Leadership Nudge® 333 – The Link Between Control and Happiness

December 2, 2020by Sandy Wilmer0

Studies show that when we try to control things that we really cannot control, our blood pressure increases and our bodies release of the stress hormone cortisol. For more happiness and less stress make a conscious choice to give up control.


A key part of Intent-Based Leadership is about giving up control. We understand the benefits of giving control to others, it brings them more influence and autonomy and helps them to feel more motivated. Did you know that when you give up the need to try to control others or the situations around you, it also increases your own happiness?

Trying to control what other people do only leads to frustration, and perhaps them losing respect for you. It also results in power stress. That’s the tendency for us to become angry or frustrated when people don’t do what we want them to do. And trying to control situations that are outside of our control is also a happiness killer. 

Studies show that when we try to control things that we cannot, our blood pressure increases. And it causes the release of the stress hormone cortisol. What if we embrace that uncertainty instead of trying to control it? 

Think of reading a great mystery or watching a movie. We don’t want somebody to come in and tell us the ending. That’s the spoiler. And that spoiler makes us unhappy. So make a conscious choice to give up control, and instead appreciate people’s varying perspectives, and perhaps an unexpected outcome of a situation. It’s good for your happiness. 

I’m Jenni Jepson with your Leadership Nudge. Let us know how it goes.

Sandy Wilmer

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