How does a sense of being in control contribute to wellbeing?

A sense of being in control huunuu wellbeing

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The Law of Control states that we feel good about ourselves to the degree to which we feel that we are in control of our own lives.
Brian Tracy.

A sense of being in control can keep us moving forward and keep us motivated. When we have the perception of control, we feel like we have a say, a choice and autonomy over our decisions and ultimately our life.

Having a sense of control was also related to higher psychological well-being (positive affect, life satisfaction, optimism, purpose, personal health and financial mastery). According to the US Government National Library of Medicine.

So, let’s try and apply this to a work setting. Feeling like you are in control of your situation can improve productivity, morale and enhance motivation. And of course, make you, your colleagues or your employees feel good!

Workers feel that they lack control when they feel they have little or no say in how they accomplish their daily tasks, are subject to excessive levels of supervision or surveillance, or cannot reasonably predict their schedules from week to week.
Kelly EL, Moen P. Overload: How Good Jobs Went Bad and What We Can Do About It. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 2020.

As there are many studies suggesting that a sense of being in control is great for wellbeing in the workplace, here are…

6 Ways to help you feel in control at work


1. Have a voice and share your opinions and views

Sharing your opinion can make you feel more confident and increase your self-esteem. There is nothing more frustrating than leaving a meeting and feeling regret that you didn’t share your thoughts or ideas.

Now you might think, what if my idea is rejected? Well of course this might happen but as long as the discussion is respectful, it’s about being able to voice them that makes you feel good.

When you share a view, in the right setting, you feel heard. It means you know that all ideas have been put on the table and considered when a decision is made. You can buy into a decision more easily because you know yours was also considered.

From an employer’s or colleagues’ perspective, this requires a level of support. Actively listen, seek clarity, and truly understand what they are saying. Make them feel heard. That way they know you understood and considered their idea and voice.

2. Prioritise

Being overwhelmed can make you feel like you are out of control. For some of us, a disorganised to-do list is not going to be helpful towards fixing that overwhelm. Take some time to organise your list and prioritise what’s most important right now. For others, not having too many things on your list will be helpful and it’s important to ask for support if you need it.

Here at huunuu during our morning check-in, we decide on three things that need to be done that day. It may be a piece of work that has a deadline looming, an email that needs to be sent or a phone call to be made. They might not always be huge tasks, but they will have a big impact.

3. Self-manage

Take responsibility for your own behaviour and wellbeing.

For example, if you know you work better by completing emails in the morning and working on content in the afternoon or collaboratively working in the morning and spreadsheets in the afternoon. Then as long as you’re on track with deadlines and it doesn’t go against company policy then do it! Manage yourself so you can work at your best and feel your best. Take control of your to-do list.

4. Ask for help

If you are stuck, struggling or need some input, ask for help. Take control of the situation and keep it moving forward. Asking for help can stimulate conversation, increase motivation and create new fresh ideas.

Staying put and remaining stuck is not going to make anyone feel good and will end up with a loss of control over the work itself or your deadlines. Asking for help at the right time is key.

5. Say no

You don’t always have to say yes. Consider your to-do list and your head space. Do you have time or space for this? If you take on this piece of work, will it affect your priorities or your wellbeing?

Knowing you can say no is a powerful tool. Liberating.

6. Keep communication lines open

If saying no isn’t an option, ask questions and set out expectations. When is this needed by? Is it more important than the other piece of work I must do? Just to let you know If I work on this now then that spreadsheet will be delayed.

These things will help you keep in control of your time.

We can’t thrive when we are feeling overwhelmed or our environment is chaotic. It will end up having a negative impact on our wellbeing.

So let’s manage our time and have a voice.

Feeling in control when at home and at work will make your life better and it will feel good.

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