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Feeling Lost? Find Balance and Gain Control of Your Life

Regain control of your life by taking small steps of your own and seeking support when you need it.

It happens to all of us. At some point, we feel like we’ve lost control. Maybe it’s some health news that’s shaken you up. Or maybe it’s a relationship that’s consuming too much of your time and energy. Or maybe you’re still trying to figure out what civilian life looks like after leaving the military. There are so many reasons why life can feel out of control, leaving you feeling stressed, anxious and overwhelmed.

The good news is you can get back on track and find balance in your life. By refocusing on yourself, determining what you need to change and taking small steps in the right direction, you can achieve the balance you desire.

Why Do I Feel So Lost?  

Feeling out of control or lost is not uncommon. It happens to most of us at some point in our lives. Here are some common reasons people experience these emotions:

  • Pressure from your job – maybe you’re working long hours and don’t feel like you have time for the other things in your life such as family, friends or hobbies
  • Family stressors – maybe your family is going through a change, such as a divorce or a financially stressful time that’s causing your home life to feel out of control
  • Financial struggles – maybe you’ve recently lost a job or had an unexpected health care bill that’s causing you to panic about your financial situation
  • Health issues – maybe you or someone you love is dealing with a chronic illness, a new diagnosis or a health-related situation that’s causing you to worry
  • Relationship troubles – maybe a person in your life is causing you to feel lost or unsure of yourself, such as a demanding boss, a controlling partner or a co-parenting situation that’s not going well
  • World issues – maybe the news in your community or from around the world is making you feel scared or overwhelmed about the future
  • Tragedy – maybe you’ve experienced a tragedy, such as sexual assault, the death of a loved one or a life-changing injury, that has made you feel like you’ve lost control of your life

Whatever the reason, you aren’t alone and there are steps you can take to begin to regain the confidence and control you once felt like you had over your life. Check out the tips below.

Tips for Finding Balance and Gaining Control  

  • Woman practicing meditation.Determine what balance looks like. What does a balanced life look like for you? What does it include? Maybe it’s exercise, time for a specific hobby or quality time with your kids. Write down what you need to achieve balance and see what areas of your life you need to change.
  • Prioritize. There’s only so much time in each day, so trying to do it all usually backfires and makes you feel drained, stressed and unsuccessful. Figure out what things are most important and if there are things you can let go.
  • Create a support network. Find people in your life who can support you, make you feel good and help you out when you need it. Avoid people who add stress to your life and bring you down.
  • Be OK saying no. It’s OK to say “no” if you don’t have the time, energy or desire to do something you’ve been asked to do. Check out Establish Healthy Boundaries in Your Relationships for tips on saying no, setting boundaries and taking control of your life.
  • Make sleep a priority. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, getting enough sleep has many benefits such as reducing stress, improving your mood and helping you think more clearly.
  • Take time to pause. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), mindfulness and meditation are being used to manage anxiety and depression, reduce stress and more. Start out with simple breathing exercises each morning, write in a gratitude journal before bed or find a five-minute meditation video to follow. Check out Mindfulness and Meditation: An Easy Guide for Getting Started for tips on easy meditation and mindfulness practices you can begin anytime.
  • Focus on what you can control. Make a list of what’s causing you to worry or stress and break it into things you can and can’t control and start to make changes. For example, if you find yourself getting depressed after using social media, you can control how often you check it.
  • Set realistic goals. It’s easy to feel lost when you feel like your goals are out of reach. For example, “getting healthy” can feel overwhelming. Instead, break that down into smaller, more concrete and realistic goals such as “exercise before work three times a week.”
  • Find something that brings you joy. We all need an outlet – something we can turn to when we need to recharge or reset. Maybe it’s exercising, walking, fixing a car or writing in a journal. Find something you can turn to on a regular basis to make a positive impact on your mood and well-being.
  • Take care of yourself. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, making your physical health a priority offers mental health benefits as well. Physical activity helps reduce your risk for anxiety and depression, improve your sleep and manage your stress levels.
  • Be mindful of your coping strategies. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), despite the temporary relief a substance may seem to provide, increased substance use can lead to harmful consequences. A mental health provider can help you develop healthier coping strategies to deal with challenging situations.
  • Seek help. If you’ve tried to get your life under control and you feel like it’s not working, it may be time to seek help from a professional. Mental health providers can help you diagnose if something more is going on, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety or another mental health condition that’s making it hard for you to regain control. Check to VA’s mental health resources to get the treatment you deserve. 


Regain control of your life by taking small steps of your own and seeking support when you need it.

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