5 Things You Can Do To Feel In Control (That Don’t Include Cutting Your Own Bangs)

By Bridget Roddy

I have several years worth of photo albums featuring yellow-blonde hair with freshly and hastily chopped bangs. A result of a festering anxiety that has made a home in the pit of my stomach from a young age. A paranoia of inferiority that manifests in nervous energy at 2 am when stores are closed and friends are asleep, when I feel the need to be in control of something. I am not alone in this, almost everyone has a story about a breakup haircut, a self trim gone wrong, a 2007 Britney-esque head shave.

me at about 5 or 6 after I cut my bangs off at the root.

me at about 5 or 6 after I cut my bangs off at the root.


So, to save face and 3 months of bobbi pins and hats, here is my list of 5 things you can do to release nervous energy without a reminder of your mental breakdown every time you look in the mirror:


  1. Clean Out Your Email. We’re starting small here. This is something you can do from your bed, in your underwear, on your phone. I have found that the less clutter I have in my life, the better I feel over all. This being said, I rarely feel called to declutter anything. Clearing out spam, old emails and responding to minor ‘housekeeping’ emails, like rating my experience on my latest Amazon purchase, makes me feel like I’ve done something. Like my impact on the world has lessened and I have checked one thing off my eternal To-Do list.

  2. Color. Spending money makes me anxious but, investing in 99 cent coloring books at gas stations, drug stores and late night Target runs has become a hobby of mine. You don’t have to drop $20 on these “adult coloring books” with entrancing mandalas and weaving flowers. Target’s dollar section usually has at least one dinosaur or space themed coloring book and a 24 pack of crayolas will set you back maybe $4. Get to it.

  3. Dance. Move a little bit or move a lot. Put on a dumb song with a good beat, your headphones and some clean socks and feel like a liberated human. Honestly, the clean socks might be the most important part of this equation.

  4. Be Outside. I don’t know about you, but my most extreme anxiety’s saucy handbag is paralyzing agoraphobia. The thought of being outside of my bedroom, let alone my apartment is unthinkable and the thought of something so simple becomes crushing and immobilizing. Going outside is the last on this list because, for me, it seems the hardest and most rewarding, thing to do when trying to gain control. Forcing my legs to move, reminding myself that I am autonomous and in control of my limbs, sitting with my head against the door on my back steps makes me feel like a real human again. Realizing that the world is still moving and continuing on, even when my muscles are trying to separate themselves from my bones and my lungs feel both empty and bursting at the same time, is a grounding experience.

No one feels in control all of the time but spare yourself an embarrassing trip to the hairdressers with your unintentional betty-bangs and give yourself some space.