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Just last week I found myself considerably stressed about our household cash flow; a few large and unexpected bills arrived and I didn’t know if we would have the cash to pay them on time. After a couple of days of worrying about it I took some action and put everything on a spreadsheet, and I do mean everything. Any bill or expense larger than $20 went on the sheet – it was quite a project! When it was over I discovered that I would not, in fact, have the cash I needed when I needed it. Guess what? I felt better!
Even though the news was bad, I felt better simply knowing where I stood so I could take some actions to resolve the problem.
Here’s what I discovered: it’s all about control.
As it turned out, it wasn’t the cash flow that was stressing me, but rather the feeling that I had no control over the situation. I felt that way because I didn’t know what I was actually dealing with, but when I finished the spreadsheet I did know and was able to come up with some options.
Control is the key.
Here’s another example. I often get overwhelmed thinking about all of the things I have to do, such as repairs and odd jobs around the house. I’m sure it’s no surprise that the secret to feeling better about it is to make a list. When it’s on paper and I can look at it, it’s amazing how short the list is.
Why was I overwhelmed? It was because I felt I had no control, and that was because I didn’t have a clear picture of what needed to be done. As soon as I made the list I could organize it and do things in the order that made the most sense. There’s that control thing again!
The next time you are feeling anxious about something ask yourself if it is really a feeling that you have no control. If it is, do whatever you have to do to get control so that you know your options.
Knowing you need control is the first step toward getting that control.
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