How to Stay Centered When Life Feels Out of Control

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You can stay centered when external problems rock you to the core. Learn how to be centered when life is at its worst at HealthyPlace.

It seems like so much in life right now is out of our individual control, which naturally worsens symptoms of mental health challenges. Shifting your focus onto what in your own life you can affect can help ease symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

Here are a few tips for maintaining positive mental health when life feels out of control.

  • Focus on your own sense of purpose. Consider all the positives in your life. Consider creating a simple daily ritual: Brew a cup of tea or make some hot chocolate, sit in a favorite chair snuggled in a cozy blanket, and spend some time mindfully writing in a journal, reflecting on why you do what you do every day.
  • Carry a focus object that represents this meaning. Select a small object or picture, and carry it with you. When you catch yourself feeling anxious, sad, or caught up in all that is wrong, pull yourself out of it by studying how it looks, what it feels like in your hands, and how it sounds or smells if that’s applicable.
  • Separate yourself from your anxiety and other negative thoughts and feelings. In acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), this is called defusion. When you notice that you’re caught up in negative thoughts, pause and remind yourself, “I’m having the thought that…” This acknowledges your thoughts in a nonjudgmental way and kindly reminds you that this is a thought rather than an absolute truth.

These tips can’t change things that are beyond our control, but they can help you maintain a sense of centeredness for your mental health.

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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2022, July 27). How to Stay Centered When Life Feels Out of Control, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, August 29 from

Last Updated: July 27, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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