most important things you can focus on in life. This is because it greatly impacts so many other areas of well-being like mental health and happiness. If you’re feeling ill, you are not going to enjoy your time with friends or family. Or, if you’re unhealthy, you may be experiencing pain or discomfort. Things like nutrition, medication, and exercise can contribute to a healthier you.
Eating nutrient-dense foods can bring big changes to your physical health. Vitamins and minerals found in these foods can build your immunity. Try focusing on “eating the rainbow” when choosing your foods. While it sounds childish, it is a simple way to diversify the nutrients you’re receiving through meals. Fruits and vegetables contain different pigments that correlate with various health benefits.
For example, leafy greens contain fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium, which supports heart health. Colorful orange fruits and veggies have beta carotene, which is an antioxidant. When consumed, these protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, which can cause several chronic illnesses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost half (48.6%) of the population has taken a prescription drug in the past month. Many individuals need medication to take control of their life. Whether it’s pain medication to manage back pain or birth control to help control your reproductive future, prescriptions help people manage and plan their lives.
Birth control allows a woman to decide when and if she wants to become a mother. Historically, it’s allowed more women to achieve higher education and join the workforce. This, in turn, has allowed women facing poverty to experience economic stability. Aside from family planning, birth control can also reduce painful period symptoms, making life a bit more enjoyable for those who suffer from these symptoms.
Getting adequate exercise can be tough if it’s not a habit you’ve already formed. Try finding something that is fun for you like goat yoga, dance classes, or shadowboxing. Working out doesn’t have to look the same for everyone.
In fact, if you’re getting around 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, you’re doing great. According to the Mayo Clinic, the more hours you sit, the higher risk you are of experiencing metabolic issues. Getting up for just a few minutes a day can be extremely beneficial. Maybe those trending walking desks aren’t so bad after all.
2. Focus on Your Mental Health
If there’s one thing you don’t want to leave out when considering the control you have over your life, it’s your mental health. It impacts how you deal with stress and relate to the world around you. Mental health encompasses emotional, social, and psychological well-being. Practicing mental well-being can improve your overall outlook on life.
Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t think therapy is for you. Or, that your problems aren’t “big enough” to talk to someone. The fact is, everyone can benefit from therapy. It allows clients to explore feelings with an unbiased listener. It can help you understand stressors and triggers in your everyday life. Finding a therapist doesn’t have to be difficult. Check out an online database of practitioners, your college campus counselor, or a teletherapy platform.
Mindfulness has a lot of great benefits. From boosting creativity to improving problem solving, there’s not much that mindfulness doesn’t positively impact. It can help you regulate emotions and manage stress. You can practice mindfulness through breathwork, focusing on each of your senses, or simply doing what you love. It is all about being in the moment and experiencing everything that is going on around you.
3. Evaluate Your Life
This sounds deep. And, it kind of is. Evaluating every aspect of your life with intention can allow you to focus on what feels most out of control. For example, if you’re feeling unsettled with your job, it is likely impacting the rest of your life. If you’re missing out on doing something you enjoy, reprioritize your time. Make sure you’re truly living your life the way you want.
If your job is sucking the life out of you for eight hours a day, you’re likely going home exhausted and unhappy. This can lead to you feeling a lack of control in a large part of your life. Assess if you’re happy in your current work environment. Are you fulfilled in your work? Do you feel like what you’re doing matters? If the answer is no, maybe this is a good place to focus energy on change.
Relationships are vitally important to happiness. Strong social connections are linked to higher self-esteem and decreased anxiety. The National Institute of Health even shares that people who have broad and diverse social ties tend to live longer. If your relationships are causing you more pain than happiness, maybe it’s time to reevaluate who you’re spending time with.
Speaking of time, there are only so many hours in a day. Spending your time wisely can contribute to gaining control in your life. Maybe you sit down on the couch after work to doom scroll and realize two hours have passed. If that’s what relaxes you, go for it! But, if you feel like you should be spending your time more wisely, try setting screen time limits on your phone. Protect your time. This might even include saying ‘no’ to invitations you don’t actually want to attend. Remember, you’re in charge of your schedule — and you’re life.
Regardless of if you’re starting at zero in all categories or you’re a professional in one, pick one area to start with. Making too many life changes at once can be incredibly overwhelming. Try starting with evaluating each area and considering what is most important to you. Then, start to take control of your life, little by little.