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Where do you feel in control?

Being more aware of where and when you feel in control can give you insight into building a wellness plan for your work.

Everyone experiences stress - but research shows us that it's the things which feel outside of our control which have more of a significant impact on us, and a feeling of lack of control can be a source of stress in its own right.

When building yourself a plan to manage your mental health at work, understanding where you feel in control, and where you feel a lack of control or influence over what is happening, can start to shine insights into how we might need to change how we work, or where we might need to place focus to improve things.

Also, accepting that some things are entirely out of our control, and letting go of attempts to change aspects of our lives which we cannot, gives us some space and time to work on the things which we are able to influence.

Without knowing which aspects of our working lives we feel like we have control over, where we feel less in control, and where we’re not actually in control at all - any sort of improvements or changes could be wasted effort.

Taking some time to reflect on this question could be a good starting place if you’re looking to change how you work.

If you feel in control - what are the aspects of those situations which means you’re in control and are managing the situation well? Can you replicate that in other situations where you’re feeling more overwhelmed?

If you don’t feel in control - are there steps you can take to change the situation, or are you okay with not being in control? Is it something you want to change, or is it just useful to be aware of?

If you aren’t in control - could you find ways of letting go of worrying about things where you’re not able to influence the situation, and identify things where you can make positive improvements?

Even just the act of identifying the areas in your working experience, and how in control you feel in those circumstances, can help - so take a moment to reflect and ask yourself: Where do you feel like you have the most control over your work, and where do you feel like you have the least control?

This can of course change over time - if you're in the middle of a project, you might feel less in control over your workload or client communications. If you're not working right now, perhaps you feel less in control of your income, but more in control of your time.

Keeping a regular journal can help with this - a weekly practice of jotting down what's been happening for you at work, how it made you feel, the positives and negatives, so you can reflect back over the weeks and spot any patterns or common behaviours, and adding this as a regular habit can form part of your mental health at work plan.

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