Vet360 Vol 4 Issue 4 August 2017 Vet 360 - Page 6

PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Develop An Internal Locus of Control How To Take Control of Your Life By Elizabeth Scott, MS, Updated April 15, 2017 Research has shown that those with an internal locus of control - that is, they feel that they control their own destiny, rather than their fate being largely de- termined by external forces - tend to be happier, less depressed, and less stressed. It is true that many of the stressors we face in life are largely beyond our control, though we can still cope with these things by adjusting how we think about things, working on our personal resilience, and focusing on the things we can control. Other times, we either do have control over what we face, or we have more control than we realise. When we recognise what we can control, we feel more em- powered, so having a realistic view of life and an in- ternal locus of control can help us feel less stressed and more empowered in many situations in life. For- tunately, while some factors are inborn, if your locus of control isn't as 'internal' as you'd like it to be, there are things you can do to change your locus of control and empower yourself. Here's a process to practice: Be Aware That You Have A Choice. When you realise that you always have choice to change your situation (even if this change isn't your first choice, or is merely a change in how you look at things), it can be liberating and empowering. It is true that when you are experiencing extreme stress or mental health issues, you may not be able to simply choose to have your challenges evaporate, but you can choose the ways in which you find help, and you can choose what you do to cope. Even if you don’t like the choices available at the mo- ment, even if the only change you can make is in your attitude, you always have some choices. Review Your Options. When you feel trapped, make a list of all possible courses of action. Just brainstorm and write things down without evaluating them first, so you become more able to tap your creativity. This list can be a growing document, not something that you have to come up with in seconds, but it can be helpful in reminding you of your choices and keeping you from feeling trapped. It can remind you vet360 Issue 04 | AUGUST 2017 | 6 of what you can control, even when there are many things that are set. Ask For Ideas. You may want to also brainstorm with a friend to get more ideas that you may not have initially considered. Don’t shoot down these ideas right away, either; just write them down. Sometimes our loved ones have great ideas or can see options that we can't see when we are coming from a stressed or trapped mindset.