I've Lost Control Of My Life: How To Take Back Control And Lead the Life You Want

Updated August 28, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Laura Angers

Life is not always as simple or as easy to manage as we would like. At times, people may feel like they have no control over their lives, which may cause them severe stress and discourage them from going after the things they want. No matter how lost you may feel in the present, however, moving forward and regaining the control you seek is always a possibility. Have you thought to yourself, “I’ve lost control of my life”? If so, here are some tips on how to take back control and lead the life you want.

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“I’ve Lost Control Of My Life”: Understanding Where Your Loss Is Coming From

When we think to ourselves, “I’ve lost control of my life,” we may be thinking that we’ve lost control in general or that we’ve lost control over certain aspects of life that are important to us. Knowing the distinction between loss of general control and loss of control over certain things that are important to us is very important when we’re attempting to regain a sense of control.

For example, let’s imagine that you feel as though you’ve lost control of your work life. You may be working towards no goals at the moment, maybe in a position that you do not enjoy, or may have so much work that you can’t cope with the workload that you are currently being given. Although remedying these issues may seem difficult, the bright side of seeing where you have lost control makes it far easier to get your life back on track.

Take some time to think about:

  • Where you feel most lost
  • When you feel like you lost control
  • Which parts of your life are most impacted

We will look further into this topic to help you discover what you can change later in the article.

Treating The Symptoms That Come With A Lost Sense Of Control

A loss of control can be very stressful for a person who is experiencing it. Why? A perceived lack of control may lead you to feel more stressed, anxious, or depressed about your life. This is especially important to remember as you will want to treat these issues as you are seeking to regain control over your life and learn to love life again. To help you better understand whether you are dealing with any of the above issues. Let’s break each of them down.

Symptoms of stress may include:

  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Trouble breathing or rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Stomach issues
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
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Symptoms of anxiety may include:

  • Feeling constantly on edge
  • Feeling angry or irritable
  • Having panic attacks
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Muscle pain or other pains throughout the body
  • Trouble sleeping and fatigue
  • Issues focusing and concentrating
  • Constantly feeling worried

Symptoms of depression may include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Trouble sleeping or oversleeping
  • Eating too much or eating too little
  • Random pains throughout the body
  • Fatigue and difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Loss of joy and isolation
  • Thoughts of death and suicide

When we feel like our lives are spiraling out of control, it can be easy to succumb to stress, anxiety, and depression. If you believe that you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, make sure to reach out for help so that you can get support for your symptoms and learn how to better cope with them.

Once you have a better understanding of why you feel out of control and how it is impacting you, you are in a better position to cultivate change within your life and regain control over the things that you are missing. To help you along this journey, let’s take a look at some valuable tips for getting started.

Regaining Control Over Your Life

While we are not always in control of everything that happens in our lives, we are in control of how we react, what we do from there, and how we lead our lives. Knowing this can be very empowering if you feel like you can’t control your life. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I’ve lost control of my life,” here are some ways you can begin taking back control of your life.

Setting Goals

If you don’t have goals, this may be one key contributor to the lack of control in your life. Goals help us to figure out what we want in life, serve as reminders of what we are working towards, and keep us on track, wherever that road may be taking us. Fortunately, goals can be very easy to establish if you do not currently have any leading you in your life. Here is how you can set effective goals that can guide you towards the life you want.

  1. Come Up With A List Of Things You Want To Accomplish Or Achieve In Your Life: Most of us have at least an idea of where we want our lives to go, if not specific goals that we have been looking to achieve for some time. Break down your life into subcategories (personal, professional, financial, social, romantic, etc.) and figure out what you want to achieve down the road. Do you want to purchase a new car soon? Do you want to have an emergency fund set aside in a specific window of time? Do you want to try a new hobby and meet new people? No matter what your goals or desires may be, write these down as you go.
  2. Transform Those Items Into Specific, Actionable Goals: When goals are unclear, it can make it easy for us to leave our goals behind or feel as though we are working towards nothing as the goal is too broad. For example, let’s imagine that one of your goals is to get a space of your own. While this is an awesome goal, it is too unclear. Think about exactly what kind of space you want. You can better specify your goal by thinking about what apartment or house you want, where it’s located, what the price range is, what your income is, and how you can work towards getting that house or apartment. The more specific and actionable your goal is, the more success you may have working towards it.
  3. Set A Deadline For Your Goal And Break It Down Into Achievable Tasks: Besides being specific, your goal should have a set deadline and should be easy to break down so that you can slowly chip away at it and measure your progress as you go. Continuing with the above example, you may want to get a new apartment next year. From there, you can look at the cost and your budget, setting up monthly or weekly savings goals so that you are prepared to purchase your dream apartment by the specified date. When you have a clear focus, you have more control over your life direction!

Goals allow us to work towards the things that we truly want. Without them, it can be easy to feel lost and to forget what we truly want out of our lives. However, goals without action can be just as troublesome. How can you work towards what you want?

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Making Progress And Maintaining Motivation

The goals that you set should be things that you truly want in your life. Why? This can help you stay motivated as you work towards these goals. If you are having trouble adjusting to goal setting and taking action, one great way to stay focused is to set small reminders around your work area or in your home that helps you stay motivated in accomplishing the tasks that you have set for yourself.

Additionally, you may want to have a tool that helps you review your progress, track your progress as you cross off tasks and work towards your goal, and keep your head in the game throughout the process. For example, having a journey with a checklist of your tasks, a deadline for your goal, and your feelings as you work towards what you want can be a great tool.

As long as you feel like you are working towards a life you love and making progress, you may feel more in control of your life’s direction and your actions.

Accepting What We Can’t Control

Unfortunately, we can’t control everything that happens in our lives. However, knowing this and being able to accept this can bring us far more peace than attempting to work against it. If something that happens that slows down your progress, remind yourself that you are in control of your life direction, even if things happen that may make it more difficult to reach your destination. As long as you can re-adjust, figure out how you can still get to the life you want, and work towards that, you can feel far more in control than you did before establishing goals for yourself.

While the above can seem easy to implement, it may not be as simple for some people. If you are affected by symptoms of anxiety or depression or if you are not sure where you want to go in life and how you can stay motivated, it can be harder to regain a sense of control in your life. If this is how you feel, you may want to consider turning to a counselor to help you deal with symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression and provide you with the tools needed to create a better future. For those who are looking for quick access to help, consider online counseling.

For example, BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that connects users to licensed counselors. You may access BetterHelp from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Some people prefer face-to-face therapy, while others prefer typing or talking via phone or video chat.

The key takeaway of this article is to remember that you are more powerful than you think and that you can change your life, no matter how out of control you may feel at the moment. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I’ve lost control of my life,” use the guide above to help you figure out where you lack control, how you can regain that control, and where you can get help if you are struggling along the way.


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