When you find yourself in a situation that’s seemingly beyond your control, it’s easy to fall into a state of hopelessness
Feeling like you have no say,
Like your voice is not valued,
Like you have no influence over the outcome or circumstances of your own life
In nature, dominance hierarchies have long been associated with stress and anxiety.
The consensus being,
The lower you are on the dominance hierarchy, the greater the adverse stress response
The inverse is also true,
Meaning, that the more perceived control you have over the outcome of your own affairs,
The lower the levels of distress
This is true in the workplace, in social circles and indeed at home.
The idea of being controlled, having little or no say,
Coupled with fear and uncertainty, devoid of any real prospect of regaining control, leads to this kind of existential crisis
But what we often forget is, we are in many ways masters of our own domain
And the greatest power you’ve been endowed with, is the power of free will
The ability to choose how you respond in any given situation,
This is indeed something that no-one can take away from you.
So the point is to shift focus,
Away from the things you can’t do, towards the things you can
And away from the things that you can’t control and towards the things you that you can.
It’s really a matter of learning to manage, not your time, but your attention.
Dominance hierarchies are not restricted only to work or home, but are multiple and work across all domains and facets of life,
It’s a matter then of understanding where you can have the most influence and then making that your mission
It could be as simple as moderating or facilitating a WhatsApp or Facebook group
Taking ownership of keeping the house in order
Assuming the responsibility of being the president of the chess club
Maybe volunteering to manage the finances of your local sports club
Coaching or captaining a team or leading a support group during times of crisis.
It’s really just about assuming some leadership, no matter how big or small.
And then steering the conversation and working towards some kind of change (hopefully positive).
So creating a dominance hierarchy in your own little world,
And more importantly, taking responsibility for someone or something.
This may come with its own stresses, but it’s also an opportunity to connect, learn and grow
The one thing you at least won’t experience so much as a result, is the sense of helplessness or hopelessness, which in itself can be soul crushing.
Outsourcing your responsibility won't do you any good
Waiting on someone else to save you, will only prolong your anxiety –
So it’s best then to just assume that there’s no one coming
At least that way you’ll take it upon yourself to take meaningful action and reclaim control
Reminding yourself, that you always a say and you always ALWAYS have a choice!