6 Things To Do When Life Feels Out Of Control

Out-of-control doesn't look the same on everyone. Sometimes it looks like a mound of trash spread out over your bed, glowing behind your laptop that you're wearing as a bib while you binge re-watch Breaking Bad. Sometimes it looks like 19,000 unread emails, most of which are late notices, penalty fees and rejection letters. Sometimes it looks like the purple/gray sky at 5 A.M. when you've been up all night, kicking the covers off the bed and listening to your thoughts spin madly. Sometimes it looks like the crumpled red face of someone disappointed in you, and the way their eyes narrow with frustration. And sometimes it looks like the palms of your hands as you cry into them in the bathroom stall outside of your office. You can have it all, you can have it together, you can have nothing — we're all susceptible to the losing touch with ground control.

There is an ebb and flow to our grasp of control over our lives. One of the most important things to do when you feel like your life is getting out of control is to reach for the wheel. It's not the time to run from yourself or mute your perception. Having self-awareness is a gift. Giving into self-destructive tendencies is tempting, but when you do that, you're only making more work for yourself. Here are a few options to consider when you feel like you're losing a hold on your life, because regaining control is always only a few steps away:

Clean up

Often, internal messes manifest in physical clutter. It's important to bring your environment up to code, so do a deep clean of your personal space. Wash your laundry, your dishes, your floors. Organize your clothes and shoes. Empty out the junk from your bags and pockets. Sterilize your space so that you have a clean surface to lay your new, controlled life on.


Light a candle, turn off the lights, and sit with yourself. Focus on your breath, exhaling anxiety and inhaling calm. When you're ready, visualize the elements of your life that are creating chaos. Stare them down until they lose some of their power.

Pen & paper

Write it all down. Make a list of what gives you anxiety and what's worth salvaging. There will be some things that you'll need to let go of. Whether you have too much on your plate, or not enough, clearly the balance is off, so something's gotta go to make room for something more beneficial. Lighten the load.


Take a look at a calendar. Write down all of your obligations. Take note of what obligations you dread and which you look forward to. If you don't have anything on your schedule, make small, feasible plans for yourself and stick to them.

Say no

One of the most valuable skills you can have in life as a young professional is the ability to say no. Remember that true friends will understand when you have to put your self first. Don't let the fear of missing out drag you under the current. You will gain a little bit more control every time you make a choice for yourself.

Say yes

Sometimes change is empowering. What have you been meaning to try? What would make you happy? Be a little bit selfish. Do what you want to do. This is your time to listen to your gut, honor your heart and tune out the background noise. Maybe it means finding a new job, maybe it means ending a relationship, a friendship, a chapter of your life. So be ready for change and learn to embrace it.

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