What You Can and Can’t Control – a simple mentality for improved mental wellbeing

There’s a simple mentality that can have amazing mental health benefits if you think about it. Analyzing a situation from this thought can allow you to reduce mental health issues that cause you to fixate on negative situations.

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Keep reading to find out what the best mentality is to improve mental wellbeing today! This will offer a guide on working through difficult situations, analyzing issues without being overwhelmed, and improving wellness exponentially.

The Best Mentality for Improved Wellbeing

Here is the best mentality you can use for improved mental wellbeing. It’s very simple and works in any scenario. 

Ask yourself this; what can you and can’t you control?

What You Can Control

Focusing on what you can control allows you to be the captain of the ship so to speak. It promotes positive feelings as it puts you in control of the situation to the best of your ability. Paying attention to this mentality, of what you can control, also allows you more freedom to act, react, think, and feel. Here is a list of what you can control in any given situation.

Your thoughts

You can always control your thoughts to some degree. In cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a proven therapy style, they teach you certain techniques on how to accomplish this. One of my favorites is, when a detrimental or intrusive thought comes in, think to yourself ‘is this helpful.’ If it is, keep it. If not, let it go. I like to imagine the thought of being a leaf on a river, to feel it leaving far out of sight.

Your Self-talk

The way you think and speak about yourself is something within your control. Think about themes of self-love, self-respect, and self-esteem. These are all concepts that may need to be built up and improved. When self-love is hard, try acknowledging that you deserve respect, full guide on how to do this here. There are also ways to practice self-esteem, found here. 


You are able to control your actions and the way you react to any given situation. While some things may happen out of your control, what you make out of the situation and do with the situation is within your control. How you handle challenges is also something you can work on and improve.


Goals are something you give yourself, things you want to accomplish in general. However big or small, it is within your control to take action to fulfill them. Any goal you want to accomplish, you get to set yourself. Don’t let anyone else set them for you.


Along the same vein as goals, you also set boundaries for yourself. You should never let others define what is right for you and what you need to do. Be comfortable putting yourself first, saying no when you need to, and being kind to yourself and others in the process.

Where You Give Your Energy

You give your energy and attention to the things you choose to do. Acknowledge this and take control of it. Give your time and effort into places, situations, and people that you think deserve it.

What You Can’t Control

Within the framework of focusing on what you can control, there will be things that you cannot control. The other side of this mentality is acknowledging the things you cannot control. This allows you to stop wasting time and energy stressing and dreading issues that are not your responsibility any longer. Here is what you cannot control and how to make peace with it.

The Past

The past is over and done with. It is out of your control and no worrying over it can change that. All of us have dealt with regrets, and while this guide here can help you get through it, some quick tips can be focusing on the lesson learned and appreciating you did the best you could with the information you had. Hindsight is indeed 20/20.

Actions Others Take

The only actions you control are your own. Know that people will not follow a prewritten play you have. They have their own goals, wants, and ideals. Don’t take responsibility for what others do, instead focus on yourself and what you can do.

What Others Think of You

While being kind, being respectful, and generally having a good vibe is a good way to make friends, some people just won’t like you, and that’s ok. Focus on being the best version of yourself, or on doing the best you can. Be kind, be nice, be understanding. Those actions you can control.

The Opinions of Others

Others will form their own opinions about you, on the world, on a situation, etc. You will disagree with others on issues and while you may try to change their mind, that is not your job. Form your own opinions, discuss things calmly, and allow others to do the same.

The Outcome of Your Effort

There will be times when things do not go as planned. You may have done your best and things do not work out. This, you cannot control. What you can do is focus on your actions and reactions. Pay attention to what you can learn, think of the positives, and celebrate the journey. We are all works in progress.

What Happens Around You

As the world and its people do their own thing, so should you. What happens around you may be out of your control at times and that’s ok. Remember those boundaries you can set? If a situation is not ideal, remove yourself from it.

The Takeaway

Adapting a mentality in which you focus on what you can control and let go of what you cannot control allows you to feel more in charge of your life. This list of different aspects you can control lets you focus on them. Separating that list from the list of things you cannot control provides a guide on which to focus your energy and efforts in life.

Remember that health starts from within, so eat well most of the time, move your body daily, and take care of your mental health. Try to make sure you take care of gut health too! Microbiota health affects metabolism, muscle growth, the immune system, digestion, and even skin health! Get all the resources you need about microbiota health for free here!

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