Perhaps you’re at a point in your life where everything seems to be on top of you and you can see no way out or maybe you feel so stressed and overwhelmed that you are breathing at 100 miles per hour whilst trying to gain some sort of control of your life. It could even be that your past is coming back at you and it’s affecting every area of your life, impacting on your relationships, work and health.

In this article, I’m going to talk you through a few simple ways to take control of your emotions, change perspective and minimise stress and overwhelm in your life.

For many years, I had walked around like a ticking bomb seconds away from exploding. My stress levels were off the scale and my only nurturing was smoking forty cigarettes per day and drinking beer whilst wondering where I had gone so wrong. I seemed to be constantly overwhelmed, anxious about the future and lacking a sense of safety, security and inner peace. I was trying my hardest to take control of my life but the harder I tried, the more I seemed to fail. I always looked for somebody to offer me that safety and security and yet always seemed to end up achieving the opposite. It’s not difficult to wonder “Why me?” “Why can’t I get anything right?” “What have I done to deserve all this?”

As a young girl I had been on the receiving end of various types of abuse for many years. I hated myself and needed to scrub my skin many times during the course of one day to stop myself from feeling dirty. I believed that I deserved it and that what I didn’t deserve was to be happy. I stopped eating and started self harming. I was very poorly with anorexia and didn’t think I would make it but luckily, due to my very stubborn nature, I pulled through and decided to take control. I had no idea how I was going to do it but nothing was going to stop me. I recovered and started helping others who had gone through similar experiences.

As I got older, I was convinced I had dealt with my past and yet, whenever life got a little stressful, I was straight back to cigarettes, alcohol, no food and self harm. My past was always just below the surface and it was showing it’s teeth all the time. I couldn’t let anybody get close to me so I rejected people. If somebody was nice to me, I strongly believed it was because they wanted something from me. I believed that the only thing i had going for me was my body and the rest was worthless so why would anybody love me? My past was taking over my present until one day, something snapped and enough was enough!

Surely I was not just a pair of legs. Surely I could achieve much more in my life instead of drowning in self pity, fear and despair.

I took control and asked for help. For me, after years of counselling, hypnotherapy worked the best. I had talked over and over my past until I was blue in the face and the more I talked about it, the angrier I became. With hypnotherapy, I didn’t need to go over and over the same pain and it was really relaxing at the same time.

I also began reading self development and mindset books to help me understand myself and to learn to manage my own emotions so that I stopped attempting to destroy myself in the present, with the great help of my past.

I very soon learnt that we are in control of our own thoughts, our thoughts influence our emotions, our emotions determine our behaviours and our behaviours give us the results. I realised that my thinking was very negative. I carried a lot of anger and resentment for my past and for the people who had hurt me. I was scared it would happen again if I allowed anybody to get too close so I was forever guarded and in self defence mode. It suddenly occurred to me that if I learnt how to change my thoughts, the rest would fall into place and oh boy didn’t it just!!!! My life turned around, I started smiling, attracting wonderful people and amazing opportunities.

Here’s what I started with:

Up to this point, I looked at my past abuse as a negative experience. I hated the people who had put me through all of that and the innocence stolen from me. I believed I was unworthy of love, weak and dirty.

The new me decided to look at my experience as empowering! Sounds crazy, right? I mean who would look at past abuse as a positive thing? It took some doing but I started to tell myself that I was strong and the knowledge and understanding those experiences gave me were a gift which had blessed me with the ability to feel empathy, build resilience and help other people who were going through the same, overcome it. There’s a lot to be said for life experience when it comes to helping others. No longer was I a victim of my past. I was empowered by it and armed with a new set of skills and understanding. The results from that way of thinking were unbelievable. Working in mental health and supporting others was one of the best times of my life.

Whatever you have gone through or are going through right now and as tough as it may be, see the learning opportunity in this experience. What will right now teach you that will help you support others in future, build resilience and skill? Whatever you past looked like, what learning can you take from it? How can you use it to help you grow? How can you use it to become stronger?

When life gets overwhelming and the stress gets the better of you, what do you want the way out to look like? How do you want to feel? We tend to say “Why is this happening?”. Instead, say ” What can I do to feel good?” “What’s the best positive outcome in this?” “How can I overcome this?”. One gives you reasons and therefore excuses whilst the others give you strategies to move forward.

When I can’t see a way out, I start wishing and dreaming big. I focus on the best possible outcome and the learning encompassed in every experience. Our experiences is what makes us individuals. Without them, who knows? We might all be the same and I’m not sure I could live with another one like me :)))))

A little stress can be a powerful motivator and stress is only stressful if we think it’s stressful. Experiences are only negative if we view them as negative. Of course you’ll have less exciting days at times but if you focus on the positive outcome, you’ll be on top of the world. Changing your thoughts is in your ability and control. All you have to do is stop for long enough to allow yourself the time to become aware of what those thoughts are and the rest will fall into place.

Keep smiling 🙂

Flavia Powell xxx