The impossible illusion of control

October 17, 2022

(4 minute read)

“It is easier to exclude harmful passions than to rule them, and to deny them admittance than to control them after they have been admitted.”

When we’re feeling stressed, one of the first thoughts for many people is often along the lines of ‘if only I could control X or Y, I’d feel so much calmer’. After all, the quote from the Ancient Roman philosopher Seneca has been around for millenia, so it must be right, right?


The first, perhaps most important step to managing your response to stress is accepting that no one can ultimately control all external inputs, all of life’s slings and arrows which might bring stress to our door. To pretend otherwise only sets us up for failure; makes us feel more stressed.

The phrase ‘managing your response’ is also doing a lot of heavy lifting here. We can’t control whether another car cuts us off in traffic, or one of our children forgets to mention the binder they need for school until you're en route. What we can do is control how we react to those situations, both to ourselves and the people around us. That’s what Stitch is designed to support you in realizing.

The power of intention setting and reflection

The main reason we created Stitch was to couple the positive impact of probiotics with an accessible, easy-to-use app to create a virtuous circle, supporting users to grow each and every day, in good days or bad.

The foundation of the app, based on decades of peer-reviewed research in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is creating a space in your day, however brief, to set your intentions at the start of the day when you take your supplement and then a moment of reflection at the end of the day, reviewing your real-life progress against the goals you’d set.

This can take as little as two minutes per day, and the impact is still massive. The science is unequivocal on this. At the foot of the page you’ll find a long list of scientific papers which confirm the power of these 120 seconds.

“To err is human; to forgive, Divine”
Alexander Pope

When we were first creating our app, one of the common responses from early users - common to people thinking about working with a CBT therapist too - was that they were worried about setting intentions in case they didn’t live up to them; worried it would make them feel like they failed.

That’s a perfectly normal worry. We live in a society and a world filled with judgements. Be reassured, that isn’t what this process is about. There’s no pass or fail each day. There’s nothing to forgive or apologize for.

The period of reflection on your goals can be a great way to take stock and celebrate a good day and reflect on what made it a good day. Equally, it can be a good time to close off a less good day, rather than let it continue to rumble throughout the night, and help prepare for a better tomorrow.

Stitch helps you prevent today’s challenges from limiting tomorrow’s possibilities.

“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough”

This isn’t a quote from a Roman philosopher or British academic. These are the words of all-time American great, race car driver Mario Andretti. And there is something in what he says… It’s important to remember on your journey to better stress resilience that not only is stress inevitable, it isn’t always a bad thing. That sounds crazy, right?

Let’s put it another way. How we normally think about stress is about bills we can’t afford, too much on at work and at home, too many things to do. Just too much. But stress can also be a good thing. If you’ve ever felt butterflies in your tummy when you're nervously excited, or your heart beats a little faster when you're thinking about something or someone, that’s stress too.

The Stitch app will help you to take the time you deserve to reflect on what your stresses that day were, and how you want to manage and respond to them tomorrow and all the days after that.

Stitch. Led by science. Created for real life.